The Astros have reportedly agreed to a two-year deal with Martin Maldonado bringing him back to Houston once again, filling their need for a catcher.
Free-agent catcher Martin Maldonado and the front office of the Houston Astros have apparently settled on a two-year deal worth $7 million. Rumors are that he was offered more money by other teams but wanted to return to Houston and was willing to take less to get it done. There has been no official announcement from the Astros front office yet.
This will technically be their second reunion, the first being last season when the Astros acquired Maldonado from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for Tony Kemp, and now plucking him from the free-agent market. The Astros and Maldonado first teamed up in 2018 in another late-season trade. This time it was with the Angels who received prospect Patrick Sandoval and cash in the swap.
The 33-year-old has a career slash line of .219/.289/.355 with an OPS of .655. Maldonado appeared in 21 games for the Astros last season and slashed .202/.320/.567 and a .887 OPS. He scored 18 runs and added 6 home runs.
The Astros seem to have moved on from bringing back Robinson Chirinos. Money may have been a large portion of that decision-making process seeing that they are already well over the Luxury Tax Threshold. Chirinos was the top catcher left on the free-agent market and most assuredly would have demanded a higher salary than what this agreement will cost the Astros.
The positive is that they are still bringing back a catcher that the Astros pitching staff is already accustomed to working with. Not to mention, Maldonado is well known for his top-notch defensive skills behind the plate.
The catcher situation is now set with Maldonado now entrenched as the Astros everyday backstop and recently acquired Dustin Garneau most likely the backup catcher. But I’m sure prospect Garrett Stubbs will go all out this Spring to ensure a spot with the team. Now the only task left for the Astros is to get that starting pitcher to help shore up the rotation.