The Padres learned yesterday that they would be without expected backup catcher Tim Federowicz due to a torn meniscus that will require arthroscopic surgery, and GM A.J. Preller said the team will consider adding a veteran catcher, writes MLB.com’s Corey Brock. Before making any moves, however, the team will see how extensive the damage on Federowicz’s knee is.
Wil Nieves is the most experienced internal option for the Padres, who have six catchers in camp including starter Derek Norris. However, only Norris and Nieves have Major League experience, as the others include top prospect Austin Hedges and minor league veterans Griff Erickson and Rocky Gale.
There are a number of catching options available on the trade market, but the biggest names available are unlikely to be targets for a backup slot. Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos has told reporters that he’ll only trade Dioner Navarro into a starting job (and Navarro himself has said his desire for a trade is due to a desire to start). The Cubs’ Welington Castillo has been displaced in Chicago but is more of a starting-caliber option. Wilin Rosario of the Rockies was known to be available for much of the offseason, but defensive deficiencies behind the dish were the primary reason that Colorado was shopping the 26-year-old.
Perhaps, then, the Padres will simply monitor out-of-options catchers this Spring Training. One such candidate recently mentioned by MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes is Austin Romine of the Yankees, who looks to have been leap-frogged by J.R. Murphy in the competition to see who will be Brian McCann’s backup. Drew Butera, too, is out of options, although he is projected to be the Angels’ backup catcher. The Orioles have a large number of catchers in camp, and someone such as Steve Clevenger could make sense in San Diego as well, as he looks to be behind Matt Wieters and Caleb Joseph on the depth chart despite having significant MLB experience. The White Sox have four catchers on their 40-man roster — Tyler Flowers, Adrian Nieto, Rob Brantly and Kevan Smith — in addition to non-roster invitees Geovany Soto (who is expected to make the club) and George Kottaras.