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Zaidi explains what Giants adding Casali means for Bart

NBC Sports
Joey Bart

The Curt Casali addition, which pretty much solidified the Giants' catching situation heading into Opening Day, did not come as a surprise to two incumbents hoping to team with Buster Posey. Before the Giants finalized the deal with Casali, manager Gabe Kapler reached out to Joey Bart and Chadwick Tromp to give them a heads up. 

While the Giants will keep it competitive in camp, something would have to go wrong for the season to start with anyone but Posey in the starting lineup and Casali backing him up. Bart and Tromp look to be headed for Triple-A a year after both broke into the big leagues for the first time. 

This is what 2020 was supposed to look like for Bart, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 draft. He was expected to spend at least a couple of months in Triple-A last season, continuing his development before the Giants were ready to pair him with Posey. The pandemic, and Posey's subsequent decision to opt-out, changed any long-term plans Giants officials had come up with. On a Zoom call over the weekend, president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said the front office had plenty of conversations last summer about the right time to call up Bart. Ultimately, they had no choice. 

"It was just a really tough development environment for him being at the alternate site, and everybody felt there was just a lot more value in having him at the big league level," Zaidi said. 

 

Bart had a .288 on-base percentage and slugged .320 in 33 games as the primary starter behind the plate. He struck out 41 times to just three walks, the clearest sign that he needs more time in the minors. Zaidi had said all offseason that adding a veteran catcher was a priority, and Casali is the perfect fit to keep the seat warm for the heir apparent to Posey. 

"Now we've got to make the best decision for him and the organization with all the information that we have now," Zaidi said of Bart. "Certainly going into spring training with him being in a position where we had to consider putting him on the roster or were forced to consider it didn't make sense. We certainly want him to be part of that competition but we want to have alternatives if it's the best thing for his development." 

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The Giants surely have an idea in-house of how many at-bats they'd like to see Bart get in Triple-A this summer, but they were reminded last season that the situation can change quickly. That's why Tromp's re-signing was important. The Giants won't feel the need to call Bart up prematurely if one of their big league catchers goes down in camp or early in the season. 

Zaidi said both young catchers understood why the front office felt the need to add Casali. 

"They both understood, they both most importantly understand how valued they are by our organization," he said. "They're still a really important part of our catching depth chart and our catching future."

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