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Is it time for Joey Bart?

Bart can now join the Giants without accruing a year of service time.

MLB: San Francisco Giants-Workouts Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

I workshopped about a dozen headlines that were plays on the Bay Area Rapid Transit before deciding to just focus on the actual star of the headline: Joey Bart. In the interest of full disclosure though, I did work a joke into the social headline, so if you see the link on Twitter, you’re welcome I’m sorry.

The San Francisco Giants have made it deep enough into the caught-on-fire hexagon of weirdness that is the 2020 MLB season that they can now call up Bart without him losing a year of service time. Had they brought him up for Opening Day, and had the Miami Marlins coronavirus outbreak put the cap on the season, Bart would have accrued a full season of service time; so you can see why Rob Brantly was on the roster instead.

Just two years removed from being the second overall pick in the MLB Draft, Bart was explosive in Spring Training. He was also re-assigned to the Minors two weeks before the initially-scheduled Opening Day, with president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi being adamant that the young catcher needed more development and everyday playing time.

The Giants held that line in Summer Camp, even when Buster Posey opted out of the season. And for a while it seemed very authentic.

But in the last few weeks the narrative has shifted from “he needs more developmental time” to “they need to manipulate his service time.” Sometimes that shift in narrative is the result of reporters and writers changing their own minds, but often it’s the result of them learning information that they can talk about but not explicitly source as coming from the organization.

The truth, as usual, probably lies somewhere in the middle. The Giants are still maintaining that Bart wasn’t ready at the start of the year, but they’re now suggesting he’ll be up very soon.

Kyle Haines, the team’s director of player development, told NBC Sports Bay Area that, “Joey needs more time to make sure he’s ready, and I don’t think it’s gonna be that much longer. His physical talent, obviously it’s there. But at the same time, it’s much easier to send people up than it is down.”

For as tremendous as Bart was in the preseason, he’s still played just 22 games above A-ball, with a mere 87 plate appearances in AA. For perspective, the extremely fast-tracked Buster Posey played 35 games in AAA, receiving 151 plate appearances.

It may be that the Giants are using his development as a guise for manipulating his service time, but it also very well may be that they didn’t think it would benefit his growth to throw him to the wolves. If you watched the way pitchers like Dustin May and Chris Paddack have carved up fellow youngsters like Mauricio Dubón and Jaylin Davis, and proven veterans like Hunter Pence and Pablo Sandoval, it’s easy to see why the Giants might have thought that wasn’t the best move for a top prospect’s development.

And there also may be the desire to see what Chadwick Tromp — who made his MLB debut on Wednesday — can bring before they cast him back to the alternate training site. The Giants are, after all, in the thick of a postseason race.

Whatever the reason, it seems it won’t be long before Bart arrives at the station.

And while I may not have started the article with a public transit joke, at least I ended it with one.