The Chicago White Sox added another catcher to their Major League roster on Tuesday night as the team signed veteran catcher Martin Maldonado to a one-year deal worth $4MM.
Maldonado is unquestionably a defensive-minded catcher but there have been signs of regression on that front in recent seasons. Among qualified catchers last season, Baseball Savant graded Maldonado as the worst in terms of pitch framing.
Maldonado should provide a boost for the White Sox in terms of preventing extra bases as he remains in the 70th percentile in terms of pop time and caught stealing above average.
The White Sox have placed a value on run prevention at the catching position this off-season. The additions of Maldonado and Max Stassi have highlighted the White Sox's preference for defense at the catching position moving forward.
After the signing of Maldonado, the White Sox now have four catchers on their 40-man roster. The question becomes what to make of Korey Lee. With Maldonado and Stassi now in the mix, it would seem that Lee may not be on the Major League roster to begin the season.
After being acquired by the White Sox at the Major League Baseball Trade Deadline last season, Lee slashed .077/.143/.138 with a wRC+ of -27 in 70 plate appearances.
The White Sox also acquired catching prospect Edgar Quero from the Los Angeles Angels at the Trade Deadline last season. Quero is ranked as the third-best prospect in the White Sox's system with the expectation that he may be ready in 2025. The hope for the White Sox may be for Maldonado and Stassi to serve as placeholders in 2024 before making way for Quero.