The Orioles’ preferred option behind the plate is free-agent backstop Welington Castillo, according to a report from Dan Connolly of BaltimoreBaseball.com. Interest had previously been reported, and Robert Murray of Fan Rag suggested yesterday that there was some momentum building towards a deal.
Baltimore has continued to discuss a possible multi-year contract with Castillo’s representatives since the Winter Meetings wrapped up yesterday, Connolly writes. There’s some “optimism” on the team’s part, though talks remain “firmly in the discussion phase” at this time.
Castillo is one of several names still under consideration for the O’s, but seems to have emerged as the favorite. Incumbent Matt Wieters and veterans Nick Hundley and Chris Iannetta are other options that appear still to be possibilities as Baltimore seeks a primary backstop to pair with Caleb Joseph.
Castillo, 29, was a somewhat surprising addition to the market after he was non-tendered by the Diamondbacks. Given the fact that he seems to be lining up for a contract that covers two or more years, though, that may turn out to have been a blessing (depending upon what guarantee he is able to command, at least). Castillo was projected to earn $5.9MM in his final season of arb eligibility.
Castillo is regarded as a bat-first catcher, with some real questions about his glovework — in the framing department, in particular. But the bat does play quite nicely, especially when one considers the dearth of offensive output from receivers leaguewide. Since joining the DBacks in the middle of the 2015 season, Castillo has slashed .261/.320/.452 and driven 31 home runs over 760 plate appearances.