Angels in search of a backup catcher …

The Angels, feeling a little uneasy about Hank Conger‘s throwing woes, are in search of a veteran backup catcher as Spring Training winds down, an industry source confirmed to MLB.com on Saturday. Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com first reported the Angels’ interest.

Conger, 25, came into camp as the clear-cut favorite to back up catcher Chris Iannetta and has hit well, batting .381 with two homers and 11 RBIs. The Angels like the switch-hitting Conger — who has always hit and has come a long way with his footwork and receiving skills behind the plate — but they need him to correct his throwing issues, which led to three errant throws on Sunday to up his spring total to at least five.

With rosters being pared down this time of year, the Angels will look to the waiver wire to add a steady, inexpensive, veteran presence behind the plate. They have an open spot on the 40-man roster after slipping Bobby Cassevah, now with the Rockies, through waivers. They’ll have some competition, though, with the Phillies, Pirates and Rays also looking for catching help, according to MLB.com’s Peter Gammons.

The Angels still believe in Conger. So in the event of an acquisition, they’re likely to option him to Triple-A to start the season so he can find the consistent release point that has eluded him. Conger has one option year left. John Hester (on the 40-man) and Luke Carlin (a non-roster invitee) are the other two catchers technically vying for the backup job, but both have had very inconsistent time in the Majors throughout their careers.

Alden

16 Comments

conger will be a backup catcher for crying out loud! scoscia is again demanding a yardir molina from a backup position.

Totally Agree. In Scoscia’s 12 years +/- how many stud catchers has this guy produced? IMO, he is suppose to be this know-all catching guru, but it seems like our home grown catchers do better when they get out from under his apparent smothering watch. Just because you played the position doesn’t mean you can coach it. He was a solid catcher in my opinion, how did he elevate to perceived status? Don’t you at least need to produce something first? And he’s had around 10 years to bring somebody up. Let Conger play, that is what will fix whatever ails him.

I think that the Angels would be happy with a Jose Molina effort from Conger. Offensively, Conger always looks good in the spring. His career .201 batting average, yes, in limited action and the fact he is so erratic behind the plate make him a greater liability. Scioscia ALWAYS over coaches and breaks apart the catchers so that they do not succeed in the majors. Conger is not the case. He is below average at best and needs to be cut loose now. Let Hester backup Iannetta until something better comes along. worry more about pitching!

Ramon Hernandez, I think the Angels could acquire him for AJ Schugel or Matt Shoemaker and another random minor leaguer.

why couldn’t they work on conger’s throwing in the minor league? why would scoscia realize now that conger has problems throwing out the runners?

I thought John Hester did a great job filling in last year when both Ianetta and Bobby Wilson were out. The team did well when he caught. If it’s just to start twice a week for 5 or 6 weeks, why not use him, since he is already on the 40 man roster and knows the pitchers.

Anonymous, MS’s job is not player development. Most likely the organization has been working on a lot of things with Conger, but the player is just not succeeding defensively. His offense is most likely the reason they have been as patient as they have.

pick up Romine from the Yankees.

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Have some of you Conger fans actually watched him attempt to throw a baseball? It’s worse than the guy in Major League 2, and I don’t think memorizing Playboy is going to help him. Right now, this guy is an unusable pinch-hitter at best (would leave team with no backup catcher if you used him). And Hester did not impress today; Grichuk had that runner nailed at the plate by 15 feet and Hester misses an easy one-hop. The second play was tougher; it was a short-hop, but I’ve seen catchers make that play. Nobody’s asking Conger to be Molina, but you’ve got to be able to throw the ball within 20 feet of 2B or teams run wild.

To have a back up catcher with his bat I say give the man a shot. How do you built confidence in players when there is talk of canning him. I’d hate to see a good player let go that was never given a chance

To all those posting that the Angels should “give him a shot,” his shot is Spring Training. Conger has been “working on his defense” for years now, yet he’s still made five bad throws to second base so far this Spring. Five. That’s pretty awful for someone who’s been playing the position as long as he has. A major league catcher must–MUST–be able to deliver the ball accurately to second base. It’s one of the bare minimum requirements of the job.

I want Conger and his bat on the roster as much as anyone, but if you put him behind the plate now and every team in baseball will challenge him. He’s a green light at first.

One year Scioscia says he can’t hit; now he can’t throw. Let’s just trade Conger to the Red Sox or Rangers and have him and Napoli continue to beat us. Trade back for .202 hitter Jeff Scioscia Mathis or just let Mike throw on some gear and be a player-manager; see if that shuts him up. I am so tired of his expectations on catchers and underpaying Trout and Trumbo while Vernon Wells and aging Pujois are make bo que bucks. C’mon Angels buy out Mike’s contract and get a manager everyone will listen to.

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