No MLB team possesses more high-quality catching depth than the Los Angeles Dodgers. That's the reason they were so quick to surrender Keibert Ruiz when the Nationals came calling in the summer of 2021.
Well, that and the fact that Max Scherzer/Trea Turner were on the other end of the deal. But the price was much easier to pay for the Dodgers, a team already relying on All-Star backstop Will Smith and excellent backup Austin Barnes in both the long- and short-term (Barnes' extension served as another example of their belief in the status quo).
Add in fast riser Diego Cartaya behind everyone, further away from the bigs than Ruiz and with a potentially bigger future ahead of him, and it wasn't hard to cut the Padres in line and shake the Nats' hands.
Complacency breeds contempt, though, and it seems like some within the Dodgers' are already getting itchy at the idea of trading Smith before he commands an exorbitant price tag, especially with Cartaya waiting in the wings. Maybe Barnes could see his team option for 2025 declined, too, if the production doesn't match the pedigree over the course of the next two years.
In that case, consider Hunter Feduccia an option at the backup spot. On Sunday, Feduccia became yet another catcher to emerge at Dodgers camp, smacking an opposite-field home run over the left-field fence to snag a late lead against the Cubbies.
Dodgers catcher Hunter Feduccia emerging as possible MLB backup?
The 25-year-old Feduccia, an LSU product drafted in 2018 in the 12th round, isn't Cartaya. He isn't Smith. He isn't an eye-popper. He's just another Dodgers catcher on the non-roster invitee list who brings solid power and sturdiness from a position where offense has been ignored for too long.
Despite having approximately zero buzz to his name, Feduccia has never posted a minor-league OPS below .740 in a full season, and cracked 15 homers with a .797 OPS last season in Double-A Tulsa. He also OBP'd nearly 100 points above his batting average (.238 vs. .331).
After multiple years in Tulsa, expect Feduccia to get the bump to Triple-A Oklahoma City this season (with Cartaya coming up behind him). Hopefully, he keeps finding the barrel this spring, putting heat on Barnes or facilitating the next Scherzer trade in the process (half-kidding).