9:46pm: The Twins are “still engaged” on Castro, per Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer-Press. It’s not clear, though, whether Minnesota has put three years on the table for the veteran backstop.
4:23pm: Free-agent catcher Jason Castro has received three-year offers from multiple clubs, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter links). A team willing to push its offer to four years could ultimately be the team to lock a deal into place, he notes, adding that many clubs are viewing Nick Hundley as a “Plan B” to Castro. The exception there, it seems, is the Orioles, who view Hundley as their top target, one source tells Rosenthal. BaltimoreBaseball.com’s Dan Connolly reported the Orioles’ interest in Hundley earlier today.
A fourth year for Castro would exceed even aggressive projections for the premium pitch-framer’s market, but the 29-year-old has reportedly been drawing interest from at least five teams for more than a week now. The Twins, Braves and Rays are the most oft-mentioned collection of suitors, though Rosenthal did note earlier today that the Angels have checked in on Castro recently (Twitter links). However, the Halos don’t consider an upgrade at catcher to be a top priority at this time, according to Rosenthal, which makes the fit unlikely. He adds that they’re instead looking for help at second base as well as a left-handed-hitting reserve outfielder and a pitcher that can both start and relieve in 2017.
The Rays are known to have made Castro an offer, but it’s not clear if they’ve submitted one of the three-year proposals on which the Stanford product is sitting. In addition to the teams mentioned thus far, the White Sox have been listed as a speculative fit for Castro, although they might be an unlikely fit to be adding relatively expensive veterans after GM Rick Hahn indicated earlier this winter that he could be open to selling veteran pieces as well.
Castro is coming off a season in which he batted just .210/.307/.377 with 11 homers, but he’s regarded as an excellent defender/framer and does have an All-Star season under his belt. It’s been three years since he slashed a highly impressive .276/.350/.485 with 18 homers back in 2013, though, and he’s also struck out in nearly 31 percent of his plate appearances since that time. Castro is a quality bat against right-handed pitching, however (.247/.328/.424 in his career), and paired with his glovework, that’s been enough to generate some interest early in the offseason. What isn’t certain is exactly how many teams are willing to go even to the three-year threshold; to this point the only teams that have been repeatedly linked to him are Minnesota, Tampa Bay and Atlanta, and Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times downplayed the Rays’ ability to go to three years at all, let alone win a bidding war, over the weekend.