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Astros hanging on to Jason Castro for now

Mar 1, 2014, 6:15 PM EDT

Houston Astros v Chicago White Sox Getty Images

Back in January, the Astros avoided arbitration with catcher Jason Castro, agreeing to a one-year deal worth $2.45 million. Prior to the agreement, there was some speculation that the Astros would sign him to a multi-year extension, buying out all three of his arbitration years and likely at least one year of free agency. If an agreement couldn’t be reached, they could explore trading Castro and fall back on prospect Max Stassi.

GM Jeff Luhnow, however, is quite happy with Castro and what he brings to the table, even if his future isn’t known. Via Brian McTaggart of MLB.com:

Luhnow said several teams called him to ask about acquiring Castro this past offseason, but he said when you put the entire package together — what Castro does off the field and the leadership he provides and his links to the past — the organization decided that Castro had too much value.

“We take all of those elements into account, and we really feel he’s a player we can’t be without at this point,” Luhnow said. “I think he’s exceeded expectations, even internally for the people that drafted him in the first round. He’s a left-handed-hitting catcher with power and good defensive skills. He’s been injured here and there, but by and large, he’s everything you hope for in a first-round pick.”

According to FanGraphs, among catchers with at least 300 plate appearances last season, Castro was the fourth-most valuable out of 32 qualified catchers at 4.3 Wins Above Replacement. He trailed only Yadier Molina, Joe Mauer (now a first baseman), and Buster Posey. Clearly, the Astros have a major asset on their hands, but one can understand the thought process behind trading him, as the Astros are still at least two seasons away from being competitive.

  1. bostonboresme - Mar 1, 2014 at 7:17 PM

    Two years. That’s kinda generous.

    • stex52 - Mar 2, 2014 at 12:17 PM

      No. Two years should be about right. It will take that long for the really top prospects to be in place, but they will continue to add some free agents in key positions during that time. They won’t be ready for the World Series in two, but they should be competitive for the wild card slots then.

      • rawstalk - Mar 2, 2014 at 1:52 PM

        Agree with the 2 years comment but really, if you can compete for the wild card you can also make it to the WS.

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