It’s been one heck of an off-season for 27 year old Juan Graterol. Graterol first got his big league taste on September 2nd, 2016 after 11 years in the minors. He batted .286 for the Angels with just 15 plate appearances.
Graterol went to play winter ball for two different teams before being designated for assignment by the Angels on November 22nd. Then this happened:
The Reds claimed Graterol off waivers on November 28th
The Diamondbacks claimed Graterol off waivers on December 23rd
The Angels claimed Graterol off waivers on January 19th.
Now that Graterol is back on the Angels (and on the 40-man roster), it begs the question - what next?
Option 1: Graterol stays in Salt Lake (for now). However, at first glance, the current Salt Lake roster has 4 catchers and Graterol makes 5. Tony Sanchez and Mario Sanjur were just picked up in December and Francisco Arcia was signed in November. Jose Briceno, who came over in the Simmons trade last winter, just got his first AAA call up in September.
Option 2: Eppler is setting up a Carlos Perez trade, or at least making him available. Doesn’t seem super likely, but stranger things have happened. If Eppler sees Maldanado as the defensive starter, Graterol could be an adequate backup. But - having all three available is probably the more likely scenario. Remember how much time Geovany Soto missed in 2016?
Graterol will be stashed in Salt Lake along with Briceno and Sanchez and he’ll be next in line should Perez or Maldanado get hurt. Sanjur will probably find himself in Mobile and Arcia has never played above A level so he’s not going to stick there.
In short, Eppler grabbed back a major league ready 3rd catcher to help fill out depth at that position. Not a bad deal.