Veteran catcher Nick Hundley turned 36 late in the 2019 season, but he’s not yet planning to call it a career. Hundley tells Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle that he’s spoken to a few teams this winter — presumably about minor league deals with non-roster invites to Spring Training (Twitter link).
Hundley’s 2019 season wasn’t exactly the finest of his 12-year career. The veteran backstop appeared in just 31 games with the Athletics, spent more than a month on the injured list with back spasms and was released by both the A’s and the Phillies. Notably for A’s fans, Hundley tells Slusser that Oakland isn’t one of the teams to which he’s spoken.
Last year’s poor showing notwithstanding, Hundley is only a season removed from hitting at a near-average clip with the Giants in 2018. That year saw him tally 305 plate appearances with a .241/.298/.408 slash (95 OPS+, 93 wRC+). Considering that the league-average catcher posted an 84 wRC+ in 2018, Hundley’s output was more than passable — particularly for a part-time/backup catcher. Overall, he’s a .247/.299/.405 lifetime hitter in the big leagues.
Hundley has never been considered a defensive standout, but his career 26 percent caught-stealing rate is only a hair below the league average. And while he’s rarely graded well in terms of pitch framing, Hundley typically posts quality marks in terms of blocking pitches in the dirt, per Baseball Prospectus. At 36 years of age, there’s little reason to expect a marked uptick in his defensive skills, but he’s generally been a capable bat relative to his positional peers, and as a depth pickup on a minor league deal, Hundley would make sense for several organizations that are still rather thin on options behind the plate.