Cincinnati Reds: Former catcher Curt Casali finds a new home

CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 21: Curt Casali #12 of the Cincinnati Reds works behind the plate. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 21: Curt Casali #12 of the Cincinnati Reds works behind the plate. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Former Reds catcher Curt Casali has signed with the Giants.

Curt Casali has a new home. The San Francisco Giants signed the former Cincinnati Reds backstop to a one-year/$1.5M contract. The Reds decided to part ways with Casali late last year by non-tendering the veteran catcher rather than bring him back in 2021.

Casali was entering another offseason in which, through arbitration, he was due a raise. MLB Trade Rumors predicted the 30-year-old could’ve expected to sign for between $1.8M-$2.4M. While that amount isn’t overwhelmingly expensive for a rotational catcher with Casali’s resumé, we’ve seen Cincinnati’s front office go to extreme measures in an effort to save money this winter.

The team, along with Casali, decided to non-tender Archie Bradley, Brian Goodwin, and Kyle Farmer. However, Cincinnati quickly re-signed Farmer and the super-utility player will be part of the team in 2021.

Curt Casali will likely serve a similar role with the Giants to what we saw from the veteran catcher the past few years in Cincinnati. The Reds rotated Casali along with fellow catcher Tucker Barnhart as a right-handed hitting/ left-handed hitting platoon.

Casali will be joined behind the plate by former MVP and six-time All-Star Buster Posey who sat out last season due to concerns over COVID-19. Posey, however, is unlikely to be part of a platoon, and Casali will likely serve a backup role to the former Gold Glover.

As for the Cincinnati Reds, moving on from Casali allows top catching prospect Tyler Stephenson to take over behind the dish. With Barnhart entering the final year of his contract, and Stephenson showcasing his immense talent during his brief major league debut in 2020, next season could see a changing of the guard behind home plate for the Redlegs.

Barnhart does have a team-option for 2022 and the front office could decide to bring back the two-time Gold Glove Award winner for one more season, but the more likely scenario is that Stephenson takes over as the everyday catcher for the Reds in 2022.

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Here’s hoping that Curt Casali finds success with his new team. He won’t have to look hard in order to find some familiar faces. Former Reds pitchers Johnny Cueto, Kevin Gausman, and Anthony DeSclafani will make up 60% of the San Francisco Giants starting rotation in 2021.