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Nats add catcher depth with Castillo (source)

@jessicacamerato
December 21, 2020

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

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.

The Nationals also have two catchers among their top-30 prospects, per MLB Pipeline -- Tres Barrera (No. 19) and Raudy Read (No. 27).

“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.”

Jessica Camerato covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @jessicacamerato, Facebook and Instagram.