Probably the most sought after free agent catcher right now is Jason Castro, coming off another small decline in his offensive production, which isn’t stopping the Minnesota Twins, Tampa Bay Rays and Atlanta Braves to go after him, while the Los Angeles Angels are looking at him from a distance.
Why a distance? Because the Angels are putting other signings as a priority. Second base, left handed hitting, rotation and the bullpen seem to be more important for the Angels, which just shows how big of a mess they’re in at the moment, stuck without trade-able assets (but one they don’t want to move) and having too many bad contracts slowing them down.
Reports suggest that the Twins, Rays and Braves have all made three-year offers to the 29-year old, without much difference in the money being offered. If that’s true, the team willing to give Castro a fourth season on his deal could be the one to break the deadlock and sign him. Castro getting $20 million over three years sounds about right, maybe even a bit more. For teams like the Rays and Twins who love to keep their payroll as low as possible, that’s quite a commitment, especially if he’s asking for a fourth year.
Castro was an All-Star in 2013, hitting 18 home runs while batting .276. Since then his offensive production has declined, averaging 12 home runs in the last three seasons while batting just .215 to go along with a .660 OPS. However, he does a very good job against right handed pitchers relative to other catchers (batting .247), and his glove work at the plate is one of the finest in the majors among starting catches, which helps teams forget about his slipping offense.
There could be other teams hoping to sign him, but I’m not sure there are that many trying to land him on a three or four-year deal. Even 3 sounds like a bit of a stretch, especially if it comes without a team option after two seasons. Castro made $5 million last season with the Astros.