Continuing a theme of free agent marks the Pirates should look into, we will take a look at catcher Jason Castro. Earlier we looked at Yasmani Grandal but his price tag is likely out of the Pirates range if the team is adding other pieces as well. Jason’s price tag is much lower
Jason has been the majors a good part of the past nine years with the Astros and Twins. His career slash line is .231/.313/.390, but he does have some pop in his bat that could reasonably show 15 to 20 home runs in a full season. Not overly impressive.
Jason’s desirability is not his bat however, it is his glove. What he doesn’t have with a bat he makes up with his glove. Until 2018 he consistently posted at least a 2fWAR while having a weak bat. in the previous two seasons he has played very little during that time he continued to show very good defense when he did play.
In 2019 we got very poor play from Elias Diaz, having Jason in the mix will give the Pirate’s a top notch defensive catcher and should Elias rebound, between the two of them we could have one of the best catching tandems in the league again. Having a quality pitch framer like Castro would also help improve the the pitching results.
MLBTR projects a two year, $10m deal for him which seems pretty fair. However, given the Pirates lack of depth at catcher and Jason’s pretty consistent performance on the field I would like to go longer.
I would do a three year $14m with a fourth year option of $6m and a $1m buy out. Regardless of how the contract ends he would end up with an annual average of $5m.
This deal would provide the Pirates with a few years to groom a young catcher while providing some stability at the position if the team decides now is the time.