This story is changing pretty quickly. First, Jon Morosi of Fox Sports reported that the Diamondbacks and Blue Jays were still talking Dioner Navarro, and that the team was trying really hard to add a catcher.
Now according to a report by Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic, G.M. Dave Stewart and the Dbacks are no longer pursuing a catcher because of how prospect Peter O’Brien is developing:
“I’ve decided that I’m not going to pursue another catcher,” Stewart said. “I talked with my people and my coaching staff. They believe that O’Brien is going to be around sooner than later. If that does happen, there’s no need to go out and get another guy.”
“We would have had to trade somebody we didn’t want to trade to make it happen. We’re going to be patient and allow the progression of O’Brien to take place and stand pat on that.”
It’s clear that Stewart is high on O’Brien, whom the Diamondbacks acquired from the Yankees, at last years July trade deadline in the Martin Prado trade.
O’Brien, 24, is known for his amazing power to all fields. He has 66 home runs in 1,058 career at bats, and he slammed 34 home runs between High-A and Double-A last season. Many scouts question his ability to stay behind the plate, which scares me about what Stewart is saying.
However, he is a hard worker, and Stewart likes what he saw from him defensively behind the plate during the Arizona Fall League, and he is doing really well working with coaches at Salt River Fields.
I honestly think O’Brien isn’t ready yet, and might need another full year in the minors to season up his defensive game.
That would mean that Tuffy Gosewisch, who has 55 games of major league experience, and rule 5 draft pick Oscar Hernandez who hasn’t played above High-A as their catchers in 2015.
While I think that Gosewisch has earned more playing time, that is a really weak combo at an important position. I think they need to add a veteran catcher. When O’Brien is ready, a veteran like Jason Castro, Wellington Castillo, or Dioner Navarro could really benefit him.
It’s clear that Stewart isn’t willing to give up assets like bullpen or infield depth that other teams want. Despite there being a glaring need, as of today assume that the Snakes won’t add another backstop this offseason.