Houston Astros, MLB Free Agency, MLB Hot Stove, MLB Trade Rumors

Houston Astros bring back catcher Jason Castro

After earlier rumors of a possible reunion, the Houston Astros have agreed to a deal with free agent catcher Jason Castro.

In early December the two sides were reported to be talking, and now it’s done. According to multiple reports, the Houston Astros and catcher Jason Castro have agreed to a deal.

Ken Rosenthal and Jake Kaplan of The Athletic first reported it was a one-year deal. USA Today’s Bob Nightengale and Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reported it’s a two-year deal for Castro, and he will earn $7 million guaranteed. ESPN’s Jeff Passan has added he can make an additional $2 million based on the number of games he catches in 2021.

Jason Castro is coming back to the Astros

Castro was a first-round pick by the Astros in 2008. He spent the first six seasons of his big league career with them, including an All-Star selection in 2013. He signed a three-year deal with the Minnesota Twins after the 2016 season, with two double-digit homer seasons and a 102 OPS+ (13 home runs and a .435 slugging percentage over 275 plate appearances) in 2019. He split the 2020 campaign between the Los Angeles Angels and the San Diego Padres, with a combined .188/.293/.375 slash-line, two home runs and nine RBI over 92 plate appearances.

This time around with the Astros, Castro is set to form some kind of a platoon behind the plate with Martin Maldonado. His career OPS is nearly 200 points higher against right-handers (.749; .553 against left-handers), with a slugging percentage 130 points higher against righties (.421). Maldonado’s career OPS is 33 points different the other direction. Kaplan suggests Maldonado will be the clear starter though.

Castro still registers about average marks for his defense. Anything notable he offers offensively is a bonus at this point in his career, but he does have a bit of pop in his bat. He’ll surely be deployed against righties practically exclusively, so the Astros will be probably wind up happy with what they get from the reunion.

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