The Giants have acquired catcher Austin Wynns from the Phillies for a minor-league pitcher, the team announced Wednesday. As part of the transaction, Giants catcher Joey Bart was optioned to Triple-A and that's easily the big news here.
Bart, 25, was the heir apparent to likely future Hall of Famer Buster Posey since being selected second overall in the 2018 draft out of Georgia Tech. A consensus top-30 prospect, Bart was seen ranked as high as 14th in preseason lists in the years after he was drafted.
Bart got a bit of a look in 2020 with Posey having opted out of the season due to COVID-19. In 33 games, he hit .233/.288/.320, good for just a 68 OPS+ and he posted 0.3 WAR. Any disappointment could be rather easily forgiven because 2020 was a messed up year for everyone and he was only 23.
Posey then had a big 2021 season and retired.
Heading to his age-25 season, it was time for Bart to take the mantle. Through 36 games, he's hitting .156/.296/.300 (69 OPS+) with 0.0 WAR.
Thanks to Posey, the Giants were one of the best teams behind the plate last season, ranking fourth in Wins Above Average at the position. They've fallen to 11th this season. It would be far worse, but Curt Casili, who entered the season as a backup, is having a career year (0.9 WAR through only 27 games).
The Giants enter Wednesday just four games over .500 at 29-25 and they've lost 11 of their last 18.
Wynns, 31, played in parts of three seasons for the Orioles from 2018-21, hitting .216/.255/.326, though he's known as a quality defensive catcher. Earlier this season, the Giants acquired catcher Michael Papierski and he's gone 0 for 9 at the plate while logging 24 innings behind the dish.
Simply, they are looking for someone to help Casali behind the plate and this was supposed to be Bart's time. Maybe he can get things ironed out in the minors. Plenty of players have improved after age 25.