Trying week for Castro ends with deal

January 11th, 2020

BALTIMORE -- The Orioles on Friday officially announced they avoided arbitration with reliever . Sources told the sides came to terms on a one-year, $1.05 million contract for the 2020 season.

Castro, 25, was first-year arbitration eligible after going 1-3 with a 4.66 ERA over 65 appearances in 2019, when he spent long stretches as the Orioles’ most effective reliever. He earned $569,000 last season and was projected to get a raise to $1.25 million through arbitration, per estimations by Cot’s Contracts. His ‘20 salary reportedly features awards bonuses.

The agreement comes near the end of what was a trying week for Castro personally. In a since-deleted Instagram post on Tuesday night, Castro wrote he had been robbed at gunpoint for jewelry outside the ballpark he trains at in his hometown La Romana, Dominican Republic. Castro did not suffer any physical injuries from the incident, multiple sources told

“I almost lost my career because two illiterate people attacked me while I arrived at the ballpark where I am training,” Castro wrote in the post. “They took my chains when I got there and they almost shot me. That God that their gun got jammed. I’m alive thanks to the grace of God.”

Dominican Republic authorities arrested two of the alleged robbers, a source said, and a third individual is still a fugitive.

Castro, who grew up in poverty and has made more than $2.6 million in career earnings, famously paid for a pair of serious medical operations for each of his parents after signing for a $43,000 bonus as an 18-year-old. He is expected to report to Spring Training without any physical limitations.

“This has to stop,” Castro continued in his Instagram post. “They took my chains and they wanted to kill me. This has to stop. It’s unbelievable that this keeps happening, even at the ballpark where you’re training at.”

The Orioles issued a statement early Wednesday morning that read, “We are in contact with Miguel Castro regarding today’s incident in La Romana, DR, and we are very thankful that he is safe.”

Originally acquired from the Rockies for Minor League righty Jon Keller in April 2017, Castro has pitched to a 4.06 ERA and 1.37 WHIP across 167 appearances for Baltimore over the past three seasons. He enjoyed some of his best outings this past summer, posting a 2.58 ERA in 40 games before suffering a five-run blowup in his penultimate outing. Castro increased his strikeout rate from 15.2 to 22.3 percent last season, lowered his walk rate from 13.3 to 12.9 percent, and boosted his average sinker velocity from 95.4 mph to 97.3 mph. Right-handed batters hit just .218 against Castro across 179 at bats.

Roster move

Designated for assignment in late December to clear space for right-hander , Minor League righty cleared waivers Thursday and was subsequently outrighted to Triple-A Norfolk. That was always the most likely landing spot for Diplan, whom the Orioles claimed off waivers from Detroit in December but has never pitched above Double-A.

Diplan, 23, went 3-5 with a 5.11 ERA and 1.47 WHIP across 38 appearances at Double-A in the Brewers’ and Twins’ systems last season.