The White Sox have continued their offseason of trading with the Atlanta Braves.
Just a day after acquiring Max Stassi from the Los Angeles Angels, the Braves shipped him out of town to the White Sox. The return is incredibly light – either cash or a player to be named later.
Stassi, 32, is a former 2009 fourth-round draft pick of the Oakland Athletics. He’s played in parts of nine major league seasons with the Astros and Angels, hitting a combined .212/.295/.361 over 1,285 career plate appearances. He did not play at all during the 2023 season after he suffered a hip injury in spring training while also dealing with an undisclosed family matter.
In 2022 with the Angels, he hit just .180/.267/.303 in 375 plate appearances, posting a 10.1 BB% and 29.9 K%. He is in the final year of a three-year, $16.6M deal he signed with the Angels before the 2022 season, in which he will make $7M this season (almost all of which is expected to be paid for by the Braves). His contract also contains a $7.5M club option for 2025.
Stassi’s biggest value doesn’t come from his offense, however, but from his defense behind the plate. He has been a strong framing catcher throughout his career, rating as high as a 97th-percentile framer in 2018 and a 92nd-percentile framer in 2021. His numbers took a step back in 2022, however, where he was in just the 57th percentile of pitch framing while being in the bottom 20th percentile in blocking and runners caught stealing. His 24 DRS from 2018-2022 rank him third among all catchers.
Stassi’s ability to handle a pitching staff is the appeal here, and the club was able to get him so cheaply because of his time missed in 2023 and the Braves’ plethora of catching options. With the catching market so weak this offseason, finding someone like Stassi is valuable for the White Sox – who would have been projected to give Korey Lee and Carlos Perez the majority of innings behind the plate in 2024. Stassi’s veteran presence can serve as a bridge to the next long-term solution behind home plate for the White Sox – hopefully, Edgar Quero in a few seasons.
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