The Angels have acquired catcher Juan Graterol from the Blue Jays in exchange for a player to be named later or cash, the teams announced Tuesday afternoon. In order to clear a spot for Graterol on the 40-man roster, the Angels designated outfielder Ryan LaMarre for assignment.
After a tumultuous five-month cycle of transactions, Graterol is back with the organization with which he spent the 2016 season. Back in November, the Halos designated Graterol for assignment when claiming Nolan Fontana from the Astros — a move that triggered a subsequent cavalcade of scenery changes for the 28-year-old catcher. Graterol was claimed by the Reds, then claimed by the D-backs before briefly landing back with the Angels following a DFA in Arizona. The Angels, though, failed in their next attempt to pass Graterol through waivers, as the Blue Jays snagged him and brought him to MLB camp. Though he didn’t make the team in Toronto, he previously stood as one of the first lines of defense in the event of an injury to Russell Martin or Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
That changed this past weekend, when the Jays once again designated Graterol for assignment upon selecting the contract of Chris Coghlan. Graterol now changes organizations for the fifth time in five months and will hope to stick on the Halos’ 40-man roster this time around. He made his MLB debut with the Angels in 2016, appearing in nine games and going 4-for-14 at the plate.
While the constant changing of teams has to be frustrating for Graterol, it’s also undoubtedly heartening that so many clubs think highly enough of him to continually place him on a 40-man roster. Graterol doesn’t possess especially gaudy offensive numbers in Triple-A, but his .281/.311/.341 batting line in parts of four seasons there is solid for a player that comes with a sound defensive reputation. Graterol has shut down 39 percent of stolen base attempts him in his minor league career and also consistently rates as a solid, if unspectacular pitch framer (per Baseball Prospectus).
As for LaMarre, the 28-year-old has experienced brief stints in the Majors in each of he past two seasons with the Reds and Red Sox. Though he’s collected just two hits in 30 Major League at-bats, he’s a .273/.340/.406 hitter in parts of five Triple-A seasons. LaMarre has been primarily a center fielder throughout his minor league career but does also come with some experience in both corner slots (more in right field than in left).