The Winter Meetings have come and gone and the Astros are still looking for that starting catcher to fill a void. Is a Jason Castro reunion in the works?
The offseason hot stove has been active this year and the Winter Meetings were no exception. Big names like Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon, and Stephen Strasburg were all signed just last week. But the Astros are still seeking to fill their vacancies and a starting catcher is one of those needs. According to Brian McTaggart, Houston has shown some interest in former Astro Jason Castro.
The 32-year-old catcher, who resides right here in the Houston area, spent six seasons with the Astros before going to Minnesota. The Twins signed Castro to a three-year contract when he became a free agent following the 2016 season. Well, that three years have passed and he is once again a free agent.
I know, most of you would prefer the front office re-sign Robinson Chirinos after the season he had here in Houston and the close bond that was formed with Justin Verlander. I tend to agree with you, but that may be harder than it sounds. Chirinos is now the top available catcher on the free-agent market and there are quite a few teams seeking his services.
After returning from knee surgery that kept Castro out most of the 2018 season, he shared catching duties with Mitch Garver and Willians Astudillo this past season. His numbers won’t knock your socks off but they were respectable. In 79 games, he slashed .232/.332/.435 with an OPS+ of 93 and hit 13 homers in the process.
The performance of Chirinos in his 114 games wasn’t a whole lot better slashing .238/.347/.443 and a 103 OPS+ and 17 home runs. Once Yasmani Grandal signed with the White Sox, Chirinos became the top catcher on the market with a 2.3 WAR, with Castro right behind him at 1.6. After those two, the quality of available catchers starts to drop off considerably.
I don’t think to have Castro back in an Astro uniform would be such a bad thing to see, and if Chirinos becomes unavailable, he’s probably the next best thing. I’d even be willing to bet that he and Verlander could become just as tight and make a great battery team here in Houston.