Happy Friday, San Francisco Giants fans. I hope you’ve all cued up Robin Hood and readied your Sheriff of Nottingham jokes, because the Giants made a trade on Wednesday, acquiring catcher Jacob Nottingham.
If you’ve paid attention to the Giants at all over the last year, then you know exactly what team the Giants acquired Nottingham from: the Seattle Mariners, their near-daily dance partner.
But there’s something special about this trade that didn’t exist in most of the other recent Giants-Mariners trades: we’ll probably never see Nottingham play for the Giants.
One of the frustrating parts of the 2022 season was the sheer number of players the Giants traded for (or sometimes signed) to serve as disposable patchwork on the active roster. They needed a hole filled, so they added a player who could fill it for a few days, and then be designated for assignment without a second thought. There were so many Ford Proctors and Dixon Machados and Mike Fords and Donovan Waltons and Andrew Knapps and Kevin Padlos.
Nottingham is not that. If the Giants traded for Nottingham last year, he would have been that. But they traded for him this year, which means instead of patching a Major League hole for a week, he’ll patch a Minor League hole for a season because the Major League hole is being patched, probably permanently, by one of the best prospects in the Giants system.
I like it better this way.
Adding Nottingham is an acknowledgment that Patrick Bailey is probably not returning to Sacramento anytime soon. The Giants AAA affiliate went a week without Bailey, leaving Ricardo Genovés as the team’s lone catcher (Proctor, who was outrighted to Sacramento, was the backup catcher, with the first baseman/second baseman/third baseman/shortstop spending one game behind the plate). That was a sustainable strategy if Bailey were to return this weekend, when Joey Bart is set to come off the Injured List.
But that sure as hell doesn’t look like it’ll happen. So instead they acquired Nottingham (likely for cash, though it hasn’t been announced), and the 28 year old, who has 130 Major League plate appearances to his name, will play the important role of making sure that San Francisco’s pitcher prospects have someone to catch their fastballs.
The Giants may be .500 currently, same as last year. But if you need evidence as to why this year is different than last, there it is.