Potential Landing Spots for Jason Castro

Jason Castro
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The short year and mid-season trade didn’t help Jason Castro in 2020, but they didn’t hurt him as much as they could have. He was still a serviceable catcher in limited time. Being 33 years old isn’t the most positive thing, but Castro is one of the better free agent catchers available.

The former first round pick from 2008 played roughly two-thirds of his season with the Los Angeles Angels before heading to the San Diego Padres via trade. Castrol accumulated 92 plate appearances between the two franchises and posted a .188/.293/.668 slash line and two home runs. That doesn’t leap off the page but an 86 wRC+ still ranked in the top-25 among all catchers with at least 90 plate appearances. That’s more than acceptable for many teams.

And there are some encouraging underlying numbers in Castro’s 2020 campaign. His walk rate remained a respectable 13%, which was well above the league mark of 9.1%. He also hit the ball very hard when he made contact. His average exit velocity of 92.7 MPH was fourth among catchers with at least 25 batted ball events. The only free agent catchers that exceeded that figure was Tyler Flowers at 93 MPH. It’s safe to assume the short season hurt the veteran as much as anyone and that he should bounce back in 2021. He should be a cheap option for whichever team targets him.

Jason Castro Potential Landing Spots

New York Yankees

The New York Yankees don’t necessarily need Castro, but they have space for him. They have 39 players on the 40-man roster and only two catchers. They could use one more experienced backstop given the relative frustrations with Gary Sanchez and Kyle Higashioka‘s low offensive ceiling. Castro is a mix of both offensive and defensive ability and could rotate with either of those two regularly. His left-handed swing and 36.2% pull rate might play well with Yankee Stadium’s short right field distance. This seems like the sort of logical move that can help New York reclaim the AL East crown.

Colorado Rockies

The Colorado Rockies seem exceptionally unlikely to sign an actual major leaguer for 2021. However, they also have one spot left on their 40-man roster and just two catchers. Neither Elias Diaz nor Dom Nunez is a lock to grab the starting spot and Colorado is notorious for preferring established veterans over younger internal options. The ability to hit the ball hard certainly seems like something that should intrigue Colorado’s front office. At the very least, Castro could be a platoon option against right-handed pitching and help Nunez acclimate to the majors.

Chicago Cubs

The Chicago Cubs might not be major buyers for 2021 after a huge trade with the Padres, but they might need another catcher if they trade Willson Contreras this winter, as well. Miguel Amaya is the only other catcher on the 40-man and the organization’s catching depth is extremely shallow. Jason Castro seems like a very smart move for a franchise that isn’t necessarily rebuilding, but isn’t going all in to win, either. His defensive ability would be a huge boost to inexperienced pitchers like Adbert Alzolay and Colin Rea. The Cubs have only 36 out of 40 roster spots filled, so there is no reason they shouldn’t consider a low-risk veteran of Castro’s caliber.

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