Garcia stat line
46 PAs, .143/.217/.310, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 32 wRC+, -0.4 rWAR
Kratz stat line
36 PAs, .125/.222/.281, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 37 wRC+, -0.3 rWAR
Well, those certainly are numbers.
Aramís Garcia and Erik Kratz played sparingly for the San Francisco Giants, and that was always the plan. There really isn’t much to say about them. Kratz did what he was paid to do, which is hardly exciting, but he’s a career .205/.252/.354 batter in his ten-year career.
Garcia did roughly what was expected of him, which is a reminder that great hitters at the catcher position are the five-leaf clovers of the baseball world.
If you were hoping for Kratz to be something he’s never been, you were disappointed. If you were hoping for Garcia to break out and prove himself as a top prospect in the Giants revamped farm, you were disappointed.
Otherwise, they came, they played (a little), and then the season ended.
Garcia’s role on the 2019 Giants
While the old Giants regime may have been comfortable with Garcia being Buster Posey’s backup, or perhaps - gasp! - carrying a trio of catchers on the roster, Farhan Zaidi wasn’t so sure.
The Giants plan always seemed to be Stephen Vogt backing up Posey, as soon as he was healthy enough to do so. So Garcia got limited run, with three brief stints prior to a full-time call up when rosters expanded in September.
And then he got to play the unenviable role of a middling prospect who tries to prove in a short sample size that he’s worth keeping around next year.
It didn’t go great. Though it could have gone worse.
Kratz’s role on the 2019 Giants
Stopgap. That’s it. That was his role. He opened camp as the team’s backup catcher, and everyone knew that an unheralded 38-year old wasn’t likely to stick around. As soon as Vogt was healthy, he joined the team. As soon as he joined the team, Kratz was gone.
That was his role, and he played it well. Albeit without playing the actual baseball part well.
Garcia’s role on the 2020 Giants
This is a hard question, and I hate to take the cop out answer, but I have no clue.
So much depends on Zaidi’s evaluation. Not just Zaidi’s evaluation of Garcia, but his evaluation of the Joey Bart, and the 2020 Giants as a whole.
Vogt is a free agent, and there appears to be mutual interest in a reunion. But Bart waits eagerly in the wings.
One good spring, and Bart could be making a push to join the roster. If that’s the case, then Zaidi may not want to waste time and money on Vogt, a top backup backstop who would be displaced. Or maybe Zaidi would want exactly that, so he can trade Vogt. Who knows!
If Zaidi is high on Bart and Vogt isn’t back, that puts Garcia in line to be the stopgap backup catcher until Bart is ready. Unless Zaidi finds a better option on the free agent market, which we know he will try to do.
Garcia could easily open the year on the 26-man roster, as the backup. More likely, however, he’ll play a similar role to 2019: A catcher in Sacramento, ready to scan his bus ticket when the team is short on players.
Kratz’s role on the 2020 Giants
To be one of the names you forget when doing a Sporcle quiz on the 2019 Giants roster.
How Farhan is Garcia?
Just one Farhan. Garcia’s most appealing trait (in the eyes of Zaidi), is that he can play first base in addition to catcher. But he can barely hit well enough to be a backup catcher, so he’s far from a compelling option at first.
Ultimately, Garcia’s versatility and bat are both limited, and he’ll be 27 when pitchers and catchers report. It’s hard to see him having much of a future with the team.
How Farhan is Kratz?
Let’s make one thing clear: Garcia is likely to be a better player than Kratz going forward, and if Zaidi had to win a game playing one of them, he would likely choose the former.
With that said, Kratz’s role last year was emblematic of what makes Zaidi Zaidi. He took a cheap player, used him until a better player was available, then managed to trade him.
Matt Seelinger, the right-handed pitcher the Giants got in exchange for Kratz, struck out 69 batters in 41.2 innings for Augusta last year. His FIP was 2.34.
Will he ever contribute to the Giants? Probably not. But he might. And that’s what makes Kratz - a journeyman brought on with complete transparency that he’d be journeying elsewhere in the near future - worth an extra half a Farhan.