The Rangers have acquired catcher Welington Castillo and international draft bonus pool money from the White Sox in exchange for minor league outfielder and corner infielder Jonah McReynolds, as per Rangers executive VP of communications John Blake (Twitter link). Texas has also outrighted left-hander Jesse Biddle and outfielder Zack Granite to Triple-A, with Biddle first being reinstated from the 60-day injured list.
The Rangers will get $250K in international bonus funds, as per Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News (Twitter link), which seems to have been the team’s real incentive for the trade. Texas is expected to decline Castillo’s $8MM club option and instead pay him a $500K buyout.
In essence, the White Sox decided to save that $500K of Major League payroll in favor of giving up $250K in international money. It could be that the Sox also simply decided McReynolds was of more interest to them than any other prospects who might arise on the international market.
Castillo became expendable in Chicago after he hit only .209/.267/.417 over 251 PA in 2019, losing playing time to James McCann in the process. This comes on the heels of a 2018 season that saw Castillo post some respectable numbers (94 OPS+, 96 wRC+) for a catcher over 181 PA, though that year was marred by an 80-game PED suspension.
While the $8MM salary was too rich for the Rangers’ liking, it wouldn’t be a total surprise to see the team have an interest in Castillo at a lower price. While Castillo struggled at the plate last year, his numbers still represent an improvement over what the current Texas catching corps (Jeff Mathis, Jose Trevino, Isiah Kiner-Falefa) produced in 2019. Then again, the Rangers could also choose to stand pat at catcher since they have several other areas to address this winter.
McReynolds, who turns 24 in December, was a 13th-round pick for the Rangers in the 2016 draft. He has a .217/.285/.322 slash line over 637 PA in his first four pro seasons, the last three of which have been spent at low A-ball. He has played all over the diamond as a professional, though spent much of 2019 focused on third base and first base.