Aramis Garcia is an Intriguing Backup Catcher Option for the Orioles
Just as Game 2 of the ALDS between the New York Yankees and Cleveland Guardians had gotten underway, the Baltimore Orioles were busy reshaping their 40-man roster.
The Orioles designated two relief pitchers for assignment and claimed two catchers from the Cincinnati Reds to fill their spaces on the 40-man, the most notable of the two being 29 year old Aramis Garcia.
Garcia was in line for an increased role with the Reds after regular starter Tyler Stephenson suffered injuries that severely curtailed his season but unfortunately ran into injury issues of his own. Ultimately, Garcia appeared in 47 games and finished with a .213/.248/.259 slash line and one home run over 108 at-bats.
Baltimore Orioles claim C Aramis Garcia off waivers from the Cincinnati Reds
Garcia won’t provide much in the way of offense. He only walked three more times than I did in 2022 (I do not play Major League Baseball). However, his defense makes him an intriguing option for the Orioles to consider for their backup catcher role and would provide an immense defensive upgrade over last season’s backup, Robinson Chirinos.
Aramis Garcia’s throws to second base averaged 84.7 MPH, ranking 16th of 83 MLB catchers with at least 5 attempts. His average pop time, which is the time from when the ball hits the catcher’s glove to when it hits the fielder’s glove at second base, was 1.95 seconds and in the 65th percentile of qualified catchers.
Garcia’s pitch framing also stood out. Despite injuries truncating his season, he managed to accumulate 1 framing run (calculated by the amount of strikes called in the area bordering the strike zone) which placed him in the 79th percentile. He was responsible for more framing runs than JT Realmuto, one of the gold standards of defensive catchers.
With other needs ostensibly taking precedence as the Orioles try to make the next step towards contending for hardware in future postseasons, it’s unlikely they will commit significant resources to a backup catcher via free agency or trade. The addition of Aramis Garcia gives the club an intriguing, affordable option to fill that role and while he won’t provide a great deal of production with the bat, his defensive proficiency would greatly compensate for the lack of offense and pay dividends when Adley Rutschman needs a day off.