This afternoon the Astros traded for L.A. Angels catcher Hank Conger. Houston is sending catcher Carlos Perez and starting pitcher Nick Tropeano in exchange for what was the Angels part-time backstop.
This past season the 26-year old Conger hit .221/.293/.325 in 260 plate appearances with the Angels. Conger played in 80 games, 70 of which he started. The Angels played and pitched well with Conger behind the plate as evidenced by a 42-28 record and a 3.35 pitcher ERA in his starts (h/t Astros media relations manager, Steve Grande).
"Conger is a solid Major League catcher and gives us added depth at a scarce position," Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said in the Astros press release. "We scouted him extensively this year as a divisional opponent and feel he brings a unique skill set to our organization."
At the plate, Conger was much better in 2013 when he slashed .249/.310/.403. He has shown a patient approach at the plate, walking in 8.1 percent of his career plate appearances. In his career, Conger has played almost exclusively against right handed pitching with 695 of his 768 career plate appearances while batting as left handed.
Although Perez is out of the picture, the catching situation in Houston remains a mystery. This seems to signal the end of Carlos Corporan's time as an Astro, but what does it mean for Jason Castro? The left-handed hitting Castro struggled with the bat while improving his defensive capabilities this past season.
Furthermore, what does it mean for Max Stassi? The 23-year old handled the bat well in his limited at bats in September, but overall had a down year at AAA Oklahoma City.
Perez, 24, hit .259 in 88 games with OKC this past year and never was thought to be heavily involved in the Astros future plans. Meanwhile, Tropeano being dealt is mildly surprising. The Long Island-native had the best season of his career at AAA before being called up to the Majors, where he posted a 4.57 ERA in four starts.