Surprise! The Angels Need A Catcher

By MJ Lloyd

It seems new GM Jerry Dipoto doesn’t share the same schoolgirl crush on Jeff Mathis that Mike Scioscia does. Mathis hit an inconceivable .174/.225/.259 (AVG/OBP/SLG) slash line in 2011 and still had the nerve to deposit every paycheck. He’s a non-tender candidate for 2012 if Scioscia can recover whatever devious photos Mathis has of the Angels skipper. That might have already happened according to Buster Olney

How about that one guy? He crushed it for the Rangers all year and in the playoffs? It’s on the tip of my tongue. Oh well, I’m sure you’d have to trade a mega-star like Vernon Wells to get somebody like that guy.

Ken Rosenthal thinks the Reds might be a trade match for the Angels…

Ramon Hernandez is the top free agent catcher and it gets ugly in a hurry after him. The Angels would have to turn to the trade market for a catcher and the Reds have a surplus. In 304 plate appearances, Ryan Hanigan hit .267/.356/.357 in 2011. He’s expendable since two of the Reds top prospects, Devin Mesoraco and Yasmani Grandel, are both catchers. Mesoraco hit .289/.371/.484 in Triple-A last year and got a cup of coffee in Cincinnati. He’s good to go.

While Hanigan isn’t cartwheels-in-the-hall exciting, he might be the best available, low cost solution to the Angels catcher woes. Mathis needs to go despite his enormous value as punching bag fodder on Twitter. I still have some hope Hank Conger is the long term solution at catcher but Scioscia has been reluctant to hand him the keys. Conger wasn’t exactly a dynamo in the chances he got in 2011. He hit .209/.282/.356 over the 197 plate appearances he received. But Conger hit .300/.385/.463 at Triple-A in 2010 and .300/.375/.490 there in 2011, so I’d like to see what he can do with the full season before we all just call “Brandon Wood” on him.