American League

Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
Return to Top

Signed C-R Geovany Soto to a one-year deal worth $2.8 million. [11/24]

Fresh off a decent offensive season with the White Sox, Soto finds himself joining the Angels as Chris Iannetta's successor. These days, Soto marries a patient, disciplined approach and some pop with significant swing-and-miss and strikeout issues. He's not an outstanding defender or anything, but the overall package makes him a tolerable choice to see significant time behind the plate. You'd probably classify that as the Angels' Plan B, however, with Plan A comprising Carlos Perez getting most of the burn. Soto seems okay with a timeshare—even a lopsided one, based on his last few stops—so he should be fine with whatever arrangement the Angels have in mind.

Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
Return to Top

Acquired RHP Tommy Kahnle from the Rockies in exchange for RHP Yency Almonte. [11/24]

A former Rule 5 pick who spent most of the last two seasons in the majors, Kahnle used his opportunities to showcase his impressive arm strength (his fastball averaged 96 mph in '15) and little else. Short and thick, he struggles to repeat his high-effort delivery, leading to poor command and control. Further complicating matters is how little movement his fastball features, and how his changeup—a pitch he used last season 40 percent of the time—is too inconsistent (and often too firm) to be a panacea to his fastball woes. Still, Kahnle is cheap and can be optioned to the minors, so you can understand why the White Sox are taking a look. He likely won't develop into anything memorable, but, if he somehow does, it'll probably come under the guidance of someone like Don Cooper.

Team Audit | Player Cards | Depth Chart
Return to Top

Signed C-R Chris Iannetta to a one-year deal worth $4.25 million and includes a club option; designated C-R John Hicks for assignment. [11/24]

Jerry Dipoto's quest to relocate the Angels to Seattle continues.

In fairness to Dipoto, Iannetta was a sensible target for the Mariners regardless of preexisting relationships. For as bad as he was at the plate last season (and his .230 True Average indeed marked a new career low), he nonetheless outhit by more than 30 points both of the M's backstops who received triple-digit plate appearances. It's a bad sign when the sixth-worst hitter at a position represents a substantial upgrade over the incumbents regardless of whether he bounces back.

If there is good news for the Mariners, it's that Iannetta's underlying indicators suggest he should hit better heading forward. He maintained his power production, command of the strike zone, and thumping of left-handed pitchers in 2015—or, in other words, everything but his batting average. Factor in Iannetta's defensive upticks—he's improved his receiving and has learned how to combat potential basestealers by using backpicks—and there's reason to think he'll pass as a primary catcher.

The question then is what the Mariners do with Mike Zunino. You wouldn't think his approach issues could be solved by sitting on the bench (assuming that they can be fixed at all), but sending him to the minors means enlisting Jesus Sucre (slash some other non-desirable veteran) as the backup. Or maybe Dipoto will include Zunino in a trade for some other ex-Angel. Who knows; it's only November.

Thank you for reading

This is a free article. If you enjoyed it, consider subscribing to Baseball Prospectus. Subscriptions support ongoing public baseball research and analysis in an increasingly proprietary environment.

Subscribe now
You need to be logged in to comment. Login or Subscribe
I think Zunino needs AAA time to fix his issues, considering he was rushed through the minors in the first place. He still has an option, right?
Agree that Zunino could use some AAA time and coaching, but wonder if will come along with the often discussed "change of scenery" seems more difficult for players who have failed to meet "expectations",however unrealistic, to thrive in their original organizations. I don't doubt there are some other team's lurking out there who might try and steal and fix him, and new GMs usually get a pass when they dump guys who then do better elsewhere.