The Astros announced catcher Martín Maldonado underwent surgery to repair a sports hernia yesterday. He’s expected to be ready for the start of Spring Training.
In the hours after Houston won the World Series, Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic reported the veteran backstop was likely to undergo hernia surgery. Rosenthal also reported that Maldonado fractured a bone in his throwing hand in August. He played through both injuries, and Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle tweets he’ll rehab that without going under the knife.
Maldonado was banged up late in the season, but that didn’t stop him from assuming the lion’s share of playing time behind the dish. Even after bringing in Christian Vázquez via trade, Houston turned to Maldonado as the primary catcher. He eventually topped 90 games on the season, triggering a $4.5MM vesting option in his contract for 2023.
The 36-year-old provides very little offensively, and that was the case again in 2022. Maldonado connected on a career-high 15 home runs but only mustered a .186/.248/.352 line over 379 plate appearances. He’s extraordinarily highly-regarded as a game-caller and leader of the pitching staff, though, and the Astros have proven willing to overlook Maldonado’s offensive shortcomings in recognition of his unquantifiable skills.
Houston could turn back to Maldonado as their primary catcher next year, although they’ve also been tied to possible upgrades. They’ve been linked to the top free agent backstop, Willson Contreras, in multiple reports through the offseason’s first week-plus.