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Astros Acquire Martin Maldonado From Angels For Pitching Prospect

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Martin Maldonado (Photo by John Cordes/Getty)

After losing six of their last nine games to drop below .500, the Angels have officially begun to sell.

The Angels traded catcher Martin Maldonado to the division-rival Astros on Thursday, receiving minor league lefthander Patrick Sandoval and international bonus pool space in return.

Maldonado fills a need for the Astros with starting catcher Brian McCann out until September after having arthroscopic knee surgery, while Sandoval, a Mission Viejo (Calif.) HS grad, returns home to Orange County with the Angels.

This is the first trade between the AL West rivals since Nov. 2014, when the Angels traded catcher Hank Conger to the Astros in exchange for righthander Nick Tropeano and catcher Carlos Perez.

ANGELS ACQUIRE:

Patrick Sandoval, LHP
Age: 21

A 11th-round pick in 2015 out of Mission Viejo (Calif.) HS, just 20 miles south of Anaheim, Sandoval had his breakout season in 2018, headlined by a streak of 42 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run. Overall, he went 9-1, 2.56 in 19 games (13 starts) between low Class A Quad Cities and high Class A Buies Creek. Sandoval pitches like a smart, crafty lefthanded starter. He has four pitches he can throw for strikes, although only his changeup is seen as having plus potential. Sandoval does a good job of spotting his 88-94 mph fastball that he can sink down in the zone. His changeup gets above-average grades with some scouts grading it as a future plus pitch as it has solid deception and generates swings and misses. He mixes in a bigger, mid-70s curveball and a low-80s shorter, tighter slider. Both are more notable for being reliable pitches that he can locate, as neither shows much ability to miss bats.

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Astros Bring Back Martin Maldonado In Swap With Cubs

Martin Maldonado heads to Houston for a second tour, while the Cubs add much-needed speed in Tony Kemp.

ASTROS ACQUIRE:

Martin Maldonado, C
Age: 31

Not much has changed for the seven-year major league veteran, as he remains an elite defensive catcher who struggles to hit. Maldonado is the reigning Gold Glove winner at catcher in the American League and has remained stout behind the plate this year, throwing out 44 percent of attempted basestealers and posting a .994 fielding percentage, although his 10 passed balls are highest in the AL. But Maldonado continues to be a liability offensively, batting .223/.284/.332, numbers in line with the rest of his career. Maldonado will team with Max Stassi to fulfill Astros the catching duties until McCann gets back and then will be a free agent after this season.

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