Giants sign former A’s catcher to minor league deal, changes behind the plate likely

Moments before the Giants opened their third game of the season against the Dodgers, the club announced it had agreed to terms with catcher Chris Herrmann on a minor league deal.

The eight-year major league veteran won’t join the 30-man roster, but he’ll report to the taxi squad and immediately enters the mix as an option behind the plate.

Herrmann spent the 2019 season with the Oakland A’s as he appeared in 32 games, hitting .202 with a .553 OPS. Herrmann opted out of a deal with the Tampa Bay Rays last week to become a free agent.

With Buster Posey electing to sit out the 2020 season, the Giants opened their 60-game schedule with minor league free agents Tyler Heineman and Rob Brantly as the two catchers on their 30-man roster. Heineman and Brantly had a combined 131 games of major league experience prior to Opening Night as both players have spent most of their professional careers in the upper levels of the minor leagues.

Herrmann is a defense-first player and gives the Giants a left-handed option at the plate should they elect to make an early call and move on from either of the catchers currently on their roster.

It’s possible the team’s catching depth could look entirely different next week as manager Gabe Kapler said pregame the Giants believe Chadwick Tromp is close to 100% after injuring his hamstring in an exhibition game against the A’s on Monday.

Tromp likely would have been on the Opening Night roster, but neither Kapler nor president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi indicated whether he would have taken a spot away from Heineman or Brantly.

The other catcher who could become a factor behind the plate in the near future is Joey Bart, the organization’s top prospect and the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 MLB Draft. Bart was told he needed more time to develop and was not in serious consideration for an Opening Day roster spot, but the Giants have already lost their first two games of the season by a combined score of 17-2 and there’s no question he represents an offensive upgrade at the catcher position.

It’s unclear how quickly Zaidi would consider shaking up the roster and changing catchers, but the Giants now have a potential upgrade on defense in Herrmann and better offensive options in Tromp and Bart.

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