It will take a while before we discover if the San Diego Padres made a savvy move in acquiring Christian Bethancourt, but in the meantime, they will need to sort out how they manage their situation at catcher within their organization.
Bethancourt, a once highly touted prospect, joins both Austin Hedges and Derek Norris at the position, which creates a logjam behind the dish. The Padres have Josmil Pinto, who was recently acquired from the Minnesota Twins, on their 40-man roster as well.
So, certainly San Diego will trade one of their catchers before Opening Day, right?
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Maybe not, according to Padres GM A.J. Preller.
"Those guys have to make the team and even have to go through the offseason," Preller said of Pinto and Bethancourt, suggesting a trade might not be necessary.
So, why did Preller acquire a player who plays a position where the Padres already had depth, then?
"It's a spot where you want to continue to add depth and add competition," Preller said. "This was more taking a shot on a guy, [acquiring] talent at a premium position."
The addition of Bethancourt presents the Padres with an opportunity to develop Hedges, who turned 23 in August, the opportunity to develop more in the minors. The second-round pick in the 2011 amateur draft hit .168/.215/.248 with three home runs and 11 RBI in 56 games last season, his first major-league stint.
"I think what this move does is allow us to have that conversation," Preller said regarding Hedges.