Former big league catcher Welington Castillo is retiring from baseball, reports Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post (Twitter link). He’ll hang up his spikes having appeared for five teams in parts of ten major league seasons.
Castillo began his professional career with the Cubs, signing out of the Dominican Republic in 2004 and reaching the majors by 2010. He went on to spend the next four-plus years on the North Side of Chicago, hitting fairly well as the Cubs regular catcher from 2013-14. Chicago traded him to the Mariners in May 2015, and Seattle flipped him to the Diamondbacks as part of a deal to acquire Mark Trumbo a little more than a month later.
The right-handed hitting backstop spent the next year and a half in Arizona, working as the D-Backs primary backstop before being non-tendered. He signed on with the Orioles for the 2017 campaign, again offering his typical blend of quality offense and fringy but playable defense behind the dish. He then returned to Chicago — this time on the South Side — on a two-year deal with the White Sox.
Unfortunately, Castillo’s White Sox tenure didn’t go as hoped. He was suspended for eighty games after testing positive for a banned substance midway through the 2018 season, and he struggled at the plate for the first time in his career in 2019. While Castillo signed minor league deals with the Nationals in each of the past two offseasons, he didn’t make it back to the majors. The 34-year-old opted out last season due to COVID-19 concerns and has spent this year with Washington’s Triple-A affiliate.
While Castillo’s career didn’t end the way he’d likely envisioned, there’s little doubt he had a solid run. Castillo tallied 2701 plate appearances over his ten big league campaigns, compiling a .254/.313/.426 line that betters the .243/.311/.390 mark managed by the league average catcher between 2010-19. Castillo picked up 626 hits (including 98 home runs), drew 183 walks, scored 251 times and drove in 339 runs. Baseball Reference estimates he was worth around 12 wins above replacement. (FanGraphs, which accounts for his generally poor pitch framing metrics, pegs him closer to five wins). B-Ref tallies his career earnings at just north of $28MM. MLBTR congratulates Castillo on a fine career and wishes him all the best in his future endeavors.