LA Angels: Non-Tendering Kevan Smith Was a Big Mistake

Kevan Smith, Los Angeles Angels, (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Kevan Smith, Los Angeles Angels, (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
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In a seemingly small move on Monday, the LA Angels non-tendered catcher Kevan Smith, making him a free agent going into Winter Meetings. Though it seems minuscule, this type of move could set the Halos back big time.

Even before declining to tender Keven Smith’s contract, the LA Angels had a decent sized hole at the catcher position. Smith, along with Max Stassi and Anthony Bemboom, were the only catchers on the Halos’ 40-man roster. The Angels just went from maybe needing to sign a catcher, to 100% needing to sign a catcher by releasing Smith.

I’m not going to sit here and try to tell you that Kevan Smith was set to have a breakout year and become an All Star. However, he was inarguably the best catcher on the Angels’ roster. Not to mention, Max Stassi has been injured for months and might not even be ready for Opening Day. Oh yeah, and he’s one of the worst hitters in the entire MLB.

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I will give Anthony Bemboom as many words as he has career plate appearances (56). He is a career journey man at catcher, and is best served as a team’s Triple-A starter and a break-in-case-of-emergency option. He’s the only healthy catcher on the Angels’ 40-man, and that is absolutely awful news for any and all Angels fans.

This non-tender isn’t disastrous, but it’s just unnecessary. Arte Moreno got up on stage at Joe Maddon‘s introductory press conference and bragged on and on about how he was going to open up his wallet this winter to build a winner. He really couldn’t have afforded $1.3 million Smith was projected to make in 2020? Even for a backup catcher that’s a fine number, and certainly doesn’t restrict the Angels in free agency.

And, if the money was really an issue, that’s ridiculous. The Angels now have to go into free agency or make a trade for a catcher who will – get this – cost more than $1.3 million. The catching market is already heating up, and that positional group is getting paid nicely so far this offseason. I just don’t understand the Angels’ rationale behind getting rid of Kevan Smith when he could have been an extremely valuable offensive piece in 2020.

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Again, this move doesn’t mean the Angels’ season is over. That much is obvious. However, the best teams in the MLB don’t make bad decisions, even on the small moves. If this move costs the Angels 1-3 wins in 2020, that could be the difference between making the playoffs or not.

Also, if the Angels are concerned about $1.3 million to the guy who was probably going to be their Opening Day starter, I have concerns about just how loose Arte Moreno is really going to be with his cash this offseason.