The Los Angeles Angels added to their depth at the catcher position as they acquired Martin Maldonado and right-handed pitcher Drew Gagnon from the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for catcher Jett Bandy.
The Angels are getting a veteran catcher with Martin Maldonado who they hope can compete for the starting catcher job in 2017. Maldonado has been in the majors for 6 seasons, yet he has never played more than 79 games in a season as he has been a backup with Milwaukee. Maldonado isn’t a great defensive catcher as he had 7 errors in 69 games last season, although he has thrown out 35% of baserunners in his career. Maldonado isn’t really known for his offense as he is a career .217 hitter. However, he does have some good power for a catcher as proven by his 8 home runs in 76 games for the Brewers last season. It will be interesting to see if Maldonado will get the full-time catching role with the Angels or if they will have him split time with Carlos Perez. Jett Bandy was probably a better option to start at catcher than Maldonado which makes it strange that they would trade Bandy away. Maldonado only brings a little bit of offensive ability and he can throw out baserunners, but he is still probably a below average starting catcher. Meanwhile, the Angels also acquired right-handed pitcher Drew Gagnon in this trade. Gagnon was a 3rd round pick in 2011 by the Brewers, so he obviously is a talented pitcher. However, he has put up terrible stats in the minor leagues as he is 30-38 with a 4.64 ERA in his career. Los Angeles will have a lot of work to do with Gagnon and it will start by developing some more pitch control. Gagnon was supposed to reach the MLB level by now, although it will likely take a couple of years for the Angels to develop him if they ever are able to. I’m not sure that I really like this trade for the Angels. They are getting a veteran catcher that has been a backup for most of his career and yet they are getting rid of a younger catcher that was better last year. Bandy was probably a better option at catcher for the Angels than Maldonado and it doesn’t make much sense why they would make this deal as it doesn’t really help their team.
The Milwaukee Brewers are looking to get younger and more talented this offseason as they rebuild their roster for the future. This trade will certainly help as Maldonado is a 30 year old catcher that had only been a backup for the Brewers most his time there. Jett Bandy is only 26 years old and he is probably a better catcher than Maldonado is. Bandy had his first full season in the MLB last season for the Angels and he played relatively well. Bandy hit .234 with 8 home runs in 70 games played and he has been tremendous defensively as he has thrown out about 40% of baserunners. Bandy should be able to compete for the starting catcher job with the Brewers and he’s probably an upgrade over Maldonado. It is unfortunate that the Brewers had to trade away former 3rd round pick Drew Gagnon since the team wasn’t able to develop him. However, it was the right move for Milwaukee since Gagnon wasn’t developing effectively in their minor league system. Overall, the Brewers probably weren’t going to use Maldonado much next season anyway and it makes sense to get a younger catcher by acquiring Jett Bandy.