Martin Maldonado's first season as a full-time starter went pretty much as expected; top-notch defense with inconsistent offense. After hitting a respectable .253/.313/.412 with nine homers in the first half of the season, he finished with a .221/.276/.368 line, dragged down by his second-half struggles (.183/.227/.312). The Angels attributed his drop-off to the increased workload, which is understandable given Maldonado led all catchers with 137 games caught despite having never played in more than 79 games in any season prior. However, the 31-year-old struggled to produce offensively even when his workload was reduced, hitting a combined .217/.299/.342 in five seasons (352 games) as the Brewers' backup. Still, he further solidified himself as one of the best defensive backstops in the game, earning his first American League Gold Glove, so he figures to reprise his role as the Angels' starting catcher in 2018.
Maldonado agreed to a one-year, $3.9 million deal with the Angels on Thursday to avoid arbitration, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports. After splitting catching duties in Milwaukee over the previous five years, Maldonado was thrust into a starting role with the Angels this past season, appearing in a career-high 138 games. His offensive numbers left a lot to be desired with a .221 average and 73 wRC+, but the backstop flashed his elite defensive abilities en route to his first Gold Glove award. He's expected to be the primary catching option again in 2018, but his offensive deficiencies make him a very low-end fantasy option.
Maldonado isn't in the lineup for Sunday's matchup against the Mariners, Jeff Fletcher of The Orange County Register reports. Maldonado sat out two of the last three games but will return to the bench after Saturday's 0-for-3, two-strikeout outing. Maldonado played in 138 games this season, over which he hit .221/.276/.368. Juan Graterol is starting at catcher and hitting ninth with Maldonado out.
Maldonado is not in the lineup Friday for the second day in a row. Maldonado has made a lot of starts behind the plate this season, so manager Mike Scioscia is giving him a bit of a break as the season winds down. Juan Graterol will get the start Friday in Maldonado's place.
Maldonado is out of the lineup against Chicago on Thursday, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. Maldonado retreats to the bench following four straight starts behind the plate, going 5-for-13 with a pair of doubles during that span. In his place, Carlos Perez will handle the catching duties.
Maldonado is not in the lineup for Saturday's game against the Astros, according to Jeff Fletcher of The Orange County Register. Maldonado will get just his second day off this month with the Angels playing an early-afternoon affair following Friday's night game. Juan Graterol will get the start behind the plate in Maldonado's place.