The Nationals added to their backstop depth by agreeing to a Minor League deal with catcher Welington Castillo on Monday, a source told MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand. The 33-year-old veteran will earn $950,000 if he makes the Major League club. The team has not announced the deal.
Castillo was with the Nationals in Spring Training this past year on a similar deal. He elected not to play in early July.
Washington is looking to add depth around veteran Yan Gomes -- the lone catcher from the 2020 team on the ‘21 roster -- after Kurt Suzuki became a free agent. The team believes Gomes can start the majority of games, but he will need a backup, if not a platoon partner.
“I think Yan’s capable of it,” general manager Mike Rizzo said last week. “He’s done it on championship-caliber clubs in Cleveland and with us. It’s such a demanding, physically taxing position that we certainly would like to take a little bit of burden off him. But I think he’s capable of playing 90 to 100 games, at least. We’re certainly going to have to get him a complement over there.”
Castillo has appeared in 726 games over 10 seasons with the Cubs, Mariners, D-backs, Orioles and White Sox. He most recently slashed .209/.267/.417 with 12 home runs in 72 games for the White Sox in 2019. Castillo has a career .991 fielding percentage behind the plate.
“Obviously we’re going to go out there and try to find another backup catcher,” manager Dave Martinez said. “We have a couple young guys that are going to come to camp. You never have enough catchers, it’s a tough position. But I really do feel like Yan can go out there every day and handle our pitching staff and play really well.”