The Los Angeles Angels announced that they have signed catcher Max Stassi to a three-year extension worth $17.5 million. They had previously agreed to a one-year deal to avoid arbitration, but clearly stayed at the negotiating table.
Stassi was traded to the Angels midway through the 2019 season, but struggled mightily in his first 20 games in Anaheim. However, the Angels chose to give him a chance in 2020, and he rewarded them with an .886 OPS in the pandemic-shortened season.
In 2021, Stassi played in 87 games, accruing 13 home runs and a .752 OPS. Stassi has had an above-average wRC+ in both of his full seasons with the Angels, finishing with 107 in 2021. He is also 87th percentile in framing, making him one of the better defensive catchers in MLB.
Injuries have been a defining feature of Stassi’s career up to this point. He is yet to play 90 games in a single season, reaching 88 in 2018 and 87 in 2021. The Angels are hopeful that he can play a full season as the team’s starting catcher, and are showing their faith with this extension.
Stassi will make the same $3 million that he previously agreed to in 2022, but the extension becomes more lucrative in the following years. In 2023 and 2024, Stassi will earn $7 million guaranteed, taking him through his age-33 season.
The deal also includes a $7.5 million club option for 2025, or Stassi’s age-34 season. If the Angels decline that option, they will owe him $500K in a buyout, meaning this contract will either be three years, $17.5 million or four years, $24.5 million.
Similar to the David Fletcher extension before the 2021 season, this appears to be a win-win for both sides. For Stassi, he finally lands long-term security after an injury-riddled start to his MLB career.
The Angels land themselves a long-term starting catcher, something they have not had for several years. This will be the first time their Opening Day catcher is the same in back-to-back seasons since Martin Maldonado in 2017 and 2018. If Stassi plays out his contract, he’ll be the first catcher to start more than two seasons in a row for the Angels since Chris Iannetta.
Angels focused on pitchers after attempting to acquire RHHs
It was reported on Wednesday that the Angels had spent some time attempting to acquire RHHs J.D. Davis, Luke Voit, and Trey Mancini. However, after agreeing to terms with Ryan Tepera, the Angels have decided to stop spending, with one exception. The Halos will only increase spending if it means adding a starting pitcher.