MLB Rumors: Astros Martin Maldonado replacement could help Jose Abreu as well

The Houston Astros signed a replacement for Martin Maldonado, their beloved clubhouse catcher who couldn't hit for squat.

Championship Series - Texas Rangers v Houston Astros - Game Six
Championship Series - Texas Rangers v Houston Astros - Game Six / Rob Carr/GettyImages

Dusty Baker and the Astros loved Martin Maldonado as a person, and perhaps defensively for leading their pitching staff. However, he was relatively useless with a bat in his hands, which ultimately led to his demise in Houston. A new regime means new players.

The Astros are letting Maldonado walk this winter. While the veteran backstop could find a new home as a backup catcher, his days as the primary man behind home plate are in the past. Houston is expected to go with Yainer Diaz -- who is a far better hitter than Maldonado ever was -- as their primary catcher. Diaz has a ways to go to make up for Maldonado's knowledge defensively, as well as his pitch framing and selection from the Astros staff. He'll get there eventually, but there could be some bumps along the way.

“Diaz is going to be the starting catcher,” Dana Brown reiterated this offseason. “Workload-wise, he’s going to get predominantly most of the starts. He’s going to get his opportunity to show us what he can do and that’s going to be important for him.”

MLB Rumors: Houston Astros sign a new backup catcher

With Diaz, who slashed .282/.308/.538 in just over 100 games last season, as the primary catcher, the Astros have signed Victor Caratini as the likely backup assuming he passes his physical, per Chandler Rome and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

While Caratini will split time with Diaz at catcher, he could also fill in at first base, which would be a welcomed site for Astros fans and Jose Abreu. The veteran Abreu started 141 games last season, but struggled some offensively. With a lighter workload, perhaps he can find his offensive stroke once again.

Caratini slashed .259/.327/.383 with the Milwaukee Brewers last year. While those numbers won't excite fans too much, he's stable enough with a bat in his hands to start 60-ish games, which is exactly what Houston will ask of him if Diaz is stable enough behind home plate.