Houston Astros Rumors: Twins interested in Jason Castro?
Rumors have former Houston Astros catcher is drawing interests from the Twins.
With the tenth pick of the 2008 MLB Draft, the Houston Astros select catcher, Jason Castro, out of Stanford University. When the Astros drafted the left-handed hitter, he represented a key piece to a bright future for the team at the catcher position. He made his debut in 2010 at the age of 23-years-old and became an instant favorite with fans.
I'm told #MNTwins have expressed preliminary interest in free agent catcher Jason Castro (HOU). Meeting w/ his agent expected Wednesday.
— Mike Berardino (@MikeBerardino) November 9, 2016
Castro showed signs of being one of the better catchers in the game in his 2013 All-Star season. That season he batted .276 with a career-high OPS of .835 while hitting 18 homers and 56 RBI’s. The team thought so much of him that he was the regular batting third in 2014, in a season in which they only lost 96 games.
Since then, Castro has been the regular catcher in Houston. But he hasn’t even come close to the player he was in 2013, dropping down to .651, .648, and .684 OPS the next three seasons. He was having a down 2016 before getting hot at the end when Evan Gattis started starting more. Gattis and Castro teamed up to become a formidable catching tandem.
Trouble in paradise?
When the Astros decided to get Gattis back into catching, it could have sent a bad message. This past offseason, the team and Castro went into an arbitration hearing to battle over his 2016 salary. The team won the battle, a $5 million dollar 2016 contract, but may have lost the war. There is a belief that when you take a player before an arbitration hearing, relationships could be damaged.
Castro struggled for most of the season, and the Astros did not offer him the qualifying offer for 2017. While Gattis could start 2-3 games a week, the expectation of him being the everyday catcher is not a belief the team has. While the team would like to have Castro back, I’m not sure that Castro wants to return. Time to seek out a plan b.
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I wrote about a week ago that I think the Astros already tried to offer Castro a contract. With the fact that he remains unsigned means that he wants to test the free agent market. While Castro’s offense may have digressed a little, he is known for his pitch framing and his overall defense. Teams will be interested in giving Castro a shot with a new hitting coach on a new team.
Twins beat writer Mike Berardino has reported that he has heard that the Minnesota Twins have had preliminary interest in Castro. Berardino also suggested that the Twins were meeting with Castro’s agent today. Unless the offer is too go to be true, Castro will probably check with other teams, but people do see value in Castro.
With the Astros, it is not guaranteed that he will get the lion share of the starts anymore. With the Twins, he will be a veteran leader on the team. He would most likely become the everyday catcher and bring some pop to the Twins lineup. We will wait till we hear a little more chatter surrounding Castro before we say our goodbyes.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***