The Houston Astros need to address the catcher position as both of their top catchers are free agents. A reunion with Jason Castro should be an option. Why?
It’s the offseason and the Houston Astros are busy at work trying to mold their roster for 2020. It’s expected that the team that will be fielded is going to be competitive enough to contend for another title but there are some important holes to fill on this roster before we can honestly say that they’re ready to lock-and-load for the upcoming season.
The sting of being the runner-ups is this past season’s Fall Classic continues to annoy as they were just a few outs away from locking their second World Series championship. The problem was that the Washington Nationals were making that same case in Game 7 and they wanted it just a bit more than the Houston Astros did.
The Nats’ late-season surge that led to some amazing performances in the postseason is just like the nuances of a storybook, almost too good to be true. But it actually happened and I tip my hat off to the champs as they earned every bit of what they achieved.
In addition, veterans Howie Kendrick, Adam Eaton and Kurt Suzuki all were able to grab their first championship ring of their career, which is such a unique distinction within itself that such a large group of veterans how had been wandering the league for a bit, found their way to the Nats and made a mark that will never be forgotten.
But enough of the flattery of the team that the Houston Astros succumbed to, let’s talk turkey — absolutely no pun intended, well maybe — about depth concerns at the catcher position for the upcoming season.
The Houston Astros top catchers in Robinson Chirinos and Martin Maldonado are both free agents and this leaves Garrett Stubbs as the only catcher with experience in the majors. He simply is not the best option to take the lead so the Houston Astros must be able to solidify the position with quality vets for the upcoming season.
The best option would be to sign Chirinos, who had one of the best seasons of his career defensively at the plate along with his hot bat, having hit 52 homers over the past two seasons. He had 17 of those with the Houston Astros this season.
However, Chirinos is being pursued by the New York Mets, Cincinnati Reds and Texas Rangers so it’s unclear what his price tag will be. I’m sure it still would be manageable for the Astros but they must look at options just in case they can’t bring the 35-year-old catcher back.
I don’t think Maldonado will be tough at all to re-sign so I’m sure that ace is in the hole but it just doesn’t have a top priority at this moment.
Just in case they can’t bring Chirinos back, I’d strongly look into what Jason Castro and his camp are asking for to bring him back into the fold of the organization.
And besides, Castro’s 1.6 WAR this past season is just 7/10ths of a point down from Chirinos (2.3).
Castro, now 33-years-old, got a bum rap while he was here because he was in the middle of the
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rebuilding project and I have always thought about if the Houston Astros had held onto him during their current golden years on how good he’d be if he were still here.
I think he’s gotten better in each of three seasons he has been with the Minnesota Twins but he hasn’t had a chance to prove it because of a multitude of injuries. Now he finds himself out on the market, testing to see what his value is.
His slash line won’t knock you off your rocker but the guy can still hit in a timely fashion and he’s just one smart baseball player. He’d be a perfect option catching games for Justin Verlander and I think those two could form a beautiful relationship.
I think the one-time All-Star (2013) could help this team achieve its potential as long as he is able to stay healthy.
Let’s keep an eye on it — go Houston Astros.
Castro slashed for .232/.332/.435 while smashing 13 homers and 30 ribbies through 275 plate appearances in 79 games last season.