The Rays have acquired catcher Hank Conger from the Astros in exchange for cash considerations, the club announced. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times first tweeted the move, adding that all of the team’s arbitration eligible players have been tendered contracts. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported earlier tonight that Conger had been offered to at least one club in a trade (Twitter link).
The 27-year-old Conger is a switch-hitter that is coming off a season in which he batted .229/.311/.448 with 11 home runs while backing up starting catcher Jason Castro. Conger did nearly all of his damage from the left side of the plate, hitting right-handed pitching at an outstanding .279/.353/.538 clip but slumping to a .175/.250/.351 batting line upon stepping into the right-handed batters’ box.
From a defensive standpoint, Conger is a puzzling story. He’s consistently graded out as an excellent pitch-framer — one of the primary reasons that drove the Astros (and, presumably, the Rays) to acquire him — but he developed a bizarre inability to throw out runners in 2015. While Conger has never caught attempted base-stealers at an elite rate, he prevented a staggeringly low one of 43 attempted thefts in 2015. He caught around one out of every four to five baserunners who attempted to run on him in previous seasons.
Clearly, the Astros had concerns over Conger’s throwing issues, as evidenced by the fact that he was moved for cash considerations despite a reasonably productive season at the plate, solid framing numbers and a projected $1.8MM salary. The Rays will hope that they can turn those woes around and utilize Conger behind the dish, perhaps in a platoon capacity, with Curt Casali or Rene Rivera. If they’re able to do so, the Rays can control Conger through the 2017 season. He currently has four years, 51 days of Major League service time.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Kind of bummed to see him go, I liked Conger.
Wonder if Stassi gets a shot to backup. Edit: Forgot Nottingham got sent to the A’s in the Kasmir deal. Gonna rue that one,
Ol Hammerin Hank….
Going to miss the Zombie Robot!!!
I wonder what the Astros are thinking as far as a backup catcher now. I’m not sure Stassi is ready yet. I think both he and the Astros would be better off keeping Stassi in the minors getting regular at bats.
Maybe they sign Tyler Flowers to backup Castro.
Astros talked about wanting more of a bat at catcher, I wonder if Norris from the Padres is of interest at this point – i like Castro but possible strong tandem
Flowers for nothing seems like much more sense
Glad to see this! Conger just wasnt a good fit. His defense was poor
I guess this is the portion of the off season where every back up catcher changes teams. Seriously this is like 10 in a week.
RyÅn W Krol
Conger has always had trouble throwing out runners. In fact he has trouble throwing the ball anywhere. It’s always been bizarre. I still can’t believe the Angels got Carlos Perez and Nick Tropeano for him.
Crazy to think that the Angels actually got two guys who look to be a part of the future for a backup catcher.
Will see what happens. To soon to say anything right now
And that was the only trade that Dipoto made as the GM of the Angels that brought back more talent than he traded away
If jeff luhnow gives up players, something is up with those players. he doesn’t just give up players if he knows their gonna be good. that’s why i said wait and see.
Welcome to T. Bay & Tropicana Field, Panda Crusher.