The Mets announced that they have traded catcher/outfielder Cooper Hummel to the Giants in exchange for cash considerations. The Mets had designated him for assignment last week. MLB Transactions Daily reported that the Giants were acquiring Hummel prior to the official announcement. The Giants will now have a full 40-man roster and will need to make a corresponding move when they make their signing of Jordan Hicks official.
Hummel, 29, has received 227 major league plate appearances thus far in his career, spending time with the 2022 Diamondbacks and 2023 Mariners. He has drawn walks at a 11% clip but has also been struck out in 32.2% of those trips to the plate, leading to a batting line of .166/.264/.286. His offense has been much better at Triple-A. In 977 appearances at that level over the past three years, he has paired a 17.3% walk rate with a 21.2% strikeout rate. His .288/.420/.492 slash line in that time translates to a wRC+ of 132.
That kind of Triple-A production is surely enticing, as is Hummel’s defensive versatility. In the major leagues, he’s mostly split his time between catcher and left field, with a little bit of work in right field as well. He’s also played those three positions in the minors, along with a decent amount of time at first base and some brief looks at third base. He also still has an option year remaining and can be kept in the minors if the Giants don’t have a spot for him on the active roster.
The Giants already showed an affinity for this type of player when they utilized catcher/outfielder Blake Sabol on their club last year. Sabol struck out in 34% of his plate appearances but still managed to hit .235/.301/.394 for a wRC+ of 92, splitting his time almost evenly between catcher and left field. He was under Rule 5 restraints in 2023 but the club has now obtained his full rights and can option him going forward.
Patrick Bailey figures to be the primary catcher while Tom Murphy was signed to be the backup. Murphy is generally considered to be on the bat-first side of things and also has significant health concerns, having never surpassed 325 plate appearances in any big league season. Perhaps one of Sabol or Hummel could secure a job as a utility player that takes on part-time catching duties and allows Murphy to spend some time as the designated hitter. But since each of them are optionable, they could also be in Triple-A as depth until their services are required. The club also has Joey Bart in its catching mix but he is now out of options and may get squeezed from the roster at some point.
Jung Hoo Lee, Michael Conforto and Mike Yastrzemski project as the everyday outfielders with Austin Slater likely to be in a fourth outfielder role. Wilmer Flores and Murphy will perhaps get the lion’s share of DH time. Outfielders like Heliot Ramos and Luis Matos are also on the 40-man roster but have options and could get regular playing time in the minors while Hummel and/or Sabol serve in bench jobs at the big league level. Since Hummel has spent a bit of time at the infield corners, an injury to either LaMonte Wade Jr. or J.D. Davis could also open up some playing time for him.