The Angels had a total of 6 catchers during the 2018 season, and only 1 of them is still on the roster. Before we get to who is still on the roster let’s take a look at the other 5 catchers who were on the roster and are on the outs.
Maldonado played in 78 games with a slash line of .223/.284/.332(Average, On Base Percentage, Slugging) with 14 doubles, 5 homeruns and 32 RBI. Maldonado is known for his stellar defense as he was the Rawlings 2017 Gold Glove winner. The Angels were looking like they would miss the postseason and they decided to trade Maldy to the Houston Astros on July 26 for minor league left handed pitcher Patrick Sandoval. Martin is now a free agent, and the Angels likely have some sort of interest in him.
Rivera was signed to a 1 year deal in January 2018 and was expected to give Martin Maldonado a few more days off as, Maldonado had appeared in the most games as a catcher in the 2017 season with 138 games played. The duo of Rivera and Maldonado was working well until Rivera hit the disabled list unexpectedly on May 20 after having inflammation in his right knee. Rivera ended up having surgery on his right knee to repair a torn meniscus and missed a significant amount of time. Rivera returned to the Angels on August 15 and later got claimed by the Atlanta Braves a few weeks later on August 29. During his 30 games of work with the Angels, he produced a slash line of .244/.287/.439 with 4 doubles, 4 homeruns, and 11 RBI. René is now a free agent and there may not be much interest from the Angels to bring him back.
Arcia got his contract selected on July 26 when Maldonado was traded. Arcia made his first career start in the big leagues after spending more than 10 years in the minor leagues and he made it a memorable day when he went 2 for 4 with his first big league homerun against the Chicago White Sox. Arcia appeared in 40 games with a slash line of .204/.226/.427 with 5 doubles, 6 homeruns, and 23 RBI. Francisco got outrighted off of the Angels roster and elected free agency on November 2.
Hudson was purchased by the Angels on June 30 from the Cincinnati Reds and was sent immediately to the minor leagues. Hudson would later come up in September when rosters expanded. Joe appeared in 8 games where he went 2 for 12. He also made his Major League debut on September 8 against the Chicago White Sox where he collected his first RBI. Hudson got DFA’D(Designated For Assignment) and was granted free agency on November 2.
Graterol had been with the Angels the previous two seasons and was expected to serve as depth for the Angels and he appeared in 1 game for the Halos on May 5 against the Seattle Mariners. He came into the game late and went 1 for 1. Graterol later got released on June 24 and signed with the Minnesota Twins.
The Angels currently have two catchers that are on their roster. Let’s take a look at who is on the in’s.
Briceño is the only catcher from last year that is still on the roster. Jose got his contract selected on May 20 and started his first game on May 26, where he went 2 for 4 including hitting his first homerun against the New York Yankees. Briceño appeared in 46 games producing a slash line of .239/.299/.385 with 2 doubles, 5 homeruns, and 10 RBI.
The Angels claimed Smith off of waivers from the Chicago White Sox on October 26. Kevan appeared in 52 games for the White Sox in 2018 and worked a slash line of .292/.348/.380 with 6 doubles, 3 homeruns, and 21 RBI. Smith is out of options and that means he would have to be DFA’D in order to be sent to the minors making it.
The Angels are now left with two catchers on the 40-man roster with out any prospect catchers looking like they will contribute in 2019. The Angels will likely try to get a catcher either by trade or free agency with only Briceño and Smith on the roster.
There are plenty of teams that are in need of catchers as well and the top catching free agents include Yasmani Grandal, Jonathan Lucroy, Martín Maldonado, and Wilson Ramos. There are also trade candidates like J.T. Realmuto from the Miami Marlins and Yan Gomes from the Cleveland Indians. Realmuto may be an unrealistic candidate for the Angels due to the haul he will command. We will take a look at two free agents who make sense for the Angels other than Martín Maldonado.
Wieters was once one of the top catchers in the Majors, but has had some struggles in recent years. Matt had signed a 2-year deal with the Washington Nationals in February 2017 after spending the first 8 seasons of his career with the Baltimore Orioles. His offense took a step back when he joined the Nationals where he produced a slash line of .230/.303/.658 and hit 28 doubles, 18 homeruns, and had 82 RBI over a two year span. Weiters had caught 31% of base stealers during his time with the Nats and has a career 32% caught stealing. General Manager Billy Eppler has made it known that he values defense and with Wieters coming off a season where he played 76 games his price will likely not be as high as it was during his last trip in free agency.
Ramos was having a career year in 2016 heading into free agency with the Nationals, but he tore his ACL in September of that year. Ramos then signed a 2-year deal with the Tampa Bay Rays in December of 2016. During the span of that 2 year deal that included Ramos being traded to the Philadelphia Phillies at the trade deadline last season, he produced a slash line of .290/.334/.807. He hit 28 doubles, 1 triple, 26 homeruns, and 105 RBI. Ramos showed that he is one of the top hitting catchers during the past 3 seasons and has thrown out a career 32% of base stealers, he has been linked to the Angels already this off-season. There are other suitors like the division rival Houston Astros who also are in need of a catcher. Due to his injury history Ramos will likely not be able to play catcher as much as the Angels would like to, but the Angels might think his offense is worth it.
Source: Baseball Reference Featured Image: AP photo/Orlando Ramirez