The LA Angels were always going to be in the market for free agent catching this offseason, and Jason Castro might be the best of the bunch left.
While most free agents still sit left unsigned as we stroll through December, the LA Angels have already missed out on a few catchers signed right of the gate this offseason. So while there will be no Yasmani Grandal sightings in Anaheim (other than when the White Sox come to Anaheim in late April), there are still a handful of quality options left for Billy Eppler to target.
If he isn’t the best, Jason Castro might be the most interesting. While his overall numbers aren’t overly impressive, that is due to a huge difference in his splits against right-handed and left-handed pitchers.
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First of all, throughout Castro’s career he has been well-known as a rock solid defensive catcher. He still grades out as such, and his ability to manage a game has been more and more enhanced as the years have gone on.
Now, back to his offense. Castro absolutely mashed last year against right-handed pitchers. He posted a 123 wRC+ when facing righties. Against southpaws, he performed much worse with an abysmal -2 wRC+. For some context, a wRC+ of 60 is considered downright awful. Posting a negative wRC+ is a rare occurrence. Basically, Castro is a net zero when facing southpaws.
The Angels current catchers aren’t enough to form a platoon with Castro, either. Max Stassi is one of the worst offensive catchers in baseball, and Anthony Bemboom has barely played in the MLB. If the Angels want their catching position to be a strength, Castro is a good start. However, they’ll need to either find someone to platoon alongside him.
If they’re comfortable with playing Stassi against southpaws and value his elite defense enough to start him on those days, then they’re fine with complacency at the catcher position. If they really want a complete lineup 1-9 everyday, then they need to find a catcher who can rake against lefties. They’re scheduled to meet with Martin Maldonado next week, and he could be a perfect option to form a 1-2 punch alongside Castro.
Jason Castro would be a great start to solving the Angels’ vacancy at catcher. However, if signing Casto is all the Halos decide to do to improve the position, then it will be another year of mediocrity from the Angels’ catchers.