Chris Snyder began Monday as a member of the Washington Nationals. By noon, he was in the mix to be the Angels’ backup catcher.
Snyder agreed to terms on a minor-league contract with the Angels, who are concerned about Hank Conger‘s throwing woes in spring training. Officially, Conger has made four errors throwing the baseball. That doesn’t include several throws down to second base that have been off the mark between innings. Conger has said that he is struggling to find the proper release point on his throws.
Enter Snyder, who comes with a reputation of good defense and a light bat. The Houston native has a career batting average of .225 with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Pittsburgh Pirates and Houston Astros, the last three seasons as a backup. In his best year, 2008, Snyder hit 16 home runs and drove in 64.
With the Angels, he’ll be behind Chris Iannetta, Conger and John Hester, who are all on the major league roster. But the Angels have room to add a player and Snyder may simply need to show that he can hit in order to earn the backup job. According to multiple reports, Snyder can opt out of his minor-league deal if he isn’t added to the 40-man roster by Opening Day.
Snyder appeared to be entering a similar situation in Washington after the Astros didn’t pick up his option for 2013. He was invited to the Nationals’ major-league camp on a minor-league contract, with a March 26 deadline to be added to the roster. “I knew coming in I wasn’t competing for a spot,” Snyder told the Washington Post. “I was here and able to work out and showcase and provide them with insurance if their guys weren’t ready. Their guys are ready. They look good. The team looks great.”
Listed at 6-foot-4 and 240 pounds, Snyder would become the Angels’ heaviest player in camp.