The Diamondbacks announced today that they have agreed to a one-year deal with catcher Caleb Joseph. It’s a split deal that would pay $1.1MM in the majors or $250K in the minors, per Zach Buchanan of The Athletic (Twitter link).
To open roster space, the D-Backs placed righty Taijuan Walker on the 60-day injured list. He is still recovering from Tommy John surgery, which was performed last April.
Joseph, 32, is an interesting addition on a MLB deal, though the split nature of the deal and the fact that he has a minor league option remaining suggest that he’s not a lock to break camp with the club. The Arizona organization already has Alex Avila under contract, still controls the out-of-options John Ryan Murphy, and acquired youngster Carson Kelly as a significant part of the club’s offseason trade of star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt.
It’s certainly possible that the club will carry three backstops, as it has done so in the past, though that’d obviously mean tying up an active roster spot. Alternatively, the Snakes could simply be planning to open things up to competition for two jobs this spring and option or trade/DFA whichever players fail to impress.
Joseph was non-tendered earlier this winter by the Orioles, the only professional organization with which he has played. He has at times been a palatable performer on offense, but has also struggled badly in two of the past three seasons. Last year, Joseph slashed just .219/.254/.321.
Clearly, there’s greater respect for Joseph’s defensive chops than for his bat. He has at times graded quite well as a framer, though that was not the case in 2018. Joseph has generally had success at handling wayward pitches and controlling the running game.