Jason Castro (Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)
Jason Castro was the best player for the Houston Astros in 2013. If he stays healthy, admittedly this is a big “if”, it is not hard to envision the catcher in the middle of Houston’s lineup for the next 10-15 years as an important part of the Astros.
Just this morning I wrote about whether Castro should move to first base and also the likelihood of Jeff Luhnow signing him to a contract extension. I still think that Castro should be signed to some type of long term contract as he is deserving of one. But you cannot ignore the possibility that he is traded this winter, as Jon Heyman is reporting that there is “significant” interest in Houston’s lone 2013 All Star.
First of all, there is nothing substantial that says Castro will be moved. Catchers are at a premium this offseason, so it is understandable that teams would be inquiring about Castro’s availability. It also behooves Jeff Luhnow to at least listen.
Castro’s injury history and the fact that the Astros do have Max Stassi waiting in the wings, makes this at a minimum, a plausible option to consider. But if the Astros are to trade Castro, Luhnow needs to bring back major league ready talent that will be on the 2014 Opening Day roster.
From the Astros end, it does not appear to be something that they are actively pursuing, as referenced by Evan Drellich’s interaction with Luhnow. But it could be something worth monitoring as the winter goes on if a team gets desperate for a catcher.
I think Luhnow will at least listen to what teams have to say regarding Castro. It is very possible that what was once thought to be an unexpected move brings back a substantial return. However, at this point I do not think Castro will be traded, and I do expect to see him behind the plate to start off the 2014 season.
Something to also consider here with Castro, is whether he will still be a full time catcher in five years. If you do not feel confident that he will be, then this certainly is the time to trade him — his value potentially at its peak.