Astros News: Team signs catcher Juan Centeno to minors deal

Astros sign a catcher with MLB experience as a minor league option if needed.

Breaking news, the Houston Astros have signed a catcher to challenge for the starting job. He will come to spring training with the Astros in 2017. This player will then challenge Tyler Heineman, Max Stassi, or Garrett Stubbs for the starting gig at Fresno.

According to Jake Kaplan, this player is Juan Centeno, a 27-year-old catcher with 79 MLB games of experience. He played 53 games last year with Jason Castro‘s new club, the Twins. He signed a minor league deal, which is most likely be where Centeno is heading.

I guess Brian McCann and Evan Gattis need to play extra better in 2017 to prevent losing their jobs. That was supposed to be sarcastic. I am not crazy. Centeno is a player with MLB experience, similar to Danny Worth last season, who is brought as a depth option. The Astros are set at catcher for at least the next two seasons, but you can’t ever have enough catchers.

Gattis started catching again last season and played better than many people expected. While he hit better as a catcher, the front office felt that they needed to bring McCann into the fold. With Carlos Beltran set to get a lot of playing time at DH, A.J. Hinch might have to get creative with Gattis.

I guess we can ask A.J. Hinch when he joins Talking Stros live on Wednesday night what the plan is with Gattis.

Last year, with the Twins, Centeno had a slash line of .261/ .312/ .392/ .704. He had three homers and 27 RBI’s in those 53 games in 2016. He will go down to AAA and wait around till needed with the big club. He represents something that Stassi or Heineman can’t at this time, an option who has MLB experience.

No one expected much last year with Worth, but he played well and earned his way on the MLB roster. There he proved what he was, a player who is not ready for big league pitching. Centeno at least has at least proven something at the MLB level, but he has two sluggers blocking his view in Houston.

This move does not mean they are about to trade Gattis. It’s only a minor league contract after all. Darren Wolfson said that the Twins offered him a minor league contract to stay, but he chose to leave. I hope that we don’t see Centeno with the Astros until at least September.

***Stats from Baseball-Reference***

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