Martin Maldonado took over primary catching duties for the Brewers after they traded away Jonathan Lucroy, but he'll handle a new pitching staff in 2017 after getting traded to the Angels in December. Despite the extra opportunities, Maldonado showed little offensive upside last season. While he managed a career-best .332 on-base percentage thanks to a 13.8 percent walk rate, he still hasn't posted an OPS better than his .729 mark from his rookie year in 2012. Unless he shows signs of breaking that streak early in 2017, he's in danger of falling into a timeshare, though the Halos' willingness to part with Jett Bandy in order to get Maldonado could make him the bridge behind the plate until 2015 first-round pick Taylor Ward is deemed ready for the big leagues. Even with the potential for a full season as a starter in Anaheim, Maldonado's value is limited to deep leagues that require the use of two catchers.
Manager Mike Scioscia said he will let his catcher situation play out this season, the Orange County Register reports. Initial thinking was that Maldonado would get the lion's share of starts behind the dish with his new club, but Scioscia may have other ideas regarding how he splits up starts behind the plate. He brought up a good point in that Maldonado has never caught 100 games in a season before. Scioscia even hinted at a potential 50-50 split in playing time between he and fellow catcher Carlos Perez. Neither catcher had much offensive value in the first place, but a timeshare would almost assuredly render both useless in even deep formats.
Maldonado agreed to a one-year, $1.725 million deal with the Angels on Friday, avoiding arbitration, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. Prior to being acquired by the Angels in December of 2016, Maldonado acted as the Brewers' back-up catcher for the better part of the past five seasons. Known more for his defensive prowess, the veteran catcher owns a career batting average of .217. He'll likely receive a fair amount of playing time for the Angels in 2017, but doesn't figure to provide much of an offensive impact.
The Brewers traded Maldonado to the Angels on Tuesday, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports. Milwaukee packaged Maldonado with a yet-to-be-named minor league pitcher to land an upgrade at the catcher position in Jett Bandy. Maldonado graded out favorably behind the plate in 2016 and walked at a 13.8 percent clip, but the rest of his offensive numbers were less than stellar. Still, Maldonado would seem to have a leg up on Carlos Perez for the lion's share of the playing time in 2017.
Maldonado homered, a solo shot, in a 2-for-4 game Tuesday against the Pirates. Maldonado is in the majors for his excellent defense, not his bat, but he has been showing some solid power this season. He tied a career high with his eighth home run Tuesday and is now slugging .351 despite just a .194 batting average. Unfortunately, Maldonado has managed an OPS over .700 just twice in five MLB seasons and is unlikely to provide much fantasy value aside from running into the occasional home run.
Maldonado is out of the lineup Friday against the Cardinals. Despite the big night Thursday, Maldonado will get another night off. Manny Pina will assume catching duties in his place.