The Cincinnati Reds have signed catcher Aramis Garcia to a minor league contract for the 2022 season that includes an invitation to big league spring training.
After losing Tucker Barnhart in a trade with the Detroit Tigers it seems that the Reds are turning over the majority of the starts behind the plate to Tyler Stephenson. But the question of who will be the other catcher on the roster is still a bit of a question mark. On the 40-man roster Cincinnati have Mark Kolozsvary as the other catcher, but the 2021 Olympian only has 59 games above A-ball and he’s hit .233 and .190 in that limited action. Kolozsvary has an outstanding reputation behind the plate and is likely big league ready on the defensive side of things, but his bat could likely use more time to develop.
That’s where Aramis Garcia could come into play. The 28-year-old has spent parts of three seasons in the big leagues. In 2018 and 2019 he played in 37 games with the San Francisco Giants. Then in 2021 he played in 32 games with the Oakland Athletics. He has struggled in the big leagues, hitting just .218/.256/.373 in 205 plate appearances. Looking at the numbers, he’s had an issue that catchers typically don’t – he’s struggled mightily with the strikezone. Garcia has just 7 walks and he has 80 strikeouts in his 205 plate appearances.
In his career at the Triple-A level he’s done a bit better, hitting .268/.333/.448 with 45 walks and 153 strikeouts in 536 plate appearances. In 2021 he played in just 30 games for Triple-A Las Vegas and he hit .268/.323/.393.
Coming up through the Giants farm system he played in some hitter friendly environments in both the California and Pacific Coast Leagues. Still, he showed a solid amount of pop, topping 15 home runs in a season three different times in seasons that he didn’t get 500 plate appearances.
Given the struggles he’s had hitting in the big leagues, it would probably benefit the Reds to remain on the market for catching depth. Of course the catching market is beyond atrocious this offseason, which could make finding some sort of certainty a far more difficult thing to do in free agency and could lead to Cincinnati exploring some trade options if they don’t like what they see.