The Reds have signed catcher Aramis Garcia to a minor league contract with an invitation to Major League Spring Training, per a club announcement.
Garcia, 29 in January, is a former Giants prospect who once looked like a possible backup option to Buster Posey. He carries a solid .268/.333/.448 slash in 536 Triple-A plate appearances and turned in an impressive .286/.308/.492 debut as a rookie in 2018 — albeit through just 65 plate appearances. Garcia didn’t hit much in 46 plate appearances the following season, however, and he underwent major hip surgery in Feb. 2020 that kept him from playing that season.
Garcia spent the 2021 season with the A’s organization, hitting just .205/.239/.318 through 94 plate appearances in his first action since that labrum repair surgery in 2020. He did manage a more palatable .268/.323/.393 slash in 124 Triple-A plate appearances.
Bringing Garcia into the fold adds some depth to the organization after trading Tucker Barnhart to the Tigers earlier in the offseason. Tyler Stephenson is the clear starter behind the plate on the heels of an impressive rookie season that saw him hit .286/.366/.431 with 10 homers in 402 plate appearances. That production surely made it easier to move Barnhart, but it’s not clear at this point who’ll back him up.
Catching prospect and Team USA Silver Medalist Mark Kolozsvary was recently added to the 40-man roster and will compete for that spot, and utilityman Kyle Farmer has experience behind the dish as well. Farmer, however, saw extensive run at shortstop last season and fared well there on both sides of the game. He’s more likely an option in the infield than behind the plate, where he has just 90 career innings.