The Los Angeles Angels have one catcher with a guaranteed Opening Day roster spot in Max Stassi. As bad as Stassi was last season, the Angels are not going to just release him when they're guaranteeing him money through the 2024 season in favor of two inexperienced catchers.
There is, however, a chance the Angels carry three catchers on the Opening Day roster. With all of the roster cuts the Angels made yesterday, both Thaiss and O'Hoppe are among the remaining players in big league camp.
Can the Angels carry three catchers on their Opening Day roster?
With Stassi locked into a roster spot, the Angels have some options of what they can do with the other spot. They can decide to keep Matt Thaiss with the big league club and send O'Hoppe down to the minors. This would give O'Hoppe more time to develop and give Thaiss his first shot at consistent playing time as a catcher in the bigs.
Another choice they have is rostering just O'Hoppe and DFA'ing Matt Thaiss. Thaiss is out of options, so if he doesn't make the team, he'd have to clear waivers for the Angels to send him down. This feels unlikely considering Thaiss has looked good offensively this spring and he would likely be claimed if he's put on waivers.
The third option would be to simply carry both of them. Thaiss has the ability to play other positions like first and third base, so the Angels would have versatility. In games Stassi starts, they can use someone like Luis Rengifo off the bench to pinch hit for Stassi without having to worry about the backup catcher getting injured and using someone out of position behind the plate.
If the Angels were to take both Thaiss and O'Hoppe to Oakland with them, they'd have a couple of options when discussing who to send down. One option would be just Designating Brett Phillips for assignment since the Angels are reportedly planning on using Taylor Ward in center field, but that feels very unlikely.
The likely option would be sending down the last reliever, likely Andrew Wantz, to the minors to begin the year. This would mean the Halos would only have seven relievers to start out, but with the sixth starter not being needed for the first couple of weeks of the regular season, they can use that sixth starter out of the bullpen.
Carrying three catchers would give the Angels the chance give O'Hoppe and Thaiss the opportunity to continue battling for the other catcher spot. The Angels will not be able to carry three catchers all season most likely, but the days off to begin the year gives them more roster flexibility.
If Thaiss outperforms O'Hoppe, the Angels can send their young prospect down for more seasoning. If he doesn't he'd likely be dealt or DFA'd.
I think the likeliest scenario here is Thaiss begins the season on the roster with Stassi and O'Hoppe goes to the minors. I've been wrong before, and this could be another one of those times. What do you want the Angels to do?