Trading for a back-up catcher may seem like a small thing, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes it is, though.
Today the Reds picked up veteran catcher Curt Casali from the Rays in exchange for some straight cash, homey.
#Reds trade for Rays catcher Curt Casali. He hit .186 with 8 HR, 25 RBI in 84 games last year.— Bobby Nightengale (@nightengalejr) May 31, 2018
After sending Devin Mesoraco to the Mets for Matt Harvey, the Reds have relied heavily on Tucker Barnhart behind the dish. Tony Cruz, a veteran catch-and-throw man himself, has spelled Barnhart on his off-days, which have been few and far between. He’ll head back to Louisville.
Casali is nearing 30 and has a few years of experience with the tools of ignorance. He has not seen any big-league action this season, but he got 466 PAs for the Rays from 2014-17. He has a perfectly-decent-for-a-veteran-back-up-catcher .670 OPS for his career, but his walk rate is near 10% and his ISO is .186. So he’s kinda patient and he has some pop, but he does strike out an awful lot. Basically, he is precisely what you would assume he would be if you had to guess it all based on only knowing that his name is Curt Casali and that he is a back-up catcher.
This is probably pretty close to necessary for the Reds. Aside from Barnhart, they have close to zero catchers capable of playing respectably at the major-league level. Last year’s Rule 5 pick, Stuart Turner, is off to a rough start in Louisville and hasn’t played in a month. Chadwick Tromp and Joe Hudson have done most of the catching recently for the Bats, but neither should be trusted to carry Tucker’s gym bag for too long. Ditto Tony Cruz.
I think Casali is no real great shakes, but he is an upgrade. Here’s hoping Tucker Barnhart never gets hurt, never slumps, and never ages.