November 29, 2011

Catch this

Maybe it’s just me, but I have found the Angels’ Hot Stove season a bit interesting (albeit slow) so far. If you follow or twitter or any number of web sites, you may have heard about the Angels search for a catcher.

Adding fuel to the "catcher speculation fire" was Scott Miller of CBS Sports who wrote “With ex-Angel Mike Napoli's October exploits for the Rangers serving as a sledgehammer reminding everyone how short Los Angeles is behind the plate, the Angels are hoping to fill the void this winter. They do not view Hank Conger as being close to a finished product yet, and Bobby Wilson is a backup. The Angels are expected to non-tender Jeff Mathis.”

Miller also tweeted “Angels are casting a wide net and being very aggressive in looking for a catcher, multiple sources say.”

It’s become very clear that replacing Jeff Mathis behind the plate has become a priority and quite frankly that’s a good thing. We’ve seen names like Ryan Hanigan of the Reds and Chris Iannetta of the Rockies as possible trade candidates.

Both are options that have some potential. Iannetta is 28 years old and had a .370 OBP last season and .357 for his career. Hanigan is 31 years old and had a .357 OBP last season and .371 for his career. It's funny how each player’s career OBP matches the other’s performance from 2011.

I assume both are temporary solutions until Hank Conger is ready; although, Hanigan isn’t eligible for free agency until 2015 and Iannetta in 2013. Personally, I like Iannetta a little bit more because of his age and the idea that he wouldn’t block Conger’s path in 2013.

In any case - I find this whole shopping for a catcher thing fascinating on many levels. While most Angels fans are on C.J. Wilson watch, I’m waiting to see what happens with the catching situation. I actually start to smile and my eyes light up when I think about 2012 without Jeff Mathis. I am trying very hard not to get too excited because nothing has happened just yet; however, the possibility of it all makes me happy and maybe even a little giddy.

I also have to wonder what is going through Mike Scioscia’s mind. The domino effect of what happened with Mike Napoli almost blows my mind. It’s as if the Angels have admitted (without actually doing so publicly) that trading Napoli was a mistake and that they are now scrambling to fix that error.

One thing seems obvious to me – the free agent catchers don’t appear to be of any interest to the Angels and that’s probably a good thing. I mean look at who’s out there. Kelly Shoppach has a career .315 OBP and Ramon Hernandez is 35 and will be 36 next May… and those two are among the best available. Yikes.

I’m also very curious to see if Jeff Mathis is actually non-tendered and not resigned. As much as I want to believe this going to happen, I will only believe it when it becomes a reality.


  1. Well it looks like it's goodbye to Mathis Finally!!

  2. They’ll be truly missed from our neck of the woods!

  3. Yeah Mathis is gone!!!!!