Free agent catcher Jason Castro is drawing interest from five clubs and has multiple offers on the table as the market for catching begins to heat up, according to Chris Cotillo of SB Nation's MLB Daily Dish. ESPN's Buster Olney reported earlier Wednesday that the Atlanta Braves are a serious bidder for Castro, as they look to fill their catching vacancy and also that the Minnesota Twins are expected to make a serious push for the free agent. While no decision is imminent, Castro is one of the top options available in what is considered a thin catching market.
Several other teams are looking for a catcher and could be a fit for the former Astro, including the Baltimore Orioles, Washington Nationals, Tampa Bay Rays, Chicago White Sox and the Los Angeles Angels. Olney also reports that Castro is seeking a three-year deal.
Castro, 29, struggled at the plate last season, slashing just .210/.307/.377 with just 11 home runs. Despite concerns with his bat, teams that need catching love the fact that Castro is a strong defender behind the plate and is one of the top pitch-framing catchers in the game, adding to his value. With the catching market being thin, Castro will not be short on potential suitors.
Atlanta is expected to be aggressive on the catching market, needing a platoon partner for catcher Tyler Flowers, who performed well last season, especially against left-handed pitching. Castro hits right handed pitching much better than left, so Atlanta seems like a sure-fire fit. Minnesota expects to bid aggressively for Castro as well, as Kurt Suzuki left via free agency.
Some of the other top catching options on the free agent market include players like Wilson Ramos and Matt Wieters, who are likely to command the biggest pay days, but there are several serviceable options on the market as well, including Alex Avila, Dioner Navarro, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Geovany Soto. The catching market will begin to take shape over the next few weeks as teams begin to fill voids on their rosters.