© Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Since Buster Posey announced Friday that he’d be opting out of the 2020 Major League Baseball season following the birth and adoption of two premature but healthy twin daughters, the Giants have made it abundantly clear that it’s not yet Joey Bart’s time to reign. Both manager Gabe Kapler and president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi have indicated that they believe Bart has room to develop. I.e. he’s not quite ready to be the day-to-day catcher at the Major League level, or at least the team would prefer to have him get in more work within the squad before they throw him into the fire.
Giants commentator Mike Krukow joined the Murph and Mac Show on KNBR on Monday to explain why this is anything but a reason to panic, pointing to the complexities of the catching position and just how difficult it is to develop a catcher. The process of learning “another language” as Krukow put it, while captaining the defense and maintaining a cool head while slumping as a batter are all uniquely complex challenges.
“Those are things you have to learn, and you think, ‘Well that’s not that big of a deal,’ but it is,” Krukow said. “We’ve seen it time and time and time again from the catching position; first-round picks or high-round draft picks, they’re catchers and they get rushed. And when they get rushed because there’s so much going on on the field, it affects them at the plate and once a guy loses his confidence at the plate, sometimes guys never resurface, or if they do down the road it’s as a backup catcher and he’s destined to hit .225. It’s that fragile.”
Krukow said the door is still open for Bart not only to catch on shared reps, but the majority of the time this year, though that’s not very likely, with both Tyler Heineman and Rob Brantly the currently preferred more veteran options. Service time, he said, isn’t likely a consideration for the Giants.
“You’re going to see Joey Bart at some point,” Krukow said. “I don’t think the Giants care about the internal time clock going as to when he starts his career as a major leaguer I don’t think that they’re concerned about the fact that if he starts this year it’s going to be 60 days and it’s going to be expensive down the road. I don’t think they’re worried about that at all. I think that they’re worried and I think they’re sensitive to the development of a catcher and I think that’s what the concern is. So the fact that they haven’t gone all in the fact that they haven’t given him all of the at-bats right now. It doesn’t say it won’t happen, but I think they’re handling it all with kid gloves and that’s the way it should go down.”
When asked if Bart should take any slight by this and the fact that the Giants drafted catcher Patrick Bailey with their first-round pick this year, Krukow said firmly that there shouldn’t be any hard feelings.
“Joey Bart’s the guy,” Krukow said. “Patrick Bailey’s another guy who, if you look at what Farhan did in LA about all the players they have there that can multitask, that can play other positions. You got catchers down there they can play second base and center field. So, the remarkable athleticism that he as a general manager and now as a president organization prefers with his athletes is completely apparent in the type of athlete that Bailey is. He is a guy that is quick. He can run, he can play the corner infield positions, he can play in the outfield. And so as he goes forward in his career, I think that’s what you’re going to see him do. He’s going to multitask, he’s going to be a guy that could do many things, catching obviously one of them.”
Listen to the full interview below: