The Astros make a trade for Martin Maldonado from the Angels to add depth to the catching position.
The Houston Astros have made a deal to improve the catcher spot with Brian McCann out. No, they did not go out and trade for J.T. Realmuto or Wilson Ramos, it was a smaller deal for a last year’s AL Gold Glove award winner. They made a trade for the Angels Martin Maldonado, according to Jeff Fletcher.
Who the Astros gave up is unclear at the moment, but Joel Sherman says its a prospect and international signing money. Updated, Fletcher says the player going to the Angels is High-A left-handed pitcher Patrick Sandoval. The 21-year-old was drafted in the 11th round of the 2015 draft. He was having a good season with a 9-1 record with a 2.56 ERA. Also, the Angels get $250k in international money.
Looking at why the Astros made the move.
For his career, Maldonado has a 37% caught stealing percentage, which is second among active players. In 2018, Maldonado has a 44.4% caught stealing percentage. Stats from Baseball-Reference. In comparison, McCann had a 33.3% caught stealing rate. Maldonado also has the most putouts in the AL with 674. He has ten passed balls this season, which is the tied for the most in baseball.
Maldonaldo may not help you too much with the bat, with a slash line of .223/ .284/ .332 with five homers. Last season with the Angels he hit a career-high 14 homers and 38 RBI. With his 32 on the season, he is on the way to setting a new career high.
The 31-year-old catcher is in his sixth MLB season, will be a free agent after the season. When McCann returns, the Astros will probably carry all three catchers with the expanded roster in September. This also means that Tim Federowicz will once again be placed on waivers. He may clear waivers again and serve as depth in Triple-A, but this is definitely an upgrade at the backup catcher spot.
This may not be the splashy move we wanted, but it could help defensively in the playoffs. The Astros offense can carry a weak hitting catcher who play great defense, but he could take off. We saw Cameron Maybin hit during spurts after being traded to Houston last year. Now that they have addressed the catching spot, all that’s left is another reliever.