Looking back, Castro was actually a productive catcher for the Astros when put into the proper context. Sure, hitting was not Castro’s calling card. He only hit .202/.309/.390 for his Astros career.
While his hitting metrics weren’t that particularly noteworthy, Castro’s overall impact on the team was more noticeable than a simple slash line. For example, his pitch framing ability has always been held in high opinion. Statcorner has rated Castro as one of the top catchers in terms of RAA. And his game calling was better than average.
But when did it go wrong between the Astros and Castro?
There are multiple theories out there. For example, did the Evan Gattis transition back to catcher irk Castro in some way? Essentially the catcher position was a platoon for two-thirds of the 2016 season.
How about the money and long term commitment from Houston? Was there any meaningful talks between the two sides? Did anything negative come out happen during the arbitration process? Or did the front office value him less than we were led to perceive?
All are valid questions at this point. However, we are likely to never know what exactly caused this relationship unless either side opens up.
In spite of this news though, we should thank Castro for his contributions as an Astro. After all, he did provide stability at an important position during a controversial rebuild. He was an All-Star in 2013. His experience and leadership helped put the franchise back into playoff contention during the past two seasons.
But all good things must come to an end, sooner or later. It is quite possible that it was just time for the two sides to move on. Houston clearly wanted to go another direction at catcher. And Castro surely desired a chance to be the full-time starter again.