Toronto has targeted either Chris Iannetta or Hank Conger, according to those familiar with the Jays’ plans.
Those, of course, would be the Angels’ two catchers, and… well… of course they have.
The reason Jays fans have been so enamoured with Howie Kendrick, of course, is that the Angels sure look like they could use relief help or the kinds of back-end starters that the Jays are flush with. The same considerations apply here, though they’d do so a little differently depending on which of Anaheim’s catchers they may be looking at.
Conger, a switch hitter, is cheaper, younger, and under team control for longer– he made about the league minimum this year, turns just 26 in January, and won’t hit free agency until after the 2017 season. He’s also not had a tonne of success at the plate in his short big league career, though 2013 was the best the Angels had seen of him, posting a .249/.310/.403 line over 92 games. Not great, but– even with that low an on-base and a strikeout rate over 20%– an obvious improvement over what the Jays have, plus, his defensive prowess has reportedly grown over his years in the big leagues.
The right-handed Iannetta, on the other hand, will be 31 in April, and is owed $10.5-million over the next two years. He is, however, kinda really good. This year his walk rate, over 399 at-bats, was over 17%, which drove his .225/.358/.372 line. That was good for a park- and league-adjusted wRC+ of 111, which ranked him seventh among AL catchers with at least 250 plate appearances– Conger (99) was tenth, while J.P. Arencibia (57) was last, or 18th. He’s also well liked defensively, though neither of the two appear to be elite.
Still, though, the Jays obviously don’t need to pull a Yan Gomes out of their ass [note: fucking ugh] in order to upgrade majorly at the position. Uh… yeah, then. Figure it out.
So there’s that.