The Oakland A’s are in need of catching depth. While Sean Murphy is expected to develop into a star, that has not happened to this point. His defense was strong enough to win a Gold Glove award this past season, but the bat has not been what the A’s had hoped for just yet. Although they are looking at a fire sale, the A’s need a veteran backup to guide Murphy.
The A’s did sign a veteran catcher, albeit one that is not likely to help the major league roster. Christian Bethancourt was amongst three minor league signings that had been made recently.
Oakland A’s bring in Christian Bethancourt
There was a time when Bethancourt was considered one of the top prospects in baseball. He was a consensus top 100 prospect in 2014, expected to be a mainstay behind the plate for the Braves. When he was traded to the Padres, Bethancourt was thought to have finally gotten his chance to prove himself.
But he never developed as hoped. Bethancourt produced a disappointing .222/.252/.319 batting line in his 489 plate appearances, hitting 20 doubles and eight homers. He dabbled as a two way player briefly due to his arm strength, but allowed nine runs, six earned, in his 5.1 innings, allowing seven hits while walking 11 batters, throwing two wild pitches, and hitting another batter.
He has been a baseball nomad since 2017, his last season in the majors. Since that time, he has been in the Brewers, Phillies, and PIrates organizations as Triple-A depth while also spending a season in the Korean Baseball Organization. Clearly, the A’s cannot be expecting him to be a major league asset at this point.
Chances are, Bethancourt will fill that role of Triple-A depth once again. He will only be in the majors in the case of an extreme emergency, serving to mentor Murphy in spring training while working with the other catchers in the minors. It may not be a glamorous role, but it is one that Bethancourt has taken on over the past few years.
The Oakland A’s needed a veteran catcher behind Sean Murphy. They added one on a minor league deal in Christian Bethancourt.