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.

18 Responses

  1. Mark Moore

    MiLB flyer contract on catching depth … I think you explained it well.

  2. Rednat

    i tell you as a long time reds fan the mild ( and I mean mild) success we had in 2020 and 2021 did not satisfy me enough to battle through another stretch of losing like we had in 2014-2019. i hope management does not stuff the roster with players like this.

  3. eddiek957

    There wil be better choices for back up catcher by opening day

  4. DaveCT

    Colin Moran DFA’d by Purates. Might be a useful bat to have around

  5. TJ

    “I got the rose bushes. I definitely got the rose bushes.”

  6. MIredfan

    No doubt Garcia will earn a gold glove and be a silver slugger recipient in 2022. Just hope he sticks around for a couple years before the Dodgers sign him to a 9-digit contract.
    Excited for the season. Let’s play ball!!!

  7. Redsvol

    Well, it’s pretty clear we sold low on tucker Barnhart. Jacob stallings – very good catcher- just netted 2 good prospects and 1 promising major leaguer. Sure TB a contract pays more but Monopoly money is flowing this free agency. 7 million looks cheap for a staring major leaguer. And 10 million sure looks cheap for a starting pitcher (Miley).

    • Old Big Ed

      Stallings and Barnhart are pretty comparable players, and both were acquired for the same purpose, of leading the young pitching staff of an emerging team.

      But teams don’t trade players; they trade players’ contracts. Stallings and Barnhart do not have comparable contracts. The Tigers will pay Barnhart $7.5 million for one year of control, and the Marlins will pay Stallings a projected $2.6 million, plus he is under Marlins’ control for two more years. It therefore stands to reason that the Marlins would offer roughly $4.9 million more in prospect return than did they Tigers.

      • LWBlogger2

        And that is exactly why they got way more for Stallings than the Reds got for Barnhart. You nailed it.

  8. Michael B. Green

    Garcia should slot in at AAA to pair with Chris Okey – assuming he sticks.

    I still think we will see one other MLB/AAA signing to battle Kolozsvary at the MLB level.

    I assume that Chuckie Robinson and Jay Schuyler will share the AA catching duties, unless Robinson moves up to AAA.

    Last year, CIN invited seven (7) catchers to Spring Training. Assuming they do that again, here is the current/initial/potential invite list:

    Tyler Stephenson
    Mark Kolosvary
    Aramis Garcia
    Chris Okey
    Chuckie Robinson
    Jay Schuyler

    If healthy, I’d still love to see CIN sign Roberto Perez and then try to clear Kolozsvary through waivers.

    I really like the way Robinson handled Greene and Lodolo at AA.

    I can see that one (1) remaining free agent to range from Roberto Perez to someone similar to Rocky Gale or Deivy Grullon from last year. Will want to watch the waiver wire if CIN does not sign a regular free agent.

    • Michael Green

      So much for Roberto Perez. Signing with PIT for $5M.

  9. DaveCT

    Kolozsvary is a career .223/.330/.353 hitter, and hit .190 at AAA last year. I don’t think he is backing up Stephenson to start the year. I hope he is the lead catcher at AAA to get ready for 2023. And don’t forget Mat Nelson, one of our high 2021 picks.

  10. RedsGettingBetter

    The Reds Front Office offseason is pathetic again until now…

  11. Max BRAGG

    Just another BS move to blurry your eyes. Management is the WORST in baseball !!!!

  12. Bill

    The Reds Front Office has to be one of the worst in baseball. Let’s trade everybody and be like Pittsburgh. Please tell me as a Reds fan for over 60 years can this get any worse than it is now? The teams with all the big money will get the free agents and World Championship s and teams like Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, etc will be team’s that will be plucked by the rich team’s of their young talent. BASEBALL WILL NEVER EVER BE THE SAME

    • Old Big Ed

      Bill, man, baseball has always been like this. Why do you think the Red Sox traded Babe Ruth to the Yankees? Why did the Yankees get Roger Maris from the A’s?

      Teams in the wealthier markets have always bought players. Before free agency, they bought them from smaller-market teams. Now, they bid directly on players through free agency. Nothing has changed, and nothing is going to change. If the Reds want to win, they have to be much smarter with their money than the average team, and one of the corollaries of that is that the Reds need to have a great minor league system.

      Every business is like this. If you are a talented doctor, you are more likely to end up in Boston or Chicago than Lufkin, Texas. If you can sing and put on a great show, you are going national and will not stay put in Tupelo, Mississippi or Asbury Park, New Jersey. If you are great at training race horses, you are going to be in Louisville on the first Saturday in May, not in Vinton, Louisiana.