While we’ve heard plenty of chatter connection the Orioles to free-agent catcher Welington Castillo, it now seems more likely that he’ll land with another team, according to Dan Connolly of BaltimoreBaseball.com. More than one competitor has dangled a multi-year offer to the receiver, per the report, though it’s not yet clear whether any clubs have advanced to offering a three-year guarantee.
The Rays and Braves have also previously been tied to Castillo, whose market launched after a surprising non-tender from the Diamondbacks just ten days back. Tampa Bay, however, is likely out of the mix after making a relatively sizable commitment to Wilson Ramos. While the Braves have a number of in-house possibilities already under contract, the Atlanta organization has long been said to be an opportunistic participant in the catching market.
Castillo remains an interesting addition to the open-market mix. While his glove isn’t well loved, he has been quite productive ever since coming to Arizona in the middle of 2015. He owns a .261/.320/.452 batting line with 31 homers in the 760 plate appearances with the D-Backs. Though it’s true that he wasn’t quite as good in 2016 as he was the year prior, Castillo still showed plenty of bat for a catcher.
As for the O’s, missing on Castillo could lead the team to turn back to the rest of the market. Their own free agent, Matt Wieters, remains available and appears to be looking at an ever-shrinking list of plausible landing spots (at least, that is, on the kind of deal he’s probably hoping for). Baltimore has previously been tied to Nick Hundley and Chris Iannetta, though it’s not yet clear where they might turn if Castillo does land elsewhere.
Looking further down the list of available backstops, there remain a number of fairly well-known free agents — though most profile more as platoon mates or pure reserves. Kurt Suzuki has spent much of his career as the primary option behind the dish, having played in at least 100 games in eight of the last nine seasons; his market has been quiet (at least publicly). Players such as Alex Avila, Hank Conger, Chris Gimenez, Ryan Hanigan, Dioner Navarro, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and Geovany Soto have all seen plenty of MLB action in recent years.