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A Good Catcher Became Available Yesterday for the Astros

Yesterday was a difficult day for ultra engaged sports fans. This morning has been more of the same.

- A legendary college coach is dead- Mike Leach

- A legendary college basketball coach was in jail for domestic abuse- Chris Beard

- A legendary MLB team cannot seem to find a way to address it's weakest position despite their owner's (and acting GM) demands to be aggressive

It is fair for you to think one of these three is unlike the other two and that is completely true. To one like me- one who spends most of his free time thinking about and writing about the Houston Astros. it had a similar effect even though I know it should not have.

Late into the night a group of overly engaged fans met with me and we had an idea. Atlanta had traded for an AL All-Star catcher when they already HAD a NL All-Start catcher. This was not a problem but an OPPORTUNITY.

Yes folks this is YET ANOTHER Astros can get this catcher article. I know you want me to talk about other things but until this position is resolved, I don't know what direction the team should take at those other positions. I THINK the Astros front office (whoever that really is right now) is taking a similar approach by their actions.

I would tell the Maldonado cult members that celebrated last night that yet more attempts to take playing time away from their demigod and hero were thwarted that your celebrations are premature. If you think that this team is going to start the season with Maldonado and Lee at catcher, you are NOT paying attention.

OK Larry what is the latest theory that won't happen? Well, here is the thing there are probably 4 or 5 more things I would still possibly do to improve at catcher. I am working down the chain based on the possible positive impact. The d'Arnaud option only really became one yesterday and it is a real interesting one.

Some facts about d'Arnaud

  • Age 34 season next year- not great

  • $8M AAV in 2023 and CLUB Option at $8M for 2024

  • Batting

    • Career 0.252/0,312/0,428/0.740/ 102 wRC+/ 16.5 WAR

      • OPS/ wRC+ 9th of 26 catchers with 800+ career PA- Maldy 24th)

      • WAR 4th of 26 catchers with 800+ career PA- Maldy 7th)

    • 2022 0.268/0.319/0.472/0.791 120 wRC+

      • wRC+ 9th of 29 catchers with 300+ PA- Maldy 24th)

    • 2021 0.220/0.284/0.388/ 0.671 78 WRC+

      • the year his team won the WS and he hit 2 HR in the WS against HOUSTON

      • worst year in the last 4 seasons

      • better than Maldy in ANY full season of Maldy

    • Projected 2023 0.251/0.307/0.422/0.729/ 102 wRC+

      • How incredible would it be to have a catcher that hits 0.729 OPS again?

  • Started 99 games at C last year- 876.1 Innings

    • +6 DRS (12th of 51 Catchers with 400+ Inning at catcher- Maldy 26th)

    • 8.9 FRM (4th of 51 Catchers with 400+ Inning at catcher- Maldy 34th)

    • 17.4 Def (5th of 51 Catchers with 400+ Inning at catcher- Maldy 21st)

  • Travis d'Arnaud is a GREAT MLB Catcher

Maybe a couple of reminders about who d'Arnaud is will help this fan base get aligned. How would Travis do regularly do at Minute Maid Park? Well there would be some of these.

And some of these

So how would we get d'Arnaud?

I was asked WHY would the Braves trade d'Arnaud. Well according to

"If the Braves get an offer to their liking regarding Travis d’Arnaud, he could be flipped elsewhere while the team pivots to sign a less-expensive backup to Murphy."

The truth is it is NOT the best use of the Braves resources to have so much tied up into catcher. They could use a few things as I showed below.

This just in- the Braves are STACKED. They project to have a better WAR right now than the Astros. They have a mediocre farm system. What if the Astros gave them this?

  • Korey Lee- a system top 10 catching prospect (something they don't have)- probable backup catcher for the Braves behind Murphy

  • Jake Meyers- 4th OF for them allowing a OF/DH platoon with Rosario/ Ozuna

  • Joe Perez- top 20 prospects and IF depth for the Braves

The website indicates it's a fair trade. Let's do it Atlanta!

How the Astros could manage Catcher in 2023 with d'Arnaud trade

With this trade the Astros would be committing to Yainer Diaz as their primary next catcher. That's OK as many prospect scouts believe Diaz is already ahead of Lee today. Berryhill, Salazar, Correa, and others are also developing. In 2023 the PA would possibly look something like this.

Is this d'Arnaud trade worth the 70 games at catcher and probably 75% or more of the postseason catching games?

I think so.

Tell me your thoughts.

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