The offseason has only just begun and Brewers GM Matt Arnold has just swung his first trade. It's a minor trade involving an old friend and the Miami Marlins.
On Thursday, the Brewers announced that they had traded for Marlins catcher Payton Henry in exchange for minor league outfielder Reminton Batista.
Henry, 25, had previously been a Brewers prospect and a highly rated one at that. He was ranked 15th on the Crew's 2020 Top 30 Prospects list. Milwaukee drafted him out of high school in the 6th round of the 2016 Draft.
Just about a year and a half ago, the Brewers traded Henry to the Marlins in exchange for reliever John Curtiss at the Trade Deadline. The Brewers were gearing up their bullpen for their postseason run and brought in Curtiss. Curtiss struggled before his elbow blew out after a few appearances in Milwaukee and he needed Tommy John surgery. Curtiss, who had four more years of team control, was released and signed on with the Mets.
So the Brewers got practically nothing out of the first Payton Henry deal but Henry got a path to some playing time in Miami, which he wasn't going to get at the time in Milwaukee. However, he's only played in 20 MLB games to this point with a .186/.314/.209 slash line in 43 at-bats.
It's safe to say Henry is more of a defense-first catcher and he adds some depth to that catching group that is being thinned out a little with Omar Narvaez and Pedro Severino reaching free agency and Victor Caratini struggling down the stretch and being a non-tender candidate. The catchers on the 40 man roster now include Caratini, Henry, Mario Feliciano, and Alex Jackson.
Hopefully, the Brewers won't just call it an offseason at catcher with the acquisition of Henry. He'll fight for some back up opportunities but is a second stringer at best and will battle Alex Jackson for that third spot on the depth chart.
In return for Henry, the Brewers gave up minor league outfield prospect Reminton Batista. Batista is a 17 year old from the Dominican Republic. He was just signed by the Brewers in the 2022 International Signing Period that began on January 15th of this year. In the DSL, Batista hit .252/.348/.333 with one homer and 18 stolen bases in 159 ABs.
Batista wasn't a Top 30 prospect and he's incredibly far away from the major leagues. But the Brewers got back a catcher that they are familiar with and who is familiar with their pitchers. Perhaps a return to the organization that drafted him will lead to improved big league performance for Henry.
The offseason is just getting started and this is the first move of (hopefully) many over the next few months.