In a strategic move to address their catching needs, the Texas Rangers have struck a deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday. The trade involves veteran catcher Austin Hedges heading to Rangers in exchange for international bonus pool money. The deal comes after the Rangers’ All-Star catcher Jonah Heim landed on the injured list due to a left wrist tendon strain.
Hedges, known for his exceptional defense, has been a standout performer this season. He accumulated eight defensive runs saved and ranking in the 96th percentile for pitch framing. His ability to handle the pitching staff and game-calling skills have earned praise from the Pirates’ pitchers and coaching staff alike.
However, the 30-year-old veteran’s offensive contributions leave much to be desired. Hedges is currently hitting .180/.237/.230 with just one home run this season. Among catchers with over 150 plate appearances, his 28 wRC+ places him at the bottom of the rankings.
Despite serving as Pittsburgh’s primary catcher for most of the season, Hedges slid into a backup role when the team called up catching prospect Endy Rodríguez. Since Rodríguez’s Major League debut on July 17, Hedges has seen limited playing time, featuring in only four games.
Meanwhile, the Rangers face a challenging situation with Heim’s injury. He last played on July 26 and now requires a few weeks of rest before a mid-August re-evaluation. With surgery remaining a potential option.
With this trade, the Rangers aim to bolster their catching options and fill the void left by Heim’s absence. Austin Hedges’ exceptional defensive prowess is expected to provide stability behind the plate, and the Rangers hope he can make a significant impact in that aspect of the game.
However, his offensive struggles pose a challenge for the team. To be successful, the Rangers will need to find a way to support Hedges with their offensive lineup. Ultimately, making up for the lack of production in his bat.
As the MLB season progresses, fans and experts alike will closely monitor how this trade unfolds. Also, how Hedges’ presence will affect the dynamics of the Rangers’ catching situation. With his defensive excellence, he has the potential to make a positive difference for the team. But addressing his offensive struggles will be crucial to maximize his contributions on the field.