Houston Astros Trade Speculation: Jason Castro for Xander Bogaerts?


The Astros offseason has been moving slowly so far, but sometimes acquisitions in baseball act like dominoes. Once the first move happens, a series of resulting moves can happen pretty quickly.

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports has reported that the Boston Red Sox have agreed to a 5-year $90 million contract with with shortstop Hanley Ramirez. We also know that the Red Sox are trying to sign third baseman Pablo Sandoval, as well, which as of this morning seems likely according to reports.

If both Ramirez and Sandoval go to Boston, the man pushed out of the scene for the Red Sox may be Xander Bogaerts. Bogaerts is a young 22-year old infielder that plays both positions on the left side of the diamond. He arrived in the big leagues at the end of the 2013 season and helped Boston win the World Series. However, Bogaerts struggled in 2014 and only hit .240 with 12 home runs.

Despite his early career struggles, Xander Bogaerts may be a major trade target for the Astros. For one, he plays both shortstop and third base, two positions Jeff Luhnow has indicated he might upgrade this offseason. Bogaerts also wouldn’t be a huge payroll hit, and he isn’t arbitration eligible until 2017.

Sep 14, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Boston Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts (2) at bat against the Kansas City Royals during the first inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

If Bogaerts is acquired, he would provide definite competition for Matt Dominguez and Jonathan Villar simultaneously. If Dominguez improves, Bogaerts could very well play shortstop. If Villar improves, he can also play third base. This would be a flexible situation that is dependent on whoever plays the best, and that is exactly what this team needs. The Astros are at the point in their rebuild where production is demanded and expected. This move would signal to the Astros that the excuses are over; you must produce or you’re not playing.

For the Red Sox, trading Bogaerts to the Astros would make sense. With both Ramirez and Sandoval on board, Bogaerts would be limited to a bench role, especially with Dustin Pedroia at second base. The Astros are trying to move a catcher, and Boston could use a catcher if they are aiming to compete in 2015. Right now, they have a catching duo of Christian Vazquez and Ryan Lavarnway. Jason Castro may be a fit.

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Castro is coming off a down year in which he hit .222 with 14 home runs following his All-Star campaign in 2013. Luhnow has indicated that he would be willing to move Castro if the right trade came to fruition.

A Jason Castro for Xander Bogaerts swap could make sense for both teams, though I imagine the Red Sox may want a bit more for the former top prospect. Of course, this is probably dependent on the Red Sox signing Sandoval in addition to Hanley Ramirez. But if Luhnow does go ahead and acquire Bogaerts, the Astros would still have the payroll flexibility to sign any free agent that they would have signed otherwise.

What do you think? Would a Jason Castro for Xander Bogaerts trade make sense to you as an Astros fan?