Halos land catcher Jason Castro

January 7th, 2020

ANAHEIM -- The Angels agreed to a one-year deal with veteran catcher Jason Castro on Tuesday. The contract is worth $6.85 million, a source told MLB.com.

The Angels had been in the market for a defensive-minded catcher since non-tendering Kevan Smith on Dec. 2, and Castro fits that bill. Castro, 32, is coming off a solid season offensively with the Twins, in which he hit .232/.332/.435 with 13 homers and 30 RBIs in 79 games.

It’s been a busy offseason for the Angels, who signed third baseman Anthony Rendon to a seven-year, $245 million deal, inked right-hander Julio Teheran to a one-year, $9 million pact and traded for right-hander Dylan Bundy. The Angels are still in the market for another starting pitcher, but they appear more likely to go the trade route after starters Hyun-Jin Ryu (Blue Jays), Madison Bumgarner (D-backs) and Dallas Keuchel (White Sox) signed elsewhere.

The left-handed-hitting Castro is a career .231/.313/.390 hitter with 86 homers and 292 RBIs in 825 games in nine seasons with the Astros and Twins. He was an All-Star with Houston in 2013 and joined Minnesota on a three-year, $24 million deal before the 2017 season. Castro was limited to 19 games in '18, undergoing season-ending surgery to repair the meniscus in his right knee.

Castro is expected to split catching duties with Max Stassi, who is recovering from right hip surgery but could be ready by Opening Day. Anthony Bemboom is also on the Halos' 40-man roster and could fill in for Stassi if he’s not ready for the start of the season.

Angels manager Joe Maddon said at the Winter Meetings that he wanted a catcher who works well with pitchers, and Castro has long had that reputation. He also grades out as an above-average pitch-framer, per Statcast. Castro ranked 24th, while Stassi ranked third in pitch-framing among the 64 catchers who caught at least 1,000 innings last year.

Castro is a California native, hailing from Castro Valley, and attended Stanford. He was the No. 10 overall pick in the 2008 Draft by Houston.