The San Francisco Giants will likely head into the 2024 season with a catching tandem of former first-rounder Patrick Bailey and Tom Murphy, who was signed as a free agent this offseason.
Because of this, 2018 second-overall pick Joey Bart could be expendable, especially so with no remaining minor-league options. MLBTradeRumors.com named five potential fits to land Bart, and the Pittsburgh Pirates were one of the possible suitors.
Bart, 27, quickly reached the big leagues in 2020 after an impressive showing in the minor leagues from 2018-19 to begin his professional career.
Since debuting, Bart has spent a total of 162 games with the Giants across four seasons. His early minor-league success still hasn’t translated to the big leagues.
Over his career, Bart carries a .219/.288/.335 slash with 16 doubles, 11 home runs, and 38 RBIs in 503 plate appearances. He’s been prone to the strikeouts during his time with the Giants which have hindered his offensive output.
Last year, his numbers at Triple-A also took a dip with a .750 OPS (86 wRC+) in 60 games.
While his production at the plate has been a concern, Bart hasn’t yet fared as well behind the plate as many thought he would.
Bart posted minus-six defensive runs saved in 93 games behind the plate in 2022 and was a below-average pitcher framer. This past season, he did at least improve those numbers in his 30 games. In 2023, Bart was a better-than-average pitcher framer and had minus-one DRS.
The Pittsburgh Pirates could still be looking for additional catching help in wake of Endy Rodríguez’s season-ending injury. Henry Davis will seemingly be tasked with most of the catching duties. As it stands, a spring battle between Jason Delay and Ali Sánchez will determine Davis’ backup.
Bart carried a well-rounded profile from his days as a prospect. In his MLB Pipeline draft profile, Bart was considered the sixth-best draft-eligible prospect with a power-over-hit bat, strong defense and a plus-arm.
Perhaps the Pirates would feel Bart could use a change of scenery to help get his career back on track.
In addition to the Pirates, MLB Trade Rumors lists the Brewers, Diamondbacks, Marlins and Rays as possible destinations.