Former Tampa Bay Rays C Curt Casali signs minor-league deal with Angels

Casali was dropped from the Rays roster earlier this month.
Casali was the Rays primary catcher in 2016. [WILL VRGAOVIC / Tampa Bay Times]
Casali was the Rays primary catcher in 2016. [WILL VRGAOVIC / Tampa Bay Times]
Published Nov. 29, 2017

Dropped by the Rays earlier this month, C Curt Casali is heading west, signing a minor-league deal with the Angels.

Casali was the  Rays' primary catcher in 2016, but spent all of 2017 at Triple-A Durham until a September callup and was outrighted off the roster in early November, making him a free agent.

He didn't appear to have much chance to stick with the Rays in 2018 as he is out of options, meaning he can't be sent to the minors without clearing waivers, and they appear to be set behind the plate in bringing back starter Wilson Ramos and backup Jesus Sucre, so in a way the Rays did him a favor by acting early.

But if they were to trade Ramos – whose $10.5-million salary makes that at the least a possibility – or if he or Sucre were to get hurt during the winter or in spring training, the Rays at this point don't have any experienced backups on the roster, or yet to signed to minor-league deals that have been reported.

Casali, 29, would seem to be in good position to earn the backup job with the Angels behind starter Martin Maldonado. The other two catchers on the Angels 40-man roster are Juan Graterol and Carlos Perez.

As an added bonus for Casali, he spent part of his childhood in southern California and still has friends in the area.

Hitting has been the issue for Casali in the majors, as in 161 games over parts of four seasons he has a .199 average and .670 OPS, though he did hit 10 homers in 101 at-bats during the 2015 season.