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.
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.