Stop me if you've heard this before...Aramís García went yard twice in a Cactus League game. García has been the Cincinnati Reds biggest surprise and best power hitter this spring. With a shortage of right-handed power bats, should the Reds carry three catchers until Jose Barrero returns from the Injured List?
García hit a home run in both the third inning and the fourth inning during Friday's Cactus League game versus the Los Angeles Angels. García leads all Cactus League players with five round trippers this spring. I think it's time for David Bell to consider carrying three catchers.
With Donovan Solano now set to begin the season on the Injured List (hamstring), the Reds are short, not only on capable infielders, but also right-handed bats. Brandon Drury, who also hit a home run during Friday's exhibition game, is likely to fill in for Solano until the former San Francisco Giants infielder returns from the IL.
Should the Reds carry 3 catchers on the Opening Day roster?
Okay, hear me out. The Cincinnati Reds could carry three catchers on the Opening Day roster and use either Aramís García or Tyler Stephenson as the team's designated hitter versus left-handed pitchers.
Andrew Knapp would then act as the Reds backup catcher. Knapp is not known for his hitting, but the veteran backstop is a well-respected backstop who works well with his battery mates and plays solid defense behind the plate.
The problem, of course, if Knapp's bat. In 62 games with the Philadelphia Phillies last season, 30-year-old hit just .152 with a wRC+ of only 18. Yikes! Knapp is a switch hitter, so the former second-round pick offers some flexibility and his career-OPS versus right-handed pitchers (.662) is over 100 points higher than his OPS against southpaws.
Carrying an additional catcher for just his bat isn't the wisest move, and would it undoubtedly limit the Reds to taking 14 pitchers on the 28-roster to begin the 2022 season. Because both García and Knapp are non-roster invitees, in order to add both of them to the Opening Day roster, the Reds would have to remove two players from the 40-man roster.
While it's not out of the realm of possibilities, I don't see David Bell leaving Goodyear with three backstops on his roster. Knapp's lack of ability at the plate will likely see the veteran remain in the organization and add depth to the Reds minor league system.