With backup Max Stassi sidelined for six weeks after hamate bone surgery, Astros manager A.J. Hinch told reporters (including MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart) that the team is looking at catchers outside the organization. While Hinch said he’s comfortable with minor leaguers Roberto Pena or Tyler Heineman as the backup to start the season, it only makes sense that Houston would explore the market for experienced help. The team’s hopes that Evan Gattis could be an option behind the plate have been scuttled by Gattis’ hernia surgery, which could keep him out of Spring Training action altogether.
The Astros recently had a scout watching Tigers backup Bryan Holaday, McTaggart reports. Holaday is out of options and is stuck behind James McCann and Jarrod Saltalamacchia, though there’s at least a chance Detroit will keep all three catchers since the club likes Holaday quite a bit. Houston has also reportedly shown interest in Blue Jays minor league backstop A.J. Jimenez, another out of options player.
Beyond those two, McTaggart lists some of the other potential candidates who could be acquired or available on the waiver wire as Spring Training rolls on. Possible targets include J.P. Arencibia, Carlos Corporan, Tim Federowicz, Ryan Hanigan, Austin Romine and the odd men out of the Rangers’ backup competition between Chris Gimenez, Michael McKenry and Bobby Wilson. I’d also cite the Padres and Rays as teams who could be open to moving a catcher.