Martin Maldonado has inked a two-year deal with the Houston Astros. As likely their No. 1, he likely will be catching for Justin Verlander. Tough task. Why?
The Houston Astros have moved through the offseason with quite the somberness as expected amid the pending investigations of their alleged sign-stealing scheme that has been used over the past few seasons. It’s honestly tough to determine who to believe but I know teams steal signs because that’s been going on since the days of Jim Creighton.
But whatever comes out of these investigations, I’m sure the Houston Astros will be penalized and they’re probably going to have to pay a hefty fine plus lose some of their future draft picks. It’s still a sizable price to pay considering that this team wants to continue to be competitive for the foreseeable future.
As that murky cloud hangs over the organization, the show must go on and building this roster for 2020 is something that’s at the forefront of the team’s strategy right at this moment.
Outside of the Houston Astros re-signing Joe Smith to a two-year, $8 million deal and bringing in catcher Dustin Garneau for a one-year deal while trading Jake Marisnick to the New York Mets for prospects Blake Taylor and Kenedy Corona, things have been quiet over at 501 Crawford.
Up until now…
According to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, the Houston Astros have re-signed Martin Maldonado to a two-year, $7 million deal. Feinsand also notes that he had multiple offers from other teams on the table but took less money to return to H-Town.
Now let’s talk about why that’s the case.
Despite all that I talked about with the sign-stealing scandal, this team is talented from top to bottom and the culture of gritty, hard-earned, competitive baseball is the type that AJ Hinch has instilled within this team since he has been at the helm as the team’s skipper.
Maldonado, 33, knows that but most importantly, with how talks have seemed to have stalled with Robinson Chirinos, Machete knows that he could be the starting catcher for this team in short order, especially with the commitment the team has made to him.
As a professional athlete, you’d want to embrace that role, one that he has been looking for in his career and now he finally has a shot to be the lead catcher on this team.
But with such a responsibility, that comes with some strings attached. Particularly catching for future Hall of Famer Justin Verlander.
I’m positive Verlander can be a bear to deal while he’s on the bump and Chirinos did an excellent job of reeling him in when he needed it when things got out of hand last season. Maldonado will have to manage his mound visits carefully so that he keeps our big fish happy and emotionally healthy.
I’m not sure how Verlander has taken the news of Maldonado possibly being his primary catcher
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but I’d envision that he wants the organization to try to strike a deal with Chirinos.
I think the two can build rapport as things move along in 2020 but this will be something important for you all to watch through next season, especially the season opener, which is looking firmly like a Verlander-Maldonado pairing.
But as you know, with Maldonado, you know what you’re getting. He’s strongly defensive-minded and can hit timely although his slash line was rather lukewarm last season.
All in all, I have faith that Machete can get the job done and the Houston Astros were able to pluck amazing value of the deal that both parties agreed to.
Let’s see how this shakes out — go Houston Astros!
Maldonado hit .213/.293/.378 along with 12 homers, 27 RBIs through 374 plate appearances in 105 games with the Kansas City Royals, Chicago Cubs and the Astros last season.