Pittsburgh Pirates: What To Do With The Catching Situation

What will the Pirates do with the current logjam at catcher?
Jul 17, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Henry Davis (left) and
Jul 17, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Henry Davis (left) and / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Pirates have a logjam at catcher. But what options do they have, and what is the most likely solution they'll come to?

The Pittsburgh Pirates have a logjam at catcher right now. Endy Rodriguez was the team’s primary catcher in the second half of last year, with Jason Delay as his backup. Both are still on the Major League roster. But now the Pirates want Henry Davis to get reps behind the plate in the Majors next year, and on top of that, they recently signed Ali Sanchez to a Major League deal. So what happens now?

We all knew that when they drafted Davis in 2021, this was a potential circumstance within the next two or three years. Of course, that doesn’t mean Davis was the wrong choice or a bad draft pick, but now they’ve run into somewhat of a good problem. Having too many solid catching options is not a bad thing, far from it. But good problem or not, it’s something they’ll need to resolve this offseason.

There are a few routes they could take. The first is using either Davis or Rodriguez as trade bait to make a significant improvement to the starting rotation. Both Davis and Rodriguez are still young and have a lot of upside. Trading one or the other as a headliner in a package deal could get back something pretty significant, maybe even someone like Logan Gilbert from the Seattle Mariners or Jesus Luzardo from the Miami Marlins.

However, that would be my last resort option, and trading either Davis or Rodriguez would have to net someone with at least no. 2 type pitcher upside with major league success already and at least three years of control remaining. If the Pirates still want to trade someone, then they should look to try to move Delay first.

Delay may not be a major impact player, nor one who will be highly sought after, but teams are looking for backup catchers right now. Even some rebuilding teams probably wouldn’t mind having him as their primary backstop, especially considering that Delay is under control through the 2028 season.

The Pirates could also roll with all four on the 40-man roster. Davis and Rodriguez could split some time between the backstop, right field, designated hitter, and first base (at least in Rodriguez's case given Davis has not played a single inning at first base professionally, and he's already been moved around the diamond more than you'd like for a young and talented player). Only one catcher has started 150+ games behind the plate dating back to 1980. Having depth at the position is not a bad thing. Delay still has minor league options and can be sent back to Triple-A, so that is also a potential solution.

Whatever the Pirates decide to do, I have faith that they’ll make the right decision. In my opinion, they may try and see what Endy and Henry could get back in a trade, but they’re not going to settle for anything light. Starting pitching is still a major issue, and I would like to think they would only trade either for someone of Gilbert or Luzardo’s caliber and team control.

I think it’s more likely they’ll end up doing something with Delay. He may get some minor trade attention because he is a solid backup catcher, but I think it’s more likely the Pirates will end up keeping him and send him to Triple-A as a depth backstop, that is, unless a team comes knocking with something really good to offer, or the Pirates can snag something pretty good themselves.

Next. lots of work still. The Pirates Still Have Plenty of Work to do This Offseason. dark