Late Tuesday evening, it became known that the Chicago White Sox, while happy with their current catcher, Tyler Flowers, would be open to exploring an upgrade at the position. Flowers hit .241 with 15 home runs in 2014, while Astros’ catcher, Jason Castro, hit .222 with 14 homers and 56 rbi in a down year. Castro hit .276 in 2013, and is a career .243 hitter.
The first name that comes to mind for Astros fans in a potential trade with Chicago would be Alexei Ramirez. The shortstop would fill a need for Houston, and provide some power in the Astros’ lineup. Ramirez hit 15 home runs and drove in 74 in 2014, while swiping 21 bases and providing solid defense up the middle. According to Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com, the Sox, “would need to be overwhelmed to trade shortstop Alexei Ramirez.”
Would a short-term upgrade be worth losing Jason Castro? I don’t think so. Ramirez is due $10M next season, and has an option for 2016, also for $10M. Going after Ramirez would limit what the Astros could do in other problem areas the team had in 2014, namely their bullpen, third base, and left field.
Aside from Ramirez, the White Sox don’t have anything truly tantalizing to offer the Astros. Sure, there is reliever Zach Putnam, who pitched to the tune of a 1.98 ERA in 54 2/3 IP in 2014, but the ‘Stros can get a better return for the former All-Star, Castro. The White Sox have plenty in their farm system that they may be willing to part with, but, as we all know, Houston has a pretty good farm system of their own.
Personally, I don’t see a deal getting done between these teams. The Astros would want something of value in exchange for Jason Castro, and the White Sox already have a suitable catcher on their team in Flowers, negating the need to trade their All-Star and Silver Slugger, Ramirez. Castro is also coming off of a down season, so his perceived value will be a little lower than Houston would like, which may make is harder for them to get what they want for the catcher.
Unless the Sox are in rebuild mode, and are looking to shed some payroll, Castro won’t be going to the South Side of Chicago.