Stephen Vogt signs with Diamondbacks
There was a flurry of minor deals on Wednesday, with Stephen Vogt perhaps being the most high-profile. If that doesn’t illustrate just how minor these signings were, I don’t know what will. This was not a minor-league signing, though, as the catcher was inked to a one-year, $3 million deal with Arizona. This is an interesting signing as the Diamondbacks aren’t exactly hurting at catcher, with Carson Kelly (part of the return they got in the Paul Goldschmidt deal last winter) emerged as a very good option in 2019. You can’t get by with just one catcher, though, and Vogt to move around the diamond (primarily to first base) some, too, to get some extra playing time.
Sox Spin: It’s not entirely clear what the Red Sox’ plan at catcher is this year. Christian Vázquez is certainly the starter, but whether or not they plan to bring Sandy León back is another matter. If they are looking to go in a different direction, they have to realize the catcher market is moving much more quickly than any other this year. They’ll need to act fast if this is the route they choose to pursue.
Dustin Garneau signs with Astros
Oh, hey, more catcher news. This time it’s the Astros making a move, signing Dustin Garneau to a one-year deal with the terms unknown as of this writing. Houston lost both of their catchers to free agency this year and thus are almost certainly looking for a pair of backstops. Garneau will almost certainly be the backup in that scenario with the starter having yet be acquired. The 32-year-old has next to no track record. He was solid with a 108 wRC+ in 32 games last year but over 381 career plate appearances he has a mark of 61. He’s fine, but nothing special.
Sox Spin: See previous write-up.
Phillies sign Josh Harrison to minor-league deal
It was only two years ago that Josh Harrison was an All-Star for the second time in his career and a regular part of the Pirates lineup. Since then, his career has fallen off a cliff. He struggled to stay on the field last year with the Tigers and when he was on the field his performance was atrocious, and now he can’t even get a major-league deal. He’ll look to get some of that value back in 2020 as a 32-year-old, signing a minor-league deal with the Phillies. This was an interesting decision for Harrison, as I’m not sure how clear the path to playing time is for him. The Phillies could probably use one infielder and one outfielder right now, the former being something that could be important for Harrison’s chances. They are also likely to make some sort of splash in free agency, though, having already been connected to Didi Gregorius. It’s not clear what kind of opt outs he has in his deal, though, so this could be something he could theoretically get out of after spring training if he does well enough down in Florida.
Sox Spin: Harrison could have been a fit for the Red Sox on a minor-league deal, but that’s probably true for most teams. There’s never any risk in a minor-league deal so why wouldn’t every team be interested? Boston could use some second base help, but if he doesn’t make the major-league roster then he is all of a sudden blocking playing time for guys like C.J. Chatham and Bobby Dalbec, who presumably will get some time at second and third base, respectively.
Mariners sign Kendall Graveman to a one-year deal
The stove is burning, baby! Graveman was the first player to sign on Tueday, inking a one-year deal with the Mariners. This is a very nondescript signing, with Graveman having barely pitched last year after undergoing Tommy John surgery and struggled in only seven starts the year before. Prior to the injury, though, he was a pretty consistently average pitcher with the Athletics. The Mariners are not really competing right now, so this gives them some modest upside for very cheap while filling innings they need to be filled. As a bonus, he can be dealt this summer if things do go well, and with a cheap team option attached for a second year his trade value could be a little bit higher.
Sox Spin: The Red Sox need another starter, but Graveman is not the kind of guy they should be looking for. Yes, he’s cheap and maybe he can be a solid average pitcher again, but they need more of a sure thing. Less injury risk wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world, either.