The off-season continues to be a one of mystery for San Diego Padres fans. The team announced on Friday that they have claimed Catcher/DH Jose Pinto from the Minnesota Twins.
It seems strange to put in a claim on a catcher when the team already has two quality catchers in Derek Norris and Austin Hedges. Does this mean a trade is imminent and one of the 2015 catchers will be dealt? It is sure looking like that.
Jose Pinto is currently out of Minor League options and cannot be sent down to Triple-A unless he passes through waivers (That is how the Padres acquired him). It does not seem likely he will pass through waivers as Pinto has shown an above average bat at the plate.
His knock is that he is a well below average catcher and in all reality is probably a strictly DH type of player. Not exactly a great fit for the Padres so that makes this claim even more confusing.
The 27-year-old hit an impressive seven home runs last year in 169 Major League at bats. He did however strike out 50 times and batted .219 on the season. He has legit power but is still a work in progress. He was once considered a great offensive force, but has regressed a bit.
So will the team deal Norris or Hedges soon? That is what the fans are feeling at the moment. Pinto could just be brought in to take some pressure off Hedges and Norris during spring training. The Padres might just want to take a quick look at him and if the team isn’t impressed they may just cut him loose.
The team could send Hedges down if they are impressed with Pinto but that does not seem likely. They invested the whole last half season on Hedges development at the Major League level. I really don’t see them sending him back to the minors at this point.
That leaves Norris as a possibility and probably the more likely to be dealt. You would want Hedges defense behind the plate, especially if Pinto is not known for his glove. Norris also has the most trade value at the moment. To say a trade is near would be foolish, but the Padres are certainly taking offers on one of their catchers.