This edition of “Questions You were Too Afraid To Ask” covers the Padres three-headed catcher, the inevitable emergence of Austin Hedges, a couple of minor league transactions, and, you guessed it, contract extensions.
How long will the Padres carry three catchers? Who will be the odd man out?
Most teams only carry two catchers because three simply isn’t an efficient use of roster slots when you have to field seven or eight other positions and catchers generally hit like, well, catchers. In fact, a quick scan of MLB Depth Charts reveals that only two other teams, the pitch framing obsessed New York Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays, currently carry three backstops, and the Blue Jays are likely to trim one soon enough.
The Padres are in a unique situation, of course. Yasmani Grandal is clearly the No. 1 catcher, but he’s making an ahead-of-schedule return from ACL surgery and isn’t able to catch back-to-back nine inning games yet. Nick Hundley is just two years removed from an age-27 breakout which led to a three-year, $9 million extension that ends after this season. (The Padres have a $5 million option for 2015.) And journeyman Rene Rivera has found a home in San Diego as a defensive specialist and Andrew Cashner’s personal catcher. To further complicate matters, the Padres can’t send Rivera or Hundley to the minor leagues without risk of losing them – Rivera because he’s out of options and Hundley because he’s surpassed five years of service time.