Welington Castillo Possible Matt Wieters Replacement in Baltimore
Negotiations between the Baltimore Orioles and catcher Matt Wieters seem to have stalled. In fact, Wieters hasn’t gotten much love at all this offseason as he remains a free agent. Even Wilson Ramos, who will miss half of 2017, got a deal with the Tampa Bay Rays already. Wieters may lose one option soon as the Orioles are now targeting Welington Castillo.
Among the non-tendered players this winter, Castillo was one of the more intriguing pieces that changed the free agent market. His presence directly hurt Wieters as he is coming off a rather productive season with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Castillo won’t play in an All-Star Game or receive any MVP consideration. However, as a guy who averages 19 home runs per 162 games over his career and established himself as a productive offensive backstop over the last three seasons, I do not think the Orioles are crazy to favor him over Wieters.
During Castillo’s brief time with the Diamondbacks he smacked 31 home runs in 193 games while also driving in 118. This was over the span of two seasons. Not amazing numbers, he did slash .261/.320/.462. Considering he’s a catcher, Castillo deserves a thumb up.
For the Orioles, along with the production, they’ll easily get Castillo for a fraction of what Wieters would demand. Castillo will likely be forced into settling for a one or two year deal tops while Wieters’ aim is likely at three years or more. Unfortunately, he’ll have a tough time finding it with how few teams are seeking a new catcher. If the Orioles do move on from him officially, he’s a little S.O.L.
If I had to guess, Castillo ends up with the Orioles. They need that change of pace and Wieters is clearly on the decline while Castillo is having some of his best seasons in recent years. Rather than define insanity, now is the opportunity for the Orioles to try something new.