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Cubs free-agent target: Jason Castro

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The Cubs need a backup catcher.

Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

With the inclusion of Victor Caratini in the Yu Darvish trade to the Padres, the Cubs will have to acquire a backup catcher, since Jed Hoyer has said Miguel Amaya won’t start the season in the big leagues.

Let’s first assume that the Cubs aren’t going to trade Willson Contreras.

Jason Castro could be a useful backup to Contreras, and then perhaps serve as a mentor to Amaya in 2022 if Contreras is dealt, or let go after one year if the Cubs wanted to go with a Contreras/Amaya combo.

This article by Patrick Mooney in The Athletic, while primarily talking about the possibility of trading Contreras, noted that the Cubs were in fact interested in Castro:

In terms of next moves, the Cubs have shown interest in Jason Castro, sources said, viewing the veteran catcher as a good defender and a possible left-handed-hitting complement to Contreras. Castro — a one-time All-Star and former first-round pick out of Stanford — has gone to the playoffs with the Astros, Twins and Padres.

Castro, a 10-year MLB veteran, turns 34 in June. In 2020, he had a poor offensive season, hitting just .188/.293/.375 (15-for-80), splitting 27 games between the Angels and Padres. That’s a pretty small sample size, and he played in only one postseason game with San Diego in 2020.

Castro ranked 28th out of 62 catchers listed in this Statcast chart of pitch framers for 2020 and 23rd of 64 in 2019. That’s a bit of a downgrade from Caratini, but still in the upper half. He’s played just 13 career games at Wrigley Field and gone 10-for-46 (.217) with two home runs.

At his age and coming off a down season, I’d bet the Cubs could sign him for around $1.5-$2 million, which isn’t much more than they would have paid Caratini for 2020. This would be a reasonable acquisition while the Cubs decide how they want to approach 2022 and beyond.

Worth doing at that price, I’d say.

Poll

Jason Castro...

This poll is closed

  • 3%
    ... should be signed at any price
    (12 votes)
  • 67%
    ... should be signed for the $1.5-$2 million price suggested
    (251 votes)
  • 26%
    ... should not be signed at all
    (98 votes)
  • 3%
    Something else (leave in comments)
    (13 votes)
374 votes total Vote Now