3:42pm: The signing is now official. Furthermore, agent Marc Kligman tells Mark Berman of FOX 26 that the deal comes with a $650K base salary and $75K worth of incentives (Twitter link).
10:43am: The Astros have agreed to a one-year deal with backstop Dustin Garneau, per Jake Kaplan of The Athletic (via Twitter). It appears that he’ll rather unexpectedly receive a 40-man spot with the signing. The dollars aren’t yet known.
Garneau has settled into a journeyman existence in recent years. Though he has at times shown a promising bat in the upper minors — he has three .900+ OPS seasons in high-octane Triple-A offensive environments — the results haven’t been there in the majors. Over 381 lifetime plate appearances at the game’s highest level, Garneau has slashed just .207/.290/.343. If he’s able to cement himself as a viable option over a full season behind the dish in Houston, he’d be controllable all the way through the 2024 campaign — although he’d likely be eligible for arbitration as a Super Two player next winter.
While he isn’t exactly legend for his framing or throwing, Garneau is regarded as a strong defender. His former skipper with the A’s, Bob Melvin, had kind words for Garneau’s overall game management ability — the sort of thing that’s essentially impossible to capture from objective measurement. It seems fair to presume that the ’Stros think they’ll get good work behind the dish and in the game prep arena out of Garneau, with any offense mostly an added bonus.
It also seems rather clear that this is one of multiple planned catching moves for the defending American League champs. Garneau joins Garrett Stubbs on the Houston 40-man. But odds are the team will allow those players to compete for the reserve job in camp. (Garneau will have a strong edge since he’s out of options and just signed this deal.) Another backstop — perhaps a returning Robinson Chirinos — is likely to be brought aboard as well.