Padres: Victor Caratini just became a whole lot more important

(Photo by Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/Getty Images)
(Photo by Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/Getty Images) /

When the San Diego Padres pulled off the trade for 2020 NL Cy Young runner-up Yu Darvish, the fact that backup catcher Victor Caratini also came over from the Cubs probably ranked pretty low on most fans’ radar.

That changed over the weekend with the news of Austin Nola’s fractured finger. The club hasn’t put any kind of timeline on it, waiting instead to see how the injury responds to treatment. Of course, we’re talking about an insanely tough guy. Remember, he played through a fractured foot most of last season.

"“We need to wait and see how he responds,” Padres skipper Jayce Tingler said. “Will he be ready for Opening Day? I don’t know. I know he’s extremely tough. It wouldn’t surprise me if he’s ready sooner rather than later, but we’re not going to know much until he gets some treatment on it.”"

But should he not be ready by Opening Day when San Diego is slated to take on Arizona at Petco Park, it’ll be a combination of Victor Caratini and top prospect Luis Campusano handling duties behind the dish.

Padres are set with Victor Caratini ready to take over

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I’m personally a big fan of Caratini and think he’s more than capable of handling things in the interim. A switch-hitter, he’s slashed .258/.343/.408 since the start of the 2019 campaign while also nabbing 24 percent of would-be base stealers.

He’s a solid presence with the mitt, ranking in the 98th percentile in pitch framing last year with Chicago. Caratini was a huge part of getting Darvish figured out, becoming the right-hander’s personal catcher. While that was likely his role heading into the spring, now he’ll have the chance to play every day.

"“We’ve got a lot of confidence in our catchers,” Tingler said. ” Should be a nice time for those guys to really find some rhythm and timing and get going.”"

This spring, Caratini has batted .263/.263/.421, more than serviceable numbers out of a catcher. Meanwhile, Campusano, the team’s #3 overall prospect, has looked very strong, slashing .313/.421/.438 in Cactus League action. The 22-year-old made his big league debut last year, appearing in a lone game for San Diego.

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It seems like every time an injury comes up, the Padres just have the perfect guy to slide in as a replacement and this is no different. Caratini and Campusano are more than enough to get the job done while Nola works his way back from injury, which should allow San Diego to take it slow with their backstop rather than rushing him back or having him play through another injury.