Hank Conger is a former first-round pick and a pretty good prospect who appeared in line to serve as the Angels’ backup catcher this season at age 25, but instead his throwing problems have the team looking for alternatives behind the plate.
Kevin Baxter of the Los Angeles Times notes that Conger is 0-for-6 throwing out runners and has committed four throwing errors this spring, which has unfortunately overshadowed his hitting .417.
Conger has thrown out 30 percent of steal attempts in 202 career games at Triple-A, but has also committed 24 errors.
Ramon Hernandez of the Rockies is a name Baxter cited as someone who could be on the Angels’ radar, but this morning they signed Nationals castoff Chris Snyder to a minor-league deal.
It was rumored to be close last night but now Bob Nightengale of USA Today is reporting that the Cubs and Royals have agreed to the Wade Davis for Jorge Soler deal. Jeff Passan of Yahoo first reported that the deal was close last night. It’s not a completely done deal as the official announcement is pending physicals, but an announcement could come this morning.
Davis has been one of the most dominant relievers in baseball over the past three seasons, posting a 1.18 ERA with 47 saves and a 234/59 K/BB ratio in 182.2 innings. He did, however, miss a lot of time in 2016 — basically the month of August — due to arm trouble and expecting him to be the circa 2014 Wade Davis is probably unrealistic. He’s owed $10 million for 2017 and can become a free agent after the 2017 season. He’ll fill the void left by the departing Aroldis Chapman as Joe Maddon and the World Series champs’ closer.
Soler, who will be 25 when the 2017 season begins, hit .238/.333/.436 with 12 homers and 36 RBI in 86 games last season. He strikes out a lot but takes walks t00 and has shown some good power in short bursts. He’s the sort of player who one could easilsy see putting things together to become a solid regular, which makes him a decent return for giving up a closer in his walk year.
USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports that a team — identity unknown — has offered $92 million to closer Aroldis Chapman.
We’re definitely in Crazy Town when it comes to relievers. Earlier this week the Giants made Mark Melancon the highest-paid reliever in history with a “mere” $62 million deal. Yesterday the Cubs traded for Wade Davis. Kenley Jansen is out on the market looking to get a deal larger than that. Chapman — who posted 1.55 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, and 90/18 K/BB ratio in 58 innings while helping the Cubs win the World Series — will,in all likelihood, top them all.
Teams reportedly in pursuit of Chapman: the Yankees, for whom he played last season before being traded to Chicago, the Nationals, Marlins and Dodgers.