Looking 'more likely' Castillo signs with someone besides O's - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Dan Connolly

Looking ‘more likely’ Castillo signs with someone besides O’s

Photo Credit: Joe Camporeale/USA Today Sports

A few days after free-agent catcher Welington Castillo emerged as the Orioles’ primary offseason target to replace Matt Wieters, it now appears that the club’s chances of securing Castillo’s services are waning.

Castillo has multi-year offers from multiple teams, and it is now “more likely” that he’ll sign somewhere besides Baltimore, according to an industry source.

The Orioles and Castillo’s representatives talked multiple times this month, including after the winter meetings ended Thursday, and a multi-year deal was discussed for the 29-year-old backstop. But those negotiations apparently haven’t progressed.

Castillo hit 14 homers and drove in 68 runs in 113 games for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2016. He threw out an impressive 38 percent of would-be basestealers, but also tied for the National League lead in passed balls with 10.

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If the Orioles lose out on Castillo, who was non-tendered by the Arizona Diamondbacks earlier this month heading into his final year of arbitration, it’s unclear where the club would turn its attention to fill a void at starting catcher.

They’ve also had interest this winter in former Oriole Nick Hundley and veteran Chris Iannetta, who last played with the Seattle Mariners. But, for various reasons, neither is considered a perfect fit. The club also hasn’t given up on re-signing free agent Matt Wieters, who has been the Orioles’ primary starter since he made his big-league debut in May, 2009.

Wieters, 30, is the most accomplished catcher left on the free-agent market and his agent, Scott Boras, suggested that his client may not sign until January. The Orioles don’t want to wait around that long, lose out on Wieters’ services and then be without a competent alternative to share catching duties with Caleb Joseph.

There have been few rumors associated with any club’s interest in Wieters this offseason, though Boras is known for finding markets for his clients that previously weren’t reported.

Wieters batted .243 with 17 homers and 66 RBIs in 124 games with the Orioles last year.

10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Bancells Moustache

    December 12, 2016 at 10:48 pm

    Meh. Let’s not kid ourselves. Wellington Castillo, no matter how frantic we get about needing a catcher, is just a guy. He’s not Buster Posey or Johnny Bench. He’s just a dude who put up average numbers on a bad Arizona team.

    • Dan Connolly

      December 12, 2016 at 11:56 pm

      Not a lot of better ones out there right now, though. That’s the quandary.

    • bigdaddydk

      December 13, 2016 at 11:22 am

      Agreed, but even if he puts up Wieters numbers and nothing more, he’ll do it for less money, perhaps 1/3 as much as Wieters wants. And looking at their numbers, the two are amazingly similar overall. Given the option, I’d still make a play for Castillo rather than jack the payroll for Wieters to return, as much as I like Matt overall. I just can’t see the investment for what he’s produced recently.

      Somehow, I have this sneaking suspicion that we’re looking at a Joseph/Hundley platoon though. Either that or Angelos opens his wallet and shells out way too much for Wieters to come back.

  2. OsFanStuckInNY

    December 13, 2016 at 5:27 am

    I’m fine with Joseph as the #1, hoping they put the money saved into resigning core players. His bat *will* be better than last year (thanks Swami Obvious), and Perez as backup? Maybe even see Sisco by late summer?

    We know we can lose with a high powered offense. Time to find a better way.

    • Dan Connolly

      December 13, 2016 at 8:56 am

      I think if they aren’t going to get a starter they still could use a veteran backup to share duties. No reason not to protect yourself for minimum commitment.

  3. Boog Robinson Robinson

    December 13, 2016 at 8:29 am

    I’m still holding out for Matty Wieters.

    To quote the estimable Lloyd Christmas …. “So you’re telling me there’s a chance?”

    • Dan Connolly

      December 13, 2016 at 8:56 am

      I suppose there’s a chance.

  4. bigdaddydk

    December 13, 2016 at 11:37 am

    I’m still processing the fact that the Rays got Ramos for $12.5 million, plus incentives, for two years. Yes, I get the injury thing, but the guy is a significant upgrade for teams that don’t have Buster Posey, Yadier Molina, and a small handful of other backstops. He broke out last year in many statistical categories with the bat, and crushed lefties (David Price, Chris Sale, Drew Smyly, J.A. Happ, Francisco Liriano…) but still hits RHP well. He’d have been worth a flyer even with the injury. Double the WAR of Wieters last year, mostly with the bat, but above average with the glove too.

    • Dan Connolly

      December 13, 2016 at 12:50 pm

      There’s a lot of risk involved with a heavy catcher squatting on knees that have undergone surgery multiple times now. I see your point. But there’s a lot of risk there.

      • bigdaddydk

        December 14, 2016 at 6:00 am

        No argument on the risk, but his bat makes him worth it, in my humble opinion. I expect this to be a real bargain for TB.

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