SF Giants add catching depth by signing two-time Gold Glove winner: report
Published in Baseball
With Joey Bart and Austin Wynns left as the only players in the Giants organization who had caught a game in the major leagues, and just Bart left on the 40-man roster, addressing the depth behind the plate was one of the last items left on Farhan Zaidi’s offseason to-do list.
San Francisco reportedly checked that box Sunday afternoon, agreeing to terms with 34-year-old catcher Roberto Perez, according to Chris Cotillo, the Red Sox beat reporter for MassLive.com. He had first reported that Boston was in talks with the veteran backstop. The club has yet to announce the move.
The terms of the agreement have not yet been reported. Earlier this month, Zaidi said it was “unlikely” the Giants would add another catcher on a major-league deal, though Cotillo reported that Boston made an “aggressive” push. Perez signed a $5 million contract with the Pirates before last season but underwent season-ending surgery on his hamstring in May.
Before health troubles the past two seasons (a fractured finger and a strained shoulder also cost him time in 2021), Perez was considered one of the top defensive catchers in baseball. He was a back-to-back winner of the Gold Glove and the more analytically inclined Fielding Bible awards in 2019 and 2020.
In his best season, with Cleveland in 2019, he hit .239 with 24 home runs in 389 at-bats. However, he has mostly been unable to replicate that offensive success, with four seasons of sub-.200 batting averages and a career batting line of .207/.298/.360 (a .658 OPS) in nine MLB seasons.
Selected by Cleveland 33rd overall in the 2008 amateur draft, Perez spent his entire professional career in the same organization before signing with the Pirates last season. He now joins a San Francisco catching group that includes Bart, Wynns and Blake Sabol competing for two or three spots on the 26-man Opening Day roster.
While Wynns served as Bart’s primary backup after San Francisco dealt Curt Casali to Seattle at the trade deadline, he was designated for assignment earlier this offseason to clear a spot on the 40-man roster. Casali, a clubhouse favorite who spent 2021 and the first half of ’22 with the Giants, was a free agent but opted to return to Cincinnati. Wynns accepted his outright assignment and will compete for a job in the spring.
Sabol, 25, was acquired from the Reds in the Rule 5 draft and must spent the entire season on the active roster or be offered back. However, the Giants are unlikely to enter the season with him as Bart’s only backup; he has played 25 games above Double-A, and evaluators aren’t sold on his glove.
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