As non-tendered players move to the free agent market, the Tampa Bay Rays are getting prepared to make their move either through trades or free agency.
The Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday made a very unexpected move as they decided not to tender a contract to veteran catcher Welington Castillo making him a free agent. With that decision, Castillo has become one of the most sought after free agent catchers, with the Tampa Bay Rays throwing their cap into the ring.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reported on Friday night that the Rays have definite interest in Castillo and are expected to aggressively pursue him. By Saturday morning, Topkin then tweeted that the Rays are not the only team interested in Castillo, but also the Braves and Orioles.
Castillo who is in his last season of arbitration eligibility is projected to $5.9 million. Last season, Castillo hit .264 with 14 home runs, 68 RBIs and had a .745 OPS in 113 games. He is an above average hitter, typical behind the plate, and considered an average pitch framer.
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Signed as an amateur free agent by the Chicago Cubs in 2004, Castillo made his major league debut with the Cubs in 2010.
In May 2015, the Cubs traded Castillo to the Seattle Mariners and less than a month later the Mariners shipped him to Arizona for Mark Trumbo.
To make room on the 40-man roster, whether for Castillo or someone else, the Rays did not tender a contract to former top prospect infielder Ryan Brett, who missed all of 2016 with an injury.
On the trade front, the Atlanta Braves are still very much interested in adding to their rotation despite their earlier trades for R.A. Dickey, Jaime Garcia and Bartolo Colon are focused on adding Chris Archer or Chris Sale of the White Sox tweets Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.
According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, the Astros are willing to listen to offers for catcher/DH Evan Gattis and as well pitcher Collin McHugh. What could be an interesting trade match is that Jon Heyman of Fanrag reports that the Stos’ are interested in Archer.
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Gattis has two years of team control and will make $5.2 million in 2017, while Archer is under team control through 2021. Gattis has averaged 25 HRs and 69 RBIs per season along with a .250 average in four major league seasons and would fit nicely in the Rays lineup.