The Colorado Rockies and free-agent catcher Nick Hundley have agreed on a two-year, $6 million contract, according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. The deal is pending a physical.
Hundley, 31, hit .243/.273/.358 in 233 plate appearances for the San Diego Padres and Baltimore Orioles last season. The seven-year MLB veteran owns a career .238/.294/.386 line, good for a 91 OPS+. Hundley enjoyed a career year for the Padres in 2011, hitting .288/.347/.477 with 30 extra-base hits, accumulating a 132 OPS+ and 2.8 WAR in just 308 plate appearances. He's had only one above-average year at the plate outside of that.
Despite his offensive shortcomings, Hundley remains a valuable major league piece because of his defense. Until last season, the University of Arizona alum threw out would-be base stealers at a rate better than the league average. And, in 2014, Hundley was firmly above average at pitch framing, albeit in a smaller sample size than every catcher above him on the list.
The most meaningful part of the Hundley signing could be that the Rockies have a deal in place involving incumbent starting catcher Wilin Rosario. The team was said to be in heavy talks with the Rangers regarding the 25-year-old backstop at the Winter Meetings, but talks were seemingly shelved, though the consensus was only temporarily. Rosario regressed at the plate in 2014, following consecutive 20-plus homer, above-average OPS+ seasons by hitting .267/.305/.435.
Worse, the Bull failed to improve much behind the dish, leaving Michael McKenry to see a lot more playing than the club likely envisioned entering the season. McKenry hit well in limited action, managing a .315/.398/.512 line, so that makes it hard to believe the Rockies would remove him from the roster in favor of Hundley.
Hold on to your hats, folks. It looks like more news could be on the way soon.