Baltimore Orioles: What could Welington Castillo bring to the table?
The Baltimore Orioles are making a run towards free-agent catcher Welington Castillo. But if the Orioles decide to sign him, what would he bring to the table?
Everyone was in shock when the Arizona Diamondbacks non-tendered catcher Welington Castillo prior to the Rule 5 Draft. However, it was perfect timing for the Baltimore Orioles. The Orioles are slated to lose Matt Wieters in free agency and with another catcher on the market, the possible signing could make sense.
But if the Orioles did sign Castillo, what exactly would he bring to the table?
Well, first of all he would bring offensive power: if you took Matt Wieters out of the picture, Castillo would be the best offensive catcher on the market. Castillo hit .264/.322/.423 with 14 homers and 68 RBI last season . Over 104 games two years ago, Castillo had 19 home runs. It was also the year he played for three different clubs: the Chicago Cubs, Seattle Mariners and the Diamondbacks. Mark Trumbo, who played for the Orioles last year, was part of the same trade, sending him to Seattle from Arizona.
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Castillo also had a 38% success rate last season, throwing out 24 of 64 baserunners. The 38% exceeds the 28% league average. Last season, Wieters threw out 23 out of 66 runners, which earned him a 35% success rate. Despite that, Wieters holds a better success rate than Castillo, with Wieters throwing out 33% of runners and Castillo throwing out 31% of runners.
The comparisons to Wieters and Castillo don’t stop there; Castillo led the National League with 11 passed balls behind the plate, and notched seven errors. It was fourth most for a catcher in the National League. Wieters on the other hand committed 11 errors at the backstop, and had issues digging baseballs out of the dirt.
Taking all of that into account, signing Castillo could be the best alternative to having Wieters. Even more so because Castillo probably won’t cost as much as Wieters. Wieters made $15.8 Million last season, and the Orioles weren’t willing to offer Matt Wieters a $17.2 Million qualifying offer in fear he would take it again. Castillo reportedly wants a three-year deal, and if the Orioles sign him it’s more likely he would be part of their future instead of a temporary stopgap.
Teams should be concerned about offering catchers long-term deals after they’ve turned 30, but in Castillo’s case, it could be a risk the Orioles are willing to take.