10:29am: Hundley would earn a $1.25MM base salary in the Majors, tweets Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.
9:02am: The Athletics announced Monday morning that they’ve signed veteran catcher Nick Hundley to a minor league contract and invited him to Major League Spring Training, where he’ll compete for a roster spot. Hundley is a client of Athletes First.
While much of Oakland’s focus this winter has been on the pitching staff, catching help is still a clear area of need for the A’s. Top prospect Sean Murphy may not be far from MLB readiness after a strong showing in Double-A in 2018, but the only two catchers on the 40-man roster at the moment are Josh Phegley and Chris Herrmann. Phegley hit just .204/.255/.344 last season, and while Herrmann was fairly productive in a small sample of work, he’s a career .205/.282/.351 hitter in the Majors.
Suffice it to say, Hundley has a very legitimate chance to crack the Opening Day roster with the A’s — perhaps with expectations for a decent workload if there’s no other catching addition made. The 35-year-old hit .241/.298/.408 with 10 homers in 305 plate appearances across the bay for the Giants in 2018 and posted a combined .243/.285/.413 slash with San Francisco in the two seasons he spent there. Clearly, Hundley comes with some on-base deficiencies, but he has a bit of pop in his bat and will bring plenty of experience to an Oakland staff consisting of numerous young arms.
Defensively speaking, Hundley is more of a mixed bag. His framing work last year graded out near the bottom of the league, but he was roughly average a year prior. Similarly, Hundley’s caught-stealing rate dipped to a below-average 21 percent in 2018, but he was a bit above the league mean at 29 percent in 2017. He’s generally drawn average or better marks in terms of blocking pitches in the dirt.