The Twins should trade Jason Castro. Reading Cole’s article from the other day, it became abundantly clear to me that Castro is nothing but a stop-gap behind the plate. He’s 31 years old, his best years are behind him, and he had knee surgery last year. His bat has never been stellar and his defense is likely declining. The young pitchers spent last year building a rapport with Mitch Garver and Willians Astudillo, who both have plenty of promising upside. For some A+ advanced statistical analysis of why we could get by just fine (and maybe be better off) without Castro, go read Cole’s article! Come back here for some more analysis of what teams might be interested and who we might be able to get back for him.
Who would replace Castro?
Willians Astudillo and Mitch Garver would likely split the catching duties in Castro’s absence. The players are 27 and 28 years old, respectively. They both boast far better bats than Castro, and Cole established that Astudillo probably isn’t far behind Castro defensively. Additionally, Garver spent his offseason focused on improving his play behind the plate. Another reason I’m a fan of this plan is the versatility the Twins would have. Garver is able to man first base as well as catcher, and we all know Astudillo is able to play all around the diamond. With these two guys as well as Marwin Gonzalez on the roster, the Twins would have an almost unrivaled amount of positional versatility for new manager Rocco Baldelli to play with.
What teams could be interested in Castro?
There is no shortage of teams who could use a catcher. The ones that stick out the most to me are the Athletics, Rangers, Tigers, and Royals. The Royals are probably the most notable, as they just recently lost All-Star Salvador Perez to a season-ending injury. Using ZiPS projections, all these teams are very much in need of catching help. The Rangers’ top catcher by projected WAR falls at 0.2. The Tigers have a pair of catchers projected to come in at 0.3 WAR, and the Athletics’ top guy comes in at 0.4. Jason Castro, projected to finish with 1.0 WAR, would certainly be a marked upgrade for any of these teams.
What could the Twins get back for Castro?
What would the Twins want from a trade? Pitching help! While the Twins are not in need of more position players, they could definitely benefit from bringing in some bullpen help or another fifth starter-type to challenge Martin Perez. It is a little bit challenging judging how much teams would value Castro, but I came up with a few possibilities.
The Royals, at first glance, seem like the best trade partner for the Twins. They have a glaring need for a catcher, and little time to get one. However, they have little to offer that would be particularly of interest for the Twins. They are a young team, and they are unlikely to part with any interesting young big-league relievers (of which they have very few). They don’t have any starters the Twins would want that they’d part with for a stop-gap catcher either. They also have little incentive to trade any players that still have much upside, as they aren’t expected to compete this year anyway. The best trade the Twins could make with the Royals would probably be for two to three middle-of-the-pack prospects.
The Tigers could definitely benefit from trading for Jason Castro. They have lots of young pitchers coming up soon, whom Castro could be somewhat of a mentor for. They also make a good trade partner because they have some pricey veteran pitchers blocking the way for the young guys. They aren’t looking to compete for another few years, and off-loading an unspectacular veteran starter might be worth their time. A good trade target for the Twins would be Jordan Zimmermann, a 32-year-old starter. He has two years left on a big contract ($22 million/year), but is more of a fifth starter nowadays. The Twins would maybe be able to squeeze the Tigers for a mid-tier prospect along with Zimmermann for taking that big salary off the Tigers’ books. He could definitely challenge Martin Perez for the fifth starter spot, and would probably be an upgrade.
The Rangers are kind of hard to gauge for this exercise. They don’t appear to be actively tanking like the Tigers and Royals, but they are highly unlikely to surpass the Athletics or the Astros in their own division. However, if they were to prioritize getting a decent catcher for this year, one reliever the Twins could target is Jesse Chavez. The 35-year-old posted one of his best seasons just last year, and the Rangers may be willing to part with him because of his age. He is on a 2-year contract, so that wouldn’t be much of a concern for the Twins. He’s projected to put up an 8.33 K/9 number this year, as well as 1.0 WAR, which would make him one of the better pitchers in the bullpen.
My favorite trade partner for the Twins is probably the Athletics. They made the playoffs last year and are trying to win now, so they have incentive to make a trade. They also have a very deep and talented stable of relievers. The Twins should give them a ring and see if they’d be willing to part with Liam Hendriks (yes, the former Twin). Hendriks has put up very good K/9 numbers the past few years (around 10.0), and is projected to do the same this year. However, the Athletics may not even need him, as they have so many good relievers already. Hendriks would come on a 1-year contract (which we know Falvine loves), and because of his relative value to Castro for the Athletics, the Twins would also be able to get a couple mid-tier prospects or maybe even a higher-end prospect in the exchange.
All of the stats in this article were pulled from Fangraphs.com.
What do you think? Which of my proposed options should the Twins try to accomplish? Let us know below!
What should the Twins do with Castro?
This poll is closed
Trade him to the Royals for prospects
Trade him to the Tigers for Zimmermann
Trade him to the Rangers for Chavez
Trade him to the Athletics for Hendriks
None of these options are even realistic