It took a season-ending injury to make it happen, but backstop Martin Maldonado has at last found a new gig. On Saturday, he reportedly agreed to terms with the Kansas City Royals. The deal is expected to pay him $2.5 million with incentives that could push him closer to $4 million:
Maldonado entered the offseason with a lot of helium due to his strong work behind the plate for the Houston Astros. He's never been much of a hitter -- his 73 OPS+ last season equals his career mark -- but Baseball Prospectus has graded him as an above-average defender throughout his big-league career. He's particularly skilled at framing the strike zone.
Despite the hype and a skill set that made him a logical backup choice for most teams, Maldonado was seldom mentioned in rumors until recently. Now, the 32-year-old will be tasked with trying to replace Salvador Perez, who will miss the season following Tommy John surgery.
It's worth noting that Maldonado recently changed agents, dumping Scott Boras in favor of Dan Lozano. It's also worth noting Maldonado stands to make less than Jeff Mathis will this season. Mathis, the current standard bearer for all-glove backstops, signed a two-year deal worth more than $6 million with the Texas Rangers back in November.