The guy that was on most Oriole fans’ radar will be in orange and black next season. Welington Castillo and the Orioles have agreed on a one-year deal for $6 million, with a player option for a second year. Castillo turns 30 this April, and will step right into a starting role with the Birds. His offensive numbers last year aren’t shabby at all, batting .264, having an OBP of .322, slugged .423, hit 14 homers, drove in 68, and hit 24 doubles in 113 games last season. He also hit .278 off lefties last season, and has hit them at a .287 clip over his career, helpful for a team that was one of the worst teams in the league at hitting southpaws. He was brought here as a bridge from The Matt Wieters era to the Chance Sisco (great name) era coming up.
“Beef”, as he is known, was high on many Orioles fans wish list once he became available, and they got their wish. For $6 million, I am 100% in favor of this deal. He will come in for a season, we get Caleb Joseph fully healthy back in his backup role, maybe Caleb even gets an RBI this season. I still expect Joseph to play in a decent amount of games, so this won’t be a normal starting catcher getting 130 games, and backup getting 30. Now the Orioles have two catchers making around $7 million combined, as opposed to bringing Wieters back and paying him probably $19-20 million a year like he wants, or giving him the QO. Castillo has to improve his defense, and even though Wieters had a rough year behind the plate last season, it is no guarantee Castillo will be an improvement back there. He has to improve on the passed balls, especially if he is catching Ubaldo and his herky jerky motion, and has to figure out how to catch that bowling ball that Zach Britton throws. His throwing arm is fine, as he showed last season as he threw out 38% of runners attempting to steal.
This is a classic Dan Duquette move, a cheap guy who will produce for a season. Castillo was rumored to want a three year deal, but nah, he’ll only get one, and like it. That is how Dan does business. This isn’t the splashiest signing of the offseason, but it will be a solid one when we look back at it next season. It is crazy that the Diamondbacks non-tendered him, making him become a free agent, instead of just tendering him a contract and then trading him and getting something in return, but hey, that is why the Diamondbacks are the Diamondbacks.
This doesn’t officially end the Matt Wieters era until he signs somewhere else, but the writing is on the wall. I will keep this short and have a real goodbye for “Mauer With Some Power” when he really leaves, but I will say that it’s going to be weird not seeing 32 behind the plate. Did he live up to the insane expectations? No, he didn’t. Did he put together a great career in Baltimore and become a fan favorite, make four All Star games and win two gold gloves? You’re god damn right he did. Matt Wieters was that first big name in a while that had people excited for baseball in Baltimore. I remember sitting on a couch at Senior week 2007 (Whatup Ocean City, MD, shout out to scopes parties) watching that the O’s took Wieters, and hearing that he was an absolute game changer at catcher. He was going to hit 30 homers, throw out 70% of runners, and run a train on the A.L. East. That never happened, but we did get http://www.mattwietersfacts.com. Great website. I won’t get all sappy on MW right now, but it’s been an honor to watch him play and turn into a top catcher here in Baltimore, but for now, it’s Beef time. Welcome to Baltimore, Welington!
PS. His nickname obviously comes from beef wellington, I’m not going to make any jokes about that because I don’t even know what beef wellington is. That is my stance.