Orioles get their catcher to replace Matt Wieters in Welington Castillo
The Orioles needed a catcher this offseason and they've reportedly signed Castillo
With All-Star catcher Matt Wieters heading to free agency this offseason, the Orioles were left with a void behind the plate and it appears they've filled it. Welington Castillo has agreed to a one-year deal with a player option for a second year, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports. The deal is worth $6 million in 2017 with the option being for $7 million in 2018 (Heyman).
Castillo, 29, entered free agency after being somewhat surprisingly non-tendered by the Diamondbacks earlier this offseason. In 760 plate appearances in Arizona between 2015 (after arriving via trade) and 2016, Castillo hit .261/.320/.452 (101 OPS+) with 37 doubles, 31 homers and 118 RBI.
There have been questions around Castillo's ability behind the plate through much of his career. He did throw out 38 percent of would-be base-stealers last season against a league average of 27 percent, but he also allowed a league-high 10 passed balls.
Further, with an increased emphasis on strike-zone control, Castillo's reputation for not being very good overall at framing pitches has hurt his stock in recent years. He was again shown to be below average on this front in 2016.
The good news for the Orioles here? Wieters actually scored out worse than Castillo last season, so this is a step up for the O's and their pitching staff.
Castillo's power also fits right in with how the Orioles have played in recent years. He's homered in once every 25 (24.7, to be exact) at-bats in the last three seasons. Last year he was slightly above-average and for a catcher that's great.
With Caleb Joseph as the backup, expect the Orioles to be done shopping backstops this winter.
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