The Astros are finalizing a one-year contract extension with catcher Martín Maldonado that would keep him in Houston through 2022 with a vesting option for 2023, a source told MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand on Tuesday. The club has not confirmed the deal.
After trading for Maldonado midseason two years in a row, the Astros signed the veteran backstop to a two-year deal prior to the 2020 season. Last year, he started 46 of Houston’s 60 games behind the plate and all but one in the playoffs. He’s off to a slow start this year, going 3-for-32 with 15 strikeouts entering Tuesday, but he is one of the club leaders and solid behind the plate.
The deal, once finalized, would mean the Astros would return their veteran catching tandem of Maldonado and Jason Castro next year. Castro signed a two-year deal to return to the Astros in January. Maldonado and Castro are one of two active catching tandems with each having at least 400 career games caught (Alex Avila and Yan Gomes of the Nats are the other).
Astros third baseman Alex Bregman said he still doesn’t feel like he has his legs fully underneath him about two weeks into the season after dealing with hamstring problems last year and during spring camp. Bregman missed the first two weeks of Grapefruit League games while the Astros were cautious with his left hamstring strain, and manager Dusty Baker has held him out of the lineup twice in the first 10 games.