The Los Angeles Angels came into the 2023 season with some uncertainty regarding who was going to catch. Logan O'Hoppe had an excellent spring and won the job mainly due to his play, but also due to Max Stassi beginning the season on the Injured List.
Much of Spring Training featured a competition between O'Hoppe and Matt Thaiss for the other catcher spot. O'Hoppe pulled away from Thaiss at the end, but Thaiss still got his shot because he is out of options. Stassi's injury allowed both O'Hoppe and Thaiss to make the roster.
While it was good to give the former first-round pick one more shot with the Angels, Matt Thaiss has shown time and time again that he's just not good enough. Yesterday brought what should be the last straw.
LA Angels should DFA Matt Thaiss
Matt Thaiss has played in four games serving as Logan O'Hoppe's backup and has not looked good at all. He's hitless in 11 at-bats, and was hitless in his final 22 at-bats in Spring Training after a hot start. Thaiss has been hit twice, but hasn't walked and has struck out six times in his 11 at-bats.
Thaiss is a career .196/.292/.357 hitter with 11 home runs and 32 RBI in 291 plate appearances. It just hasn't clicked at the MLB level offensively. The reason he's lasted on the 40-man roster this long is because of his draft status and his versatility. Thaiss has gone back into catching and has the ability to play both corner infield positions as well. Unfortunately having the ability to play positions and playing them well are two different things, and Thaiss catching is the prime example of that.
Yesterday he was responsible for not one, but two catchers interference calls which clearly cost the Angels the game. They lost by two runs, both of which can be pointed at Thaiss. There's no telling whether Ryan Tepera would've gone through that eighth inning cleanly without Thaiss interfering twice, but he never really got a fair shot to. I wish yesterday was the only example of Thaiss being incapable behind the plate, but it isn't.
Thaiss has made three starts. In those starts, the Angels have allowed 11 runs, five runs, and nine runs respectively. They've allowed 8.3 runs per game in his starts which is pretty mind-boggling. Not all of that can be attributed to Thaiss, but the Halos have allowed 3.3 runs per game in 11 Logan O'Hoppe starts. One is very different from the other, and both have the same pitchers throwing to them. O'Hoppe catches Ohtani which does help him, but Thaiss can catch everyone else and hasn't called good games.
He hasn't hit, isn't a good defender, and with Anthony Rendon healthy and Gio Urshela filling in at first base while Jared Walsh is out, there shouldn't be a spot for Thaiss.
Chad Wallach hasn't hit at the MLB level but we at least know he can catch. He's swung the bat well in AAA but won't have to do anything offensively to be a better option than Thaiss who is without a hit.
Bringing Wallach up until Stassi returns is the Angels best option at the backup catcher spot right now. He might not hit, but he can command the pitching staff and do a better job receiving than Thaiss. That's good enough for me.