Christian Bethancourt, the catcher, who the Padres tried to convert to a pitcher on the major league roster has decided that he’ll continue the pitching experiment at the AAA level. The Padres gave him a choice of positions after he was waived and unclaimed earlier in the week, but it was really no choice at all if he wanted to remain in the Padres organization.
The Padres don’t have interest in him as a catcher. Rocky Gale is considered the starting catcher at the AAA level and the catcher of the future. They see more upside for Bethancourt as a pitcher and they hope that he sees it their way or else... [drags index finger across neck].
“It’s his career,” Preller said by phone Thursday. “It was a conversation the last couple days, making sure he wants to continue on the pitching front and that it’s something he wants to do. Talking to him, he said, ‘I want to give it a go.’ I think he understands he can always go back to catching and he wants to see how it plays out on the pitching front if he has regular practice and outings.”
Andy Green told Darren Smith that Bethancourt bought in to the idea of being a pitcher at the MLB level but they knew that if he was ever going to be successful he’d need innings at the minor league level.
DS: What if he decides he wants to be a catcher?
AG: We addressed that yesterday and kind of gave him some liberty in making that decision but also gave him some understanding of how we view him as a catcher and why we made the decision to push him toward pitching last year. If he goes down to the minor leagues and decides he wants to catch, the organization is pretty high on Rocky Gale down there and his ability to receive and ability to handle a staff. This isn’t like ‘hey you go to the minor leagues and your our starting catcher’, that job is taken right now. He’d get an opportunity to catch but we see him, as an organization as a pitcher first. If he wants to catch, we’ve opened that door to him, but within the next 24 hours we’ll have a better understanding of which direction he feels compelled to go.
DS: Am I getting too far ahead of this conversation to suggest that he probably doesn’t have a future with the organization if he chooses catching?
AG: Probably way too far ahead. He would have an opportunity to catch in AAA and bounce around the field if the opportunity presented itself but that would all be at the discretion of Rod Barajas.
So basically the Padres are not interested in Bethancourt the catcher, so while they say it’s his decision, they’ve already made up their mind about him.