April 21: The Astros announced today that they’ve signed Maldonado to an extension. The team didn’t disclose terms, although Feinsand reports that Maldonado is guaranteed $5MM on the one-year deal, which contains a $5MM vesting option for the 2023 season.
April 13: The Astros are finalizing a one-year contract extension with catcher Martin Maldonado, reports Mark Feinsand of MLB.com (via Twitter). The new pact would also contain a vesting option for the 2023 season. Maldonado is a client of MVP Sports Group.
The 34-year-old Maldonado is in his second different stint with the Astros since they acquired him from the Angels for left-hander Patrick Sandoval leading up to the July 2018 trade deadline. Maldonado divided some of the next year between the Royals and Cubs, only to return to the Astros in a 2019 deal that sent infielder/outfielder Tony Kemp to Chicago. The Astros were impressed enough with Maldonado’s work that they prevented him from exiting in free agency with a two-year, $7MM guarantee.
Maldonado typically hasn’t offered much as a hitter, evidenced by his lifetime .217/.291/.352 line in 2,541 plate appearances, though he did put up a career-best .215/.350/.378 last year. Maldonado’s off to a dreadful .094/.121/.094 start with 15 strikeouts against one walk in 33 PA this season, but the Astros are willing to roll the dice for another year, no doubt owing in large part to the veteran’s history of well-regarded work behind the plate. Maldonado has earned extremely high lifetime marks from Baseball Prospectus’ Fielding Runs Above Average metric, piled up 75 Defensive Runs Saved and thrown out an easily above-average 36 percent of would-be base thieves since debuting with the Brewers in 2011.
Barring any behind-the-plate changes in Houston, it’s slated to bring back its two current catchers – Jason Castro is the other – in 2022. Castro inked a two-year, $5MM contract in free agency, though he has only taken seven trips to the plate this season. Of course, considering Maldonado and Castro for a cheap duo, the Astros could still seek an upgrade(s) in the coming months if Maldonado and Castro don’t produce to the club’s liking.
He’s definitely blackmailing them. They inexplicably gave him a two year deal two off seasons ago and now this?
*Tinfoil hat engaged*
I do kinda wonder. Why is this guy getting $5 million a year while innings eaters like Rick Porcello and good relievers like Shane Green can’t even find a job? Maldanado has already managed to earn -0.4 WAR less than a month through the season. That puts him on pace to finish with -4 total wins above replacement this. His wRC+ is -25. How can you be 125% worse than the average major league hitter, earn your team .4 more losses than your Triple-A replacement would and still get $5 million a year? From what I understand this guy was never that good. Obviously his career numbers are better but they are still really bad. I am sure he is good defensively but come on… So is Jeff Mathis and Mathis signed a 1-year minor league deal and hasn’t been called up yet. That was on top of the Phillies releasing him. Why not just save $4+ million per year and sign Mathis if you want a poor hitting good defensive catcher?
The Astros were one of the teams leading the charge to incorporate framing several years ago. They love Maldonado, his framing, his sequencing, how he works with the pitchers…they aren’t looking at WAR or anything else but that. He’s the perfect fit for their system, and they don’t care if he hits .220 in the #9 spot with what he does behind the plate.
If Korey Lee develops his game he can be up in 2023. Nathan Perry won’t be up until then either. This is just a stop gap contract until they are both ready to take over.
He isn’t even the most overpaid catcher on his own team.
He’s a good receiver and actually knows how to call a game.
Blackmailing? Maldonado was Gerrit Cole’s catcher. When the Yankees signed Cole, Maldonado was a free agent and he signed with Astros. I don’t think the Yankees has much depth at the catcher position.
Lol right? I’m a fan of the guy bc we drafted “and released”, but I think any catcher that can throw down the right signs playing today can thank Mike Scioscia. You listening Jeff Mathis and Bobby Wilson?! I remember Scioscia would open the season with 3 catchers, 2 that couldn’t hit the mendoza. Mike knew the value in the most important part of the game, where the ball is placed against your opponent. Martin was in a platoon for 5 season in Milwaukee before the Angels brought him back. At the time the Angels didn’t have a catcher and it was like bringing in a Yadi of sorts. We traded Jett Bandy for him. Our closest thing to being ready in the minors. Now 34, still can’t hit and being extended. Glad to see it. Glad we got Sandoval for him. Goo Angels!
Framing gets you paid.
Frame man gets paid
All framing is, is a very valid argument to support going to an automated strike zone.
And also, it validates the fact that umpires are humanly incapable of calling a good, consistent game.
I won’t disagree with those points, but until change is made, it’s valuable.
I love me some catchers with a .215 OPS
In 32 AB’s…….
Please tell me why they had to keep this guy from hitting the market in 7 months.
Maybe because they like the player and his fit within the organization and his relationships with the pitchers? Hitting isn’t the only part of baseball. He’s a good defensive catcher that helps make his pitchers better.
