Astros agree to a deal with catcher Dustin Garneau
By Brian Murray
The Houston Astros have agreed to a one-year deal with free-agent catcher Dustin Garneau, presumably as a backup for the position.
Dustin Garneau will reportedly join the Astros organization on a one-year contract barring the completion of a physical. It’s assumed that Garneau will be competing with Garrett Stubbs to be the backup to who Houston signs as their main backstop.
The 32-year-old has been in the Major Leagues for five seasons with four different clubs. He started his career with the Colorado Rockies, who drafted him in the 19th round of the 2009 MLB June Amateur Draft. He split last season between Los Angeles Angels and the Oakland Athletics.
Garneau has spent his career as a backup catcher with only 123 games under his belt. The most games he has ever played in one season was in 2017 when he had 41 total games with the Rockies and the A’s. Garneau has been known more for his defensive capabilities than with his bat.
He has shown much more promise at the Minor League level than what he’s been able to produce in the big leagues. Garneau’s slash line in the Minors is .253/.341/.459 and an .800 OPS. But as a pro, he has only slashed .207/.290/.343 with an OPS of .633. But he did show some improvement this past season batting .244/.350/.407 in 35 games and 86 at-bats.
He will join Garrett Stubbs as the only two catchers on the Astros’ 40-man roster. Stubbs had a very disappointing showing last year in his travels up and down between the Majors and the Minors. In 19 games, he batted just .200 with seven hits, 2 RBIs, 8 runs and no homers.
This sets up a competition between Stubbs and Garneau to be the Astros’ backup catcher to whoever Houston picks up as their primary backstop. Both of their catchers from last season, Robinson Chirinos and Martin Maldonado, are free agents.
With Yasmani Grandal and Travis d’Arnaud already taken off of the market, Chirinos is considered one of the top catchers remaining. Houston is supposedly in talks with Chirinos, but no deal in hand yet.