The D-backs have signed veteran catcher Juan Centeno to a minor league contract for the 2022 season, per an announcement from their Triple-A affiliate, the Reno Aces (Twitter link). The MAS+ client will give Arizona some additional depth in the upper minors this season. Centeno spent the 2021 season with the Tigers’ Triple-A club but was never added to the big league roster, making him a minor league free agent who is eligible to sign during the ongoing lockout.
Centeno, 32, has played in parts of seven Major League seasons, most recently logging time with the 2019 Red Sox. He’s a career .223/.278/.323 hitter in 373 trips to the plate at the big league level, although the only time he’s seen much in the way of significant MLB exposure was with the Twins back in 2016. That season saw Centeno log 192 plate appearances while slashing a respectable .261/.312/.392 as the most oft-used backup to Kurt Suzuki. In addition to his time with the Twins and Red Sox, Centeno has seen brief stints with the Mets, Brewers, Astros and Rangers.
While Centeno’s MLB experience is fairly limited, he’s no stranger to Triple-A ball, where he’s spent parts of eight seasons since being selected by the Mets in the 32nd round of the 2007 draft. A career .278/.328/.353 hitter at that level, he’ll give the D-backs some experience to draw upon if a need arises. Centeno also possesses a career 35% caught-stealing rate (big leagues and minors combined), though it’s just 13% in his relatively tiny sample of MLB work.
Even before adding Centeno, the D-backs already had a fair bit of catching depth on the roster and slated to head to camp on non-roster deals. Carson Kelly figures to again shoulder the bulk of the workload behind the plate, while Daulton Varsho could split time between center field and catcher again in 2022. The Snakes also have 24-year-old Jose Herrera (25 in February) on the cusp of the big leagues after he delivered a .258/.364/.422 slash between Double-A and Triple-A in 2021. Additionally, the club inked Juan Graterol — another journeyman in the Centeno mold — to a minor league deal with a Spring Training invite back in November.