A few notes from behind the plate…
- When Giants stalwart Buster Posey underwent season-ending hip surgery last August, there was some question as to whether he’d be ready in time for Opening Day this year. While Posey’s recovery has seemingly gone well enough for him to return at the outset of the season, the Giants are going to take a “smart” and “careful” approach as they break the six-time All-Star back into action, according to president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi (via Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area). “Even if he’s ready to carry a full catching load to start the season, I’m not sure that would be the prudent course for us,” noted Zaidi, who added that the Giants are still in the market for depth at catcher. They did sign the seasoned Rene Rivera on Friday, but he only secured a minor league deal, which still leaves the Giants with Posey and Aramis Garcia as the only catchers on their 40-man roster. Of course, they also have experienced veteran Cameron Rupp joining Rivera as credible depth heading into camp.
- The Yankees’ Gary Sanchez is also coming off surgery, having undergone an offseason procedure on his left (non-throwing) shoulder. Sanchez is now “healthy,” per general manager Brian Cashman (via George A. King III of the New York Post), but the Yanks will mimic the Giants in being cautious with their prized backstop this spring. The 26-year-old Sanchez joined Posey among the majors’ elite catchers from 2017-18, though the former’s now looking to bounce back from a shockingly rough season. Sanchez bombed at the plate, hitting .186/.291/.406 (89 wRC+) in 374 trips, and also drew the ire of fans and media for leading the American League in passed balls (18).
- It’s “unlikely” the Athletics will enter the season with their current catcher tandem of Josh Phegley and Chris Herrmann, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Ultimately, the A’s may take a similar route to the one they went down last spring, when they signed a veteran (Jonathan Lucroy) in March, but the team could have a greater sense of urgency this time around because it’s leaving for Japan on March 14, Slusser notes. Free-agent backstop options are dwindling, moreover, though at least one of the available players – Matt Wieters – has piqued the Athletics’ interest.