Once Logan O'Hoppe went down with his shoulder injury last season, it looked like the Los Angeles Angels were once again doomed at the catcher position. Max Stassi was out, and Chad Wallach hadn't proven anything. The duo of Thaiss and Wallach carried the Angels for a couple of months before both slowed down a ton offensively.
Thaiss wound up slashing .214/.319/.340 with nine home runs and 31 RBI in 95 games and 307 plate appearances in 2023. He had some good moments, but his late-season struggles overshadowed those. Because of those late-season struggles and the return of Stassi after missing all of 2023, Thaiss finds himself in a weird spot.
Matt Thaiss could become an LA Angels offseason trade candidate with the return of Max Stassi
When last seen in 2022, Stassi was horrendous at the plate, posting a .571 OPS in 102 games. While the bat leaves a lot to be desired, there's no denying that the pitchers enjoy throwing to him. Having Stassi back could get some better results from arms that took a step back in 2023, which would be encouraging to see.
Stassi's return also could mean Thaiss is on the move. With O'Hoppe garnering most of the playing time, the question is who will be his backup. Thaiss is the better offensive player with more team control and more potential, but Stassi is the one under contract. He's set to make $7 million in 2024, and that number is guaranteed. He even has a $7.5 million club option for the 2025 season.
Trading Stassi, a poor hitter who just missed the entire 2023 season, would be virtually impossible unless the Angels sent something appealing with him, or took back a bad contract. Trading Matt Thaiss, a decent hitter for a catcher that hasn't hit arbitration yet and has four years of team control would be far easier.
There's always the option of the team carrying three catchers, especially with Thaiss being able to play both corner infield positions, but that doesn't feel like the best allocation of their resources. Thaiss is out of options, meaning the team can't just send him down unless he clears waivers (he wouldn't).
The Angels wouldn't get much, but a trade of Matt Thaiss could be high up on the priority list. Many teams are looking for an upgrade when it comes to a backup catcher, and Thaiss would be that in several places while also having tons of team control.