The Houston Astros have traded for catcher Martin Maldonaldo from the Los Angeles Angels in exchange for Patrick Sandoval.
Maldonado has always been a defensively exclusive catcher, winning the gold glove last year for LA. It’s questionable if his glove fully makes up for his bat however, as he hasn’t batted above .234 since his rookie year in 2012. He’s currently batting .223 with 5 HR, 32 RBI, and a .616 OPS in 78 games.
Maldonado is clearly a rental for Houston. Brian McCann has been sidelined until September after undergoing knee surgery earlier this month, which will hopefully help fix the .206 BA and .606 OPS he left behind. 27 year old Max Stassi has taken over and will likely retain the starting job, batting .246 with a .764 OPS.
Martin Maldonado, who will be a free agent at season's end, gives the Astros more catching depth behind Max Stassi. Brian McCann, still early in his rehab from right knee surgery, isn't expected to return until September. https://t.co/0tkKKxaeM4
— Jake Kaplan (@jakemkaplan) July 26, 2018
For LA, this move signifies their surrender for the season. It wasn’t too long ago they were wide eyed hopefuls to make the playoffs, sitting 9 games over .500 and just 3.5 out of 1st in the West. However, since June 9th, the injury plagued Halos have gone 14-24, putting them 15.5 out of 1st and 10.5 back in the Wild Card race.
The Angels are reimbursed with Sandoval, a 21 year old lefty starter still pitching in the lowest minor league levels. He’s currently 9-1 with a 2.56 ERA at the A+ / A level.