Just under one hour ago, Jeff Fletcher reported thatthe Houston Astros and Los Angeles Angels agreed to a trade that sends veteran catcher Martin Maldonado to Houston and Astros prospect LHP Patrick Sandoval to the Angels.
The #Angels are trading C Martin Maldonado to the Houston Astros. Return TBA. More to come on this story.— Jeff Fletcher (@JeffFletcherOCR) July 26, 2018
On the surface, the trade looks questionable on a number of levels. First, why trade for Maldonado when he only has a half season left on his contract and Brian McCann is getting up there in age? Second, why give up a solid, young left-handed pitcher in the farm system in order to add catching depth on the major league roster for only a few months?
Well, the best answer that I can come up with right now is that the Astros really value what Maldonado brings to the table. Offensively, Maldonado is not as productive as Brian McCann and Max Stassi. He does not walk often, he strikes out too much, and his power numbers leave a lot to be desired. Defensively, however, is where the Houston Astros believe Maldonado will help the team significantly.
So far this season, Maldonado has thrown out 12 of 27 base stealers, good for a caught stealing percentage of 44%. On the other hand, Stassi has only thrown out 8 of 32 base stealers in 2018 for a caught stealing percentage of 25%. In the postseason, both the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox will post lineups that have the capability of stealing multiple bases in a game, and the Astros need to be able to shut down the running game in order to limit the amount of RISP chances for their opponent.
On the prospect side, I’ll always refer to our guy Astros Future for his opinion. Unfortunately in this case, he believes that Jeff Luhnow overpaid in order to fix the current major league roster. For more Astros Future coverage of Patrick Sandoval, here’s a link to the interview he did with the young left-hander just a couple months ago.
Overall, I think Maldonado will be a great defensive addition to the Houston Astros roster this year. If he can do anything productive at the plate, I’ll consider that a bonus. I don’t love that we had to give away Sandoval if Astros Future likes him that much, but sometimes you have to pay a price to win another World Series.