HOUSTON -- Switch-hitting catcher Hank Conger, who belted 11 home runs in a backup role to Astros starter Jason Castro in 2015, is moving on to his third team in three years, having been dealt Wednesday to the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for cash considerations.
Conger, acquired a year ago in a trade with the Los Angeles Angels, in part because of his framing abilities, played 69 games at catcher last season, including 56 starts. He set single-season bests in homers, RBIs, runs scored, walks, on-base percentage and slugging percentage, but threw out only one of 43 runners attempting to steal.
He is eligible for arbitration this year.
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"We had such a great season and everything just kind of ended on such a positive note, so obviously I was as little shocked to get traded," Conger said. "Obviously, Tampa is a good opportunity for me. I think the [Astros] organization, all way from the front office to the coaching staff and players, everybody treated me with great respect and went about their business the right way.
"Obviously, the direction they're headed in is very positive. Most of all, we had fun. I've been with one team prior, but this was one of the most fun seasons I've had in professional baseball. I'm going to be sad to go, but you know how it is with baseball. Onto the next chapter."
The Astros don't have top-flight catching depth at the upper level of the Minor Leagues, so don't be surprised to see them try to acquire a backup catcher. Max Stassi, who's played in 21 games the past three seasons, could battle for more playing time.
Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.