O's reach agreement with Castillo to fill catcher's void - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Dan Connolly

O’s reach agreement with Castillo to fill catcher’s void

The Orioles have agreed with free-agent catcher Welington Castillo to a one-year, $6 million deal with a player option for 2018, pending medical review, according to an industry source.

The decision likely ends the Orioles’ tenure of Matt Wieters, who has been the club’s primary starting catcher since 2009, but is a free agent this winter.

Castillo’s representatives and the Orioles had been in discussion for the last week, but negotiations hit a snag Monday because of potential length of contract, according to a source.

The talks re-energized Wednesday, with the Orioles agreeing to the deal that is essentially for two years and $13 million — if Castillo wants to the remain with the club in 2018 for a $7 million salary. That will be his choice.

The Orioles don’t like including opt-out clauses in contracts, but this is more of an “opt-in,” extending the deal if Castillo wants to play in Baltimore for a second year.

Castillo, 29, was entering his last year of arbitration when he wasn’t tendered a contract by the Arizona Diamondbacks in December. He likely would have made around or slightly above $6 million in arbitration in 2017.

A Dominican Republic native who has been in the majors for seven years, Castillo hit 14 homers and drove in 68 runs in 113 games for the 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. He is expected to be the club’s primary catcher with Caleb Joseph acting as his backup.

In a bit of coincidence, Castillo was dealt from the Seattle Mariners to the Diamondbacks in June 2015 as part of a trade that included Mark Trumbo, whom the Orioles are still hoping to re-sign this winter.

Wieters, 30, had remained on the Orioles’ radar this winter, but his market is not expected to heat up until January. The Orioles view Castillo as a comparable hitter and defender who is younger and more affordable than Wieters.


FanRag Sports first reported the deal and the terms.





  1. bigdaddydk

    December 14, 2016 at 9:33 pm

    Being what the O’s budget is, I’m not disappointed in this signing. A slight defensive upgrade and someone who mashes lefties for about one third of what Boras thinks Wieters should get. They weren’t going to do any better, and this takes the pressure off of Sisco to be ready this year. Maybe he can get some cuts with the parent club after roster expansion. Now, can we please find a legitimate COF who can lead off?

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      December 15, 2016 at 7:42 am

      Defensive upgrade? Are you really drinking that Kool-Aid?

      • bigdaddydk

        December 16, 2016 at 6:25 am

        Note that I said “slight defensive upgrade.” I didn’t intend to suggest that Castillo is a gold glover behind the plate. However, the only defensive metric that appears to work against him in comparison is passed balls, which isn’t a good thing, but otherwise, he’s on par with Wieters or better (last year 1.6 dWAR vs 1.1 for Wieters, .992 fielding percentage vs. .988 for Wieters.) The big reason I’m more enthusiastic about Castillo is that he can actually hit lefties. Compare slash lines last year for the two versus lefties. Wieters .231/.304/.651 vs Castillo .278/.346/.868. BAbip versus lefties: Wieters .269 vs Castillo .316. Neither would be all-time great, but being as the O’s stunk it up against lefties with a team slash line of .234/.301/.693 and a BAbip of .276 this stands to be an improvement. Castillo also grounded into half as many double plays as Wieters, which means fewer potential rallies killed.

        I like Wieters, and I hate to see a guy I’ve been rooting for leave, but that aside, statistically they’re close enough with enough upside to Castillo that Wieters just isn’t worth the money Boras thinks he should get. I’d rather the extra few million saved be allocated toward either resolving the RF/leadoff hitter issue or extending Machado.

  2. Boog Robinson Robinson

    December 15, 2016 at 7:41 am

    Dan, did I just read you correctly? Did you say the Orioles consider Castillo a comparable defender to Wieters? (forget the hitter part) Comparable defender?!?! Horse Pucky! Has the baseball universe gone completely whacko? Does the eye test mean nothing anymore? Is this a ruse by the Orioles brass to trick us fans into forgetting exactly what we had in Wieters? Now I’m no baseball scout, but I can tell you this guy isn’t Wieters behind the dish. If he were, he’d be signing a much larger contract this winter.

    Funny thing, I heard a radio host this morning state that Castillo’s “Framing Numbers” were slightly below average while about the same as those of Matt Wieters. WTHeck? “Framing Numbers”??? How in the wide, wide world of sports, can anybody numerically quantify “framing numbers”?

    Considering there are two leagues, a different strike zone for each player, then again for each umpire, how is this at all possible? Frankly, it’s a completely subjective concept (balls & strikes), with absolutely NO consistency across the board whether considering league to league, player to player, umpire to umpire, game to game or even pitch by pitch. If you were to do the numbers with that many combinations, the amount of different strike zones would literally be in the millions.

    The most insightful and knowledgeable baseball guru I’ve ever read or heard speak (Kevin Costner), once stated that “In baseball, we count everything”, but besides counting “broken bats induced by the pitcher”, I consider “framing numbers” to be the most ridiculous statistic I’ve ever heard of.

    Arrrrrrrrgggghh. The Earl of Baltimore SURELY is laughing uncontrollably at modern analytics and his side must be absolutely aching with that statement that Wellington Castillo is a comparable defender to Matty Wieters.

    How did the game ever survive without the bean counters and statistical analytics?

    • boogandbrooks

      December 16, 2016 at 2:59 pm

      actually matt has never given a good target or been adept at helping pitchers get calls. the eye test? ive watched him set up with the glove closed and not where he wants the pitch until the last second for years. dont tell me it is so he wont give away loacation he is late doing it compared to almost every good catcher in the game. the fact is he committed 11 erros last year to 7 for castillo and castillo threw out 38% compared to 35%. matt is not getting younger just more expensive. he does not hit left handed pitching well and that is something the Os had to improve on. at the price this was a no brainer

  3. Bancells Moustache

    December 15, 2016 at 8:12 am

    10 passed balls last year and now has to catch the best sinker on the planet in the 9th inning?

    A doleful damsel I heard cry
    Matty I hardly knew ye…

    • boogandbrooks

      December 16, 2016 at 3:05 pm

      what catcher lead the majors in blocked balls last season? answer wellington castillo. interesting. what was that damsel heard to cry? thanks wellington was that it?

  4. Boog Robinson Robinson

    December 15, 2016 at 10:18 am

    Waxing poetic on a sports blog. We are not worthy of your musings Mr. Stache!

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