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Astros may make Jason Castro available

Jan 5, 2014, 9:50 PM EDT

Houston Astros v Oakland Athletics Getty Images

Catcher Jason Castro was the Astros’ most productive player throughout the 2013 season but they may make him available in a trade depending on the development of catching prospect Max Stassi and their ability to sign Castro to a contract extension, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Castro, 26, is eligible for arbitration for the first time and can become a free agent after the 2016 season.

In his first full season in the big leagues, Castro finished 2013 with a .276/.350/.485 line and was the fourth-most valuable catcher in baseball according to FanGraphs WAR (min. 400 plate appearances).

Stassi, who turns 23 in March, moved up to Double-A for the first time and enjoyed a lot of success. In 323 plate appearances with Corpus Christi, he posted an .863 OPS with 17 home runs. He is also highly regarded for his ability to play defense. If Stassi continues to progress rapidly and the Astros are able to sign Castro to an extension, Rosenthal suggests the Astros may move Castro to first base.

  1. esracerx46 - Jan 5, 2014 at 11:40 PM

    I’d like to hear what they want for him. White Sox desperately need a better option at catcher then what they have now.

    • jeffa43 - Jan 6, 2014 at 9:28 PM

      Castro was sidelined the last month with a cyst in his knee. At that point he was the hottest hitter in baseball over the previous month, and it appeared he was starting to bust out.

      Considering the two freak injuries he had in his first two years, you cannot criticize his defense, which was also starting to take form. Even missing the last month, there were only 2 catchers in mlb with better numbers, one was Mauer who did not come close with power numbers.

      Castro is your opening day #3 hitter, and not one to be traded. Houston is 2-3 years from the playoffs. Same path as SF, and TB. We had unbelievable starting pitching down the stretch, and the best minor league system in baseball history taking first in all 6 levels.

      Stassi was the best hitting catcher in the minors before being called up and beaned in the head. I would still keep Castro in the big future picture, unless Stassi can’t be stopped.

      • stex52 - Jan 7, 2014 at 9:32 AM

        I really try not to be your naysayer, Jeff. But I do need to point out that the “fantastic” pitching down the stretch resulted in 15 straight losses in the last 15 games. A franchise record. There were zircons among the garbage, but still a very long way to go.

  2. weaselpuppy - Jan 6, 2014 at 12:14 AM

    Singleton will knock him off of 1b pretty soon…trading Castro makes more sense.

    • stex52 - Jan 6, 2014 at 9:55 AM

      We hope. Singleton has been the promised answer at 1st base for three years now. Put up or shut up time.

  3. proudlycanadian - Jan 6, 2014 at 7:05 AM

    Castro and Stassi in the same sentence, brings back memories of the Cold War.

    • stex52 - Jan 6, 2014 at 8:25 AM

      Yup, PC, showing our age. The local broadcasters had some fun a couple of years back when Ozzie Guillen got himself in trouble with Castro (the other one) comments. When the Marlins came to town, they said they hoped there wouldn’t be any talk about “overthrowing Castro.”

      On a serious note, this could be a good move for the Astros. Castro hits a lot for a catcher, but defensively he is below average with a mediocre arm. It would be good to see some more defense at that position. But I don’t think Castro will hit enough for a first baseman. So it’s a good time to look at deals.

      • spudchukar - Jan 6, 2014 at 10:31 AM

        The Mariners might be interested. They need a right-handed DH option along with someone to help the developing Zunino, and Franklin is available. The problem is the one place the Astros are set is at second base.

      • stex52 - Jan 6, 2014 at 10:50 AM

        And their second baseman isn’t that good.

      • jeffa43 - Jan 6, 2014 at 9:46 PM

        Castro is left handed…. The Astros are set at 2B… Also at 3b with a 24year old that hit 20/75, and did not look comfortable until the last two months.

        We are more set than Seattle in the OF as well. 2011 #8 overall pick had the greatest milb season in 60 years 39/43 with a high avg. springer will start, Grossman (stole from Pittsburgh) will be a household name by July, and we signed Fowler for CF, so we are set there…. Don’t count out LJ Hoes, who was the jewel of Baltmores milb. With that said, we are set in the OF as well.

        Villar appears to be a walking highlight at SS,and he is just holding the spot until Carlos Corea comes in…
        To the Seattle fan, I think we are fine…. But I will enjoy Hou. & Sea. Being atop the al west in 2015, with Oak. Halos and Tex now start their decline. Well, Halos are in an elevator they just had the cable cut.

      • stex52 - Jan 7, 2014 at 8:53 AM

        I like your blinding optimism, Jeff. Seriously. It does offset my hard-eyed pessimism sometimes. But a few thoughts.

        Dominguez – Love the defense. Not enough guys do that. But .241/.286/.403 will not cut it in the majors at 3rd base. Maybe at shortstop. We need at least 50 more points of OBP.
        Altuve – 2013 was not good to him. He needs to step up the defense and HE NEEDS TO TAKE WALKS. The OBP is lousy.
        Fowler is a solid pro. But he has had bad home-away splits in Colorado. Let’s watch that.
        I am excited about Springer. So excited I may draft him for my fantasy team. But the word is still “prospect.” Same with Singleton.

        Texas will be tough this year. Never rule out Oakland. And the Angels are poorly managed but they still have an enormous amount of talent. The key is on their pitching staff.

        My over/under is still 100 losses. That would be a big one year improvement. But the Astros finally made some smart forward-thinking deals this winter. Maybe I will adjust the thinking as we get into May/June. I hope so.

  4. kelshannon19 - Jan 6, 2014 at 9:36 AM

    It would be asinine for the Astros to trade Castro. Catchers that can hit like he can don’t come around that often. Max Stassi has all of about four ML at bats and his last one he took a 98 mile an hour fastball to the jaw. I think the trading for prospects phase of rebuilding is over. Start winning some damn games.

    • stex52 - Jan 6, 2014 at 9:44 AM

      I’m with you on the winning games part. But I don’t think Castro is on the team when they are in playoff contention again. I think they need more defense. And the knee is not going to get better.

  5. beast2727 - Jan 6, 2014 at 9:09 PM

    Duda for Castro seems fair

    • jeffa43 - Jan 6, 2014 at 10:24 PM

      In your eyes.

      • stex52 - Jan 7, 2014 at 8:55 AM

        Mets fans are just trying to think of any deals that get rid of Duda. I definitely hold Castro unless we get some real value.

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