Signing a 35 year old catcher who has received over 350 at bats in a season only twice in his eleven year major league career may not seem like exciting news. However, Yorvit Torrealba may be a player that the Angels see end up giving more playing time to than would be expected at this point.
Torrealba signed a minor league contract with the Angels this past Friday, getting an invitation to the Major League portion of Spring Training. Chances are, with Chris Iannetta and Hank Conger expected to serve as a platoon this season, Torrealba is likely to start the season in Salt Lake. There, he could serve as a veteran mentor to the Angels prospects and perhaps work as a ‘coach on the field’ for the pitching staff.
Yet, it is also likely that Yorvit Torrealba receives a decent amount of playing time in Los Angeles as well. Iannetta has appeared in over 100 games only twice in the past six seasons, and has missed time due to wrist and forearm injuries. Conger is hardly a given either, getting over 200 major league plate appearances only once during his career. While he has hit for power, his .225/.295/.368 batting line is hardly indicative of someone that can shoulder the starting job should Iannetta get injured.
Torrealba is, at this stage of his career, a decent backup catcher. He is someone that can start a couple of times a week while providing relatively decent defense. His hitting ability has certainly decreased as the years have caught up to him, but Torrealba is not entirely a disaster at the plate. He may not hit for much power, but his batting line over the past few years is not that far removed from his career .256/.315/.375 mark.
Yorvit Torrealba may not be the most exciting free agent that the Angels could have brought in, but he could potentially end up as a solid asset during the course of the season. There is nothing wrong with having a reliable veteran presence waiting in the wings just in case something happens. Torrealba would certainly be that type of a player.