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.
According to Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post, Nationals infielder Danny Espinosa declined to attend the team’s annual Winterfest because of his dissatisfaction with management following their trade for outfielder Adam Eaton.
A source told Castillo that Espinosa’s unhappiness stemmed from a belief that the acquisition would jeopardize his starting role in 2017. With Eaton in center field, Trea Turner will likely return to his post at shortstop, leaving Espinosa out in the cold — or, as the case may be, on the bench. The move shouldn’t come as a big surprise to Espinosa, however, as Nationals’ GM Mike Rizzo spoke to the possibility of trading the infielder or reassigning him to a utility role back in early November.
Offensively, the 29-year-old had a down year in 2016, slashing just .209/.306/.378 with 24 home runs in 601 PA. Defensively, he still profiles among the top shortstops in the National League, with eight DRS (Defensive Runs Saved) and 8.3 Def (Defensive Runs Above Average) in his seventh year with the club.
Espinosa will reach free agency after the 2017 season.
The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.
The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.
Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.
Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.