Castro's goal for potential final season: World Series title

March 25th, 2022

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Astros catcher  said Friday he’s considering retiring at the end of the 2022 season. Castro, 34, is in the final year of his contract.

“I don’t want to jump to any conclusions, but my main focus is this season and making this the best season that I can, from a personal perspective, from a team perspective,” he said. “That’s the first goal, first and foremost.”

Castro, selected by the Astros in the first round of the 2008 MLB Draft, ranks third on the Astros’ all-time games caught list with 624, behind Brad Ausmus and Alan Ashby. He left the Astros in free agency following the 2016 season -- the year before they won the World Series -- and spent three seasons with the Twins (2017-19) before splitting 2020 between the Angels and Padres and returning to Houston last year.

“To be back in the organization that I came up in, that I was drafted by, to have gone through the rebuild that we did and to have left when I did and being able to come back and be in the World Series last year and hopefully repeating ... not only being there but winning a championship this year with this team, would be a pretty cool story,” he said. “That’s the goal, that’s the hope. I’m just grateful for the opportunity to be able to come back here and be on this team that has given me so much in my baseball career.”

Castro said several factors will play into his decision whether he will return for another season, though retirement is something he’s been considering for a while.

“I’ll take the year to take things into account and we’ll see where we’re at the end of the year,” he said.

Last year, Castro hit .235 with a .799 OPS in 66 games with the Astros, primarily serving as the backup to Martín Maldonado. He was 2-for-7 in the postseason with a home run in six games off the bench but missed the final three games of the World Series after testing positive for COVID-19. He also had two stints on the injured list with left Achilles’ soreness and right knee discomfort.

“I’m trying to do everything I can to be healthy and stay on the field as much as I can,” he said. “Like I said, the goal is to win a championship. Whatever I need to do to help this team do that, that’s what I’m looking to do.”

Castro broke in with the Astros in 2010 and missed the entire 2011 season after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament while running the bases in Spring Training. He was Houston’s starting catcher through its rebuilding years, which included three consecutive 100-loss seasons, and he was the club’s lone All-Star in 2013. That season he posted a .835 OPS, hit 18 homers and collected 56 RBIs.

“The last 13 years, roughly, have gone by very quickly, but if I think back to some of those teams that I was on my rookie year and some of those guys who were on the team, it seems like a long time ago -- while at the same time feeling like it passed very quickly,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed all my experiences and have been very fortunate to have been given the opportunities that I had in baseball. I’m just trying to be grateful and enjoy every moment.”

Castro and his wife, Maris, both of whom graduated from Stanford, have made a home in Houston with their three kids, including a newborn. He’s not sure where his post-playing life will take him, but he wants to remain in the game.

“That’s something my wife asks me all the time, ‘What do I want to do after?’” he said. “I don’t know what I want to do. I could definitely see myself staying in baseball in some capacity. What that means? I don’t know, honestly. We’ll definitely cross that bridge when I get there.”