Yeah I miss Luhnow too
Astros’ pitchers request.
Astros’ pitchers request.
Think about the language barrier with a lot of the young Astros pitchers. The Astros pitching core has a lot of Hispanic players.
Very small sample size to get that pissed about. Maldonado is a fantastic defensive catcher. I imagine the young Houston pitchers like throwing to him. I think it’s a good deal, but I value good defense behind the plate a lot more then most people.
Hard to believe they’re paying him $5M/yr. Of course I’d rather pay Maldonado $5/yr, than pay someone like Yasmani Grandal $18M/yr.
Hopefully his offense picks up and he stops striking out in half his at bats. I haven’t looked up any sabermetrics or algorithms yet, but Maldonado must be a defensive guru behind the plate to get an extension now.
If he doesn’t start hitting, the Astros might have to sign Jeff Mathis for some offense… and that’s bad.
He’s a very good defensive catcher and such is the state of catching in today’s game that his glove and a 75 OPS+ makes him valuable.
Maldonado must have a near-intimate relationship with the Astros’ pitching staff, because that dude cannot hit a lick.
Maybe he should try batting left handed? Same goes for overrated Austin Hedges.
Sandoval is left-handed.
Two “writers” and they both missed that.
You don’t have to be a “reader” on this free site if you’re going to get upset with every minor mistake they make.
I know, it’s kind of crazy to me if their is anything wrong with an article people love to bring it up. Not necessarily in this case though, I think the person commenting was just letting the author know so they won’t be spreading false-information. But I get your point about people pointing out everything. Even something so small like forgetting to use an apostrophe. It kind of comes off as disrespectful to the people that run this website and post information for our enjoyment. The average person doesn’t/shouldn’t care about something as trivial as forgetting to use a comma etc.
You’re naïve if you think they post for your enjoyment. They aren’t doing this out of the goodness of their hearts, they get paid.
I don’t think it’s crazy to expect professional writers to write professionally, and for professional editors (assuming this site actually has editors) to edit professionally. And the presence of the ad I am currently seeing at the bottom of the page suggests that my clicks on the site generate income for the site, so while it is free to me, my patronage does generate income.
I dont think people realize how important some teams value defense and the ability to manage and work with a complete pitching staff. Machete is a terrific catcher. He can literally do nothing as a hitter and offer value. Sorry yankees500. Not all of us have the 190 avg gary sanchez who cant play catcher but hits hrs.
@Astros2017 That just tells you how rare catchers with above average bats are and the reason why I’m willing to give Sanchez a way longer leash than other fans have. Admittedly, we’ve been spoiled by Jorge Posada, Brian McCann, and Russell Martin,
Its hard for me to say his bat is above average. His power is incredible but hes not a good hitter at all. He was close to being traded or released this offseason. Hes a tremendous talent I’ll admit. But he should be a dh. Unfortunately yall have too many of those
Career 117 OPS+ even with a horrendous 2020? There was never any chance he would get released and was backed by Cashman repeatedly. That was typical MLBTR commentors noise. If the Yankees were going to trade him, they would’ve been all-in on JTR.
Instead of DJ? Otherwise, with what money?
Lee Mazzilli for HOF
One cather like that always comes to mind. Charlie O’Brien. Just brought in to catch aces. Maddux gooden chuck finley pat henegan
When hes not hitting homeruns hes replacement level. Even when he is he is a defensive liability. Especially in big games. I get it. You like him i dont. Ill take machete everyday over him. Gerrit cole doesnt like him either
Thomas E Snyder
TRADE STUBBS NOW. They obviously don’t value him.
Held on to him too long, his value is gone…not like he had much to begin with.
Cool. He’s good defensively and it’s not like there are way better options out there that are available for them to get.
I wish the Mets had this guy instead of Nido. I’d rather pay him 3-4 million than have to deal with Nido and his overrated defense and his sub-50 career OPS+.
hitting is two dimensional, hr or k
hitters fault mostly, ban the shift, ban the dh, use electronic strike zone, make disputed calls replayable, with 1 minute time limit after connecting to league office. leave pitchers mound alone.
When you have a lineup featuring Altuve, Brantley, Bregman, Alvarez, Correa, Gurriel, and Kyle Tucker who cares if your catcher can hit or not?
About puked when saw Castro’s contract. It’s not five million for 2 years it’s 3.5 x2 = 7million plus if he catches 40 games this year it goes up to 4.5 million for next year. If he only catches 20 games it’s 4 million for 2022. SMH.
.081 = $5,000,000.00
.143 = $3,500,000.00
#DustyBaker has 44 wins and 46 losses since he started managing the #Astros in January 2020. #JamesClick holds the same upside-down record while serving as the ballclub’s general manager.
…. and yet they still have big league employment, just crazy! Maldy and Castro should not have been the focus…. the Clickster will dismantle the winning HOU era.