Giants' 2020 Opening Day catcher Heineman signs with Cardinals


The Giants just lost their Opening Day catcher and ERA leader in free agency.

Wait, what?

Tyler Heineman, who started behind the plate for the Giants against the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 23 and pitched a scoreless inning of relief in a blowout loss to the A's on Aug. 16, announced Friday night on Twitter that he has signed with the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Cardinals announced that Heineman signed a minor league contract with an invite to spring training.

Signed on Jan. 6, Heineman embraced San Francisco, and he thanked the team and fans for an "unforgettable 2020."

A little over an hour after Heineman announced he was joining the Cardinals, the Giants sent a tweet thanking him and wishing him luck on his next stop.

Heineman, who played in 15 of the Giants' 60 games in 2020, had a memorable year.

While the Opening Day nod certainly is a career highlight for an MLB player, Heineman got to do something not many people get to do. He played in an MLB game with his baby brother, Scott.

On Saturday, Aug. 1, with the Texas Rangers in town, Tyler caught Drew Smyly while Scott started in center fielder for the visitors. Before the game, they brought the lineup cards out to the umpires. Once the game started, Scott homered and crossed in front of his brother as he touched home plate. But big brother got the last laugh as the Giants won the game, 7-3.

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With Buster Posey returning for the 2021 MLB season and Joey Bart emerging as the future backstop in San Francisco, there likely wasn't going to be much playing time for Heineman if he had re-signed with the Giants.

But in St. Louis, Heineman could have a chance to win a spot on the Cardinals' Opening Day roster. Franchise icon Yadier Molina, 38, is a free agent, so the door could be open for Heineman.