Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle reports that catcher Dustin Garneau has signed a one-year contract with the Astros. [Update: It’s official.]
Garneau figures to be the backup to an as-yet unknown starting catcher. The Astros are currently without two of their catchers from 2019, Robinson Chirinos and Martín Maldonado, as they are free agents.
Having spent parts of five seasons in the majors with the Rockies, Athletics, White Sox, and Angels, Garneau has hit .207/.290/.343 across 381 trips to the plate. Though he showed offensive improvement last year, Garneau is known more for his work behind the plate.
Garneau joins Yasmani Grandal and Travis d'Arnaud as free agent catchers to come off the board so far this offseason.
On Sunday, we learned that while the Nationals would continue to pay their minor leaguers throughout the month of June, their weekly stipend would be lowered by 25 percent, from $400 to $300. In an incredible act of solidarity, Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle and his teammates put out a statement, saying they would be covering the missing $100 from the stipends.
After receiving some criticism, the Nationals reversed course, agreeing to pay their minor leaguers their full $400 weekly stipend.
Doolittle and co. have not withdrawn their generosity. On Wednesday, Doolittle released another statement, saying that he and his major league teammates would continue to offer financial assistance to Nationals minor leaguers through the non-profit organization More Than Baseball.
The full statement:
Washington Nationals players were excited to learn that our minor leaguers will continue receiving their full stipends. We are grateful that efforts have been made to restore their pay during these challenging times.
We remain committed to supporting them. Nationals players are partnering with More Than Baseball to contribute funds that will offer further assistance and financial support to any minor leaguers who were in the Nationals organization as of March 1.
We’ll continue to stand with them as we look forward to resuming our 2020 MLB season.
Kudos to Doolittle and the other Nationals continuing to offer a helping hand in a trying time. The players shouldn’t have to subsidize their employers’ labor expenses, but that is the world we live in today.