The Baltimore Orioles have secured their new starting catcher, by signing Welington Castillo to a one-year, $6 million deal with a player option for 2018. The Orioles had been rumored to have been out on Castillo, but appear to have circled back and secured the veteran catcher.
Castillo, 29, will now join the 4th organization of his seven-year major league career. Castillo was signed by the Chicago Cubs as an amateur free agent in 2004, and broke into the majors with them in 2010. After five and a half years with the Cubs, he was shipped to the Seattle Mariners, before being flipped just one month after to the Arizona Diamondbacks in a deal that involved Mark Trumbo. In 193 career games with the Diamondbacks, Castillo hit .261, along with 31 home runs and 118 runs batted in.
The Orioles were in the market for a catcher, and elected to finally turn the page on Matt Weiters, who after taking a qualifying offer last season, is a free agent once again, but could command more money than the team wants to spend. Castillo will serve as an intermediate gap for possibly two seasons, and provide some pop to a lineup that thrives off power. While Castillo has just 60 career home runs, 31 of them came in just a season and half with Arizona.
The catching market is slowly developing, with guys like Jason Castro, Wilson Ramos, Jeff Mathis and AJ Ellis just recently off the board. Some notable names left on the market include Weiters, Nick Hundley, Kurt Suzuki and Chris Iannetta among others.