Dustin Garneau has been two different guys over the past three seasons. At Triple-A Albuquerque, he has hit 40 home runs in just under 700 plate appearances and been tough to keep off base. At the major-league level, he has five homers in 277 career plate appearances. Understand, while the park effects at Coors Field are strong, they're stronger in Albuquerque but that is still a rather significant difference in power output. Garneau grades out slightly better than average defensively so he should have a decent chance at sticking around as a second catcher, but needs to make better contact and show that he is more than just another product of friendly minor-league run environments.
Garneau was sent to Triple-A Nashville on Thursday, Julian McWilliams of The Athletic reports. Garneau will head back to the Triple-A level for the beginning of the 2018 season after struggling through spring training, recording just one hit in 15 plate appearances. The 30-year-old played in 41 games at the big-league level in 2017 split between Oakland and Colorado, slashing .188/.272/.312 with two home runs and nine RBI. He will serve as organizational depth moving forward.
Garneau was hitless in a pinch-hit at-bat during Tuesday's 8-2 Cactus League loss to the Dodgers. The journeyman catcher has hit safely just once in 15 spring plate appearances, while fellow backstop Bruce Maxwell has put together an impressive exhibition slate and serves as an opposite-handed option to starter Jonathan Lucroy. The combination paints an ominous picture with respect to Garneau's chances of securing an Opening Day roster spot. Garneau is likely destined to begin 2018 at Triple-A Nashville if he's retained.
Garneau went 1-for-4 with a run in Sunday's season-ending 5-2 win over the Rangers. The veteran catcher slashed just .159/.288/.250 over the 52 plate appearances he logged with the Athletics since an Aug. 4 trade from the Rockies. Garneau is under team control for the next two seasons, but as a journeyman backstop who'll turn 31 during the 2018 campaign, he may serve as no more than organizational depth at Triple-A Nashville while Josh Phegley and Bruce Maxwell man the catcher position at the big-league level.
Garneau hit a solo home run and walked in his two plate appearances before being lifted for a pinch hitter in the top of the seventh inning in Monday's 3-1 loss to the Angels. With the San Pedro, Calif. native playing close to home in Anaheim, Garneau delighted his friends and family in attendance with his first home run as a member of the Athletics. Since joining the team following a waiver claim earlier this month, Garneau has recorded just four hits in 26 at-bats while appearing in 12 games. He'll likely remain on the short end of a platoon at catcher with Bruce Maxwell for now, but Garneau will see his at-bats dry up almost entirely once Josh Phegley (oblique) returns from the 10-day disabled list.
Garneau was added to the Athletics' roster Saturday, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Oakland claimed Garneau off waivers from Colorado on Friday, seeing him as an upgrade over Ryan Lavarnway at the backup catcher position. Garneau has done very little of note in 68 career games at the big-league level, but he did hit .429/.480/.952 in a small sample against lefties during his time with Triple-A Albuquerque this season.