March 4, 2024

Brighton Journal

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White Sox sign Martin Maldonado

White Sox sign Martin Maldonado

White Sox agree with catcher Martin Maldonado on a one-year contract with an option for 2025, according to Jon Heyman of the New York Post (On X). Robert Murray from FanSided (X link) first reported that the two sides were close to reaching an agreement. Financial terms for MVP Sports Group's client remain undisclosed.

Maldonado's move to Chicago's South Side officially ends a four-and-a-half-year tenure in Houston. It was clear the Astros were moving on from the 37-year-old when they signed Victor Caratini for a two-year deal during the Winter Meetings. With Caratini on hand as an experienced option at the back Yanier DiazMaldonado was left to look elsewhere.

He pitched in 13 big-league seasons, and will now make the sixth team of his MLB career. He reunites with his former Houston teammate Corey Leewhom the Astros traded to the Sox for reliever Kendall Grafman At last summer's deadline. The 25-year-old Lee has not provided any offensive production in parts of two major league campaigns. A highly regarded defensive player, he is also Maldonado's calling card.

With the exception of the shortened 2020 season, Maldonado has never reached the average level in the major leagues. He is one of the least impactful hitters in the sport overall. In over 3,700 career plate appearances, the right-handed hitter has a line of .207/.282/.349. He hasn't gotten close to the Mendoza line in three years, running a .183/.260/.333 slash dating back to the start of 2021.

Of 226 hitters with at least 1,000 plate appearances in just this stretch Joey Gallo He has a lower batting average. Maldonado has the worst on-base mark of the group, while ranking fifth from the bottom in slugging. That the Astros still count on him as the No. 1 catcher on some of the best rosters in MLB speaks to how much the coaches and staff feel about his presence behind the plate.

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For most of his career, Maldonado has actually been classified as an excellent defensive player. This was not the case last season. Statcast ranked him as the worst framer among qualifying props. He threw out just 14% of his base steal attempts, nearly six percentage points below the league mark. This is perhaps more a reflection of Houston's pitching staff than Maldonado's, as Statcast ranked him 23rd out of 81 catchers (at least 10 throws) in average pop time to second base.

However, the biggest appeal to Chicago's front office and coaching staff is Maldonado's ability to call plays and work with the pitching staff. The White Sox will likely rotate through a number of inexperienced pitchers in 2024. Dylan stopped He is an outstanding team prospect, although it is not a certainty that he will not be traded before Opening Day.

Returning from KBO Eric Fedde He is a lock for the season-opening tournament, while Michael Cupich He will likely get a chance to bounce back. Michael Soroka And Jared Schuster – Every one of them was obtained from Brave In Aaron Boomer Trade – can compete for positions. Rule 5 Selection Shane Drohan He will have to remain on the MLB roster or be waived and then offered back to the Red Sox, while prospects Christian Mina And Jake Eder He could make it to the major leagues at some point.

Maldonado will work with that pitching group. It can serve as a short-term bridge to attract potential customers Edgar Quiroheadlined last summer Lucas Giolito/Reynaldo Lopez an agreement. The 20-year-old spent all of last season in Double-A. He could reach the major leagues late in the '24 season while taking over as the starting option in 2025.

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Meanwhile, signing Maldonado could unseat one of the organization's other catchers. Once the contract is finalized, the White Sox will have four catchers on the 40-man roster. It's unlikely Chicago will move on from Lee and leave Carlos Perez And Max Staci Possibly on the bubble. Perez did not perform well in the majors or triples last season. The White Sox just acquired Stassi from the Braves a few weeks ago, but they are not on the hook for money above the league minimum salary and did not give up much (player to be named later) to bring him in.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports.