After 17 seasons in the big leagues — yes, 17 seasons — Juan Castro announced his retirement Sunday and took a job as a special assistant in the Dodgers front office.
Now, granted, Castro spent a lot of those 17 seasons playing in the minors, too. He had one at-bat in 1999, three in 2010, four in 1995 and 14 this year. But for 17 straight seasons, Castro got a chance to put on a major league uniform at least once.
And, oddly enough, Castro played for just five teams. He opened and finished his career with the Dodgers, spending parts of eight seasons with the team. He also served two stints and played eight seasons with the Reds.
His best season came with Cincinnati in 2003, when he hit .253/.290/.388 with a career-high nine homers in 320 at-bats. It was his only season over 300 at-bats.
He ends his career with a .229/.268/.327 line, 36 homers and 234 RBI in 2,627 at-bats. That .595 OPS is the worst of any player to have at least 2,000 plate appearances since 1990:
1. Castro – .595
2. Matt Walbeck – .596
3. Rey Ordonez – .600
4. John McDonald – .601
5. Jose Lind – .604
6. Tony Pena Sr. – 607
7. Alvaro Espinoza – .608
8. Mike Benjamin – .617
9. Felix Fermin – .617
10. Cesar Izturis – .618
So, no, Castro wasn’t a very good hitter. He was also far from a speedster, stealing just five bases in 14 lifetime attempts. Still, 17 years is awfully impressive, and it sounds like he has a nice career ahead of him in coaching or in the front office, depending on which route he wants to go.
Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have inked outfielder Eric Young, Jr. to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Young, 31, played in just six games and logged one plate appearance in the majors this past season with the Yankees. He last played regularly in 2014. While Young doesn’t do much with the bat, he could provide value as a pinch-runner. He also offers versatility, having played all three outfield positions along with second base.
The Angels have Ben Revere as their fourth outfielder and Jefry Marte behind him, so Young would need to have a very impressive showing in spring training to find a spot on the Angels’ roster.
Update (5:20 PM EST): It’s a minor league contract, per Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. If he makes the major league roster, Saltalamacchia will earn $1.25 million with an additional $250,000 available through incentives.
The Blue Jays are close to a deal with free agent catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet is reporting.
Saltalamacchia, 31, hit a meager .171/.284/.346 with 12 home runs and 38 RBI in 292 plate appearances with the Tigers this past season. With Russell Martin getting regular playing time behind the plate, Saltalamacchia will serve as his understudy, pushing A.J. Jimenez and Juan Graterol down on the depth chart.
The veteran catcher isn’t far removed from being a productive backstop. He had an .805 OPS in 70 games with the Diamondbacks in 2015 and also helped the Red Sox win the World Series in 2013 with an .804 OPS in 121 games.