The Backup Catching Battle Becomes a Two-Man Competition

Multiple media members are reporting that catcher Kevin Plawecki no longer has a locker  with the Pittsburgh Pirates, who are a week away from Opening Day with 40 active players on the Spring Training roster coming into today.

According to Rob Biertempfel, Plawecki was told that he will not make the team out of Spring Training. His minor league contract came with an opt-out clause, allowing him to become a free agent if he wasn’t on the 40-man roster by this Saturday. It appears that the decision has been made already. No official announcement has been made yet.

The 32-year-old Plawecki went 4-for-17 with two doubles and no walks over eight games this spring. He hit .220/.286/.286 in 63 games last year, finishing the year with a -1.2 WAR.

The current Spring Training roster (besides Plawecki) only has Jason Delay and Tyler Heineman left to battle for the backup spot behind Austin Hedges. Delay and Heineman did a majority of the work behind the plate for the 2022 Pirates.

John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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Scam likely

Reynolds and Choi for any prospect pirates want except Painter , 5 minimum.


Addition by subtraction!!

b mcferren

Phillies I’m on Plawecki so says sources




Let’s see:

Cruz gonna be mad if Castro is not the 2 baseman
BRey gonna be mad if he doesn’t get to play along side Suwinski
Rich Hill will be mad because Plawecki cut

Grow some stones and piss em all off Ben!


These are ridiculous statements. These are professionals and they will deal. Just absurd.


I have hardly seen Reynolds in centerfield this spring. Clearly, he knows the deal. As for Castro, there has barely been a quote out of Cruz, just speculation. Sure players have buds, but these guys are focused on themselves at this point. In a good way I hope.

Last edited 2 months ago by Born4rf

Our pitchers were very comfortable with Heineman and Delay behind the plate in 2022, and the staff started to make solid advancements. They are both selfless professionals and either will serve this club well.


Wonder how this is sitting with Rich Hill. He was once of the guys to speak up after Plawecki was let go last year by the Red Sox.

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

I imagine not mad at all. In the entirety of Hill’s career, Plawecki ranks 16th in innings caught of Hill. Only 24.1 innings. 5 whole games. In fact, Carlos Santana has almost as many innings (21.2) caught of Hill as does Plawecki.


Rich Hill knows this is Plawecki’s decision to opt out. He’s a pro. If his buddy won’t go to the minors for him, he figures that’s in his buddy.


If Plawecki starts down in Indy he could come up and Heineman could go down as Heineman has an option. If Plawecki starts here we lose him as soon as he’s sent down.


I think the implication here is that Plawecki is not starting in Indy, he’s opting out to become a free agent. Cleaned out his locker and everything. Going to wait by the phone for some team with a catcher injury to call, knowing he can show up in less than 24 hours, hit .220 and keep the clubhouse light.

Wilbur Miller

Makes no sense he’d go to Indy. He’s clearly behind Delay and Heineman on the chart, plus Endy should be super-two-safe at some point. No path back to The Show.


Welp that seals it, getting ready for 2011-level injuries.

Wilbur Miller

I actually think they could withstand that now. Hell, Bins had a real good spring.

Last edited 2 months ago by Wilbur Miller

I forgot about Bins. If Plowicki went to Indianapolis, he would be catching in the bullpen.


If there was any doubt that Davis will start in AA, I’m sure it is now becoming clear.


I’m not sure if it means anything but I made it out to Pirate City Wednesday for games against the Braves and Bins was catching for the AAA team and Davis was behind the plate in the AA game.


As it should be, he hasn’t play enough games and in the games he played above a+ he wasn’t good. Hope he has a monster season.

Wilbur Miller

Too bad. I was hoping they’d find a backup who could hit at least a tiny bit, but the D . . . eek!
Plawecki’s pop time last year was first, i.e., worst percentile.


How does Ben do it! He must have the best analytics people in baseball to identify the #1 worse hitting catcher and #1 worse pop time w/ weakest arm.

Scam likely

More like pops time, I’m I right.


If they found a backup who could hit at least a tiny bit, they’d move him to right field.


It will make the arrivals of Endy Rodriguez and Henry Davis that much more enjoyable.

Going into 2023 the Pirates spent about $32 mil on Hill, Hedges, Santana, Choi, Joe, VV, Garcia, and Stephenson. They will all most likely be gone at the trading deadline, possibly returning $10 mil. What if we just pretend we need another $32 mil in 2024 and add that to the $10 mil returned money for a total of $42 mil. Use that for signing bonuses for Reynolds, Cruz, and possibly Keller, Bednar, etc.


Um this isn’t the NFL, what is the talk about “signing bonuses”


Extensions to those key players/pitchers would also include a signing bonus. And, no reason to stop there if guys like Contreras, Oviedo, or Ortiz have big years in 2023. Very nice outing by Oviedo yesterday – 4 IP, 4 hits, 2 ER, 0BB/7K, 55 pitches/40 strikes.

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