Despite previous reports about his impending retirement Jorge Posada has not made an official announcement that he’s calling it quits, but the longtime Yankees catcher told Adam Berry of MLB.com that he’s “not getting prepared for another season, that’s for sure.”
Posada added that he “tried” to get ready to play in 2012 but “it’s not in me … more and more days started going by, and nothing’s going in the right direction.”
So why hasn’t he made things official yet? Posada said that he plans to talk things over with his family in order to be certain he’s making the right decision and will likely have an announcement in a couple weeks.
Posada struggled last season, hitting just .235 with a .714 OPS in 115 games while transitioning from catcher to designated hitter, but it’s worth noting that the 39-year-old switch-hitter batted .269 with an .814 OPS versus right-handed pitching. His brutal 6-for-65 (.069) mark versus lefties dragged his overall numbers down, but Posada remained plenty effective against righties.
Five years from now he’ll be an interesting Hall of Fame case, because voters tend to underrate catchers and Posada’s counting stats were likely hurt by getting a late start in the majors. Among all catchers with at least 5,000 plate appearances his .848 OPS ranks fifth in baseball history, sandwiched between Hall of Famers Gabby Hartnett and Yogi Berra, and even with his poor defense factored in he also ranks 12th all-time in Wins Above Replacement among catchers.
The Astros have reportedly agreed to terms with free agent DH/outfielder Carlos Beltran for a one-year, $16 million contract, per ESPN’s Buster Olney. The deal includes a complete no-trade clause, according to a report from Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
Beltran elected to return to the Astros after fielding offers from the Yankees, Blue Jays, and Red Sox. He appeared in Houston during the second half of 2004, batting .258/.368/.559 with 23 home runs in 399 PA and making his first postseason run to the tune of a .435 average and eight homers as the Astros battled their way through to a seven-game loss in the Championship Series. Beltran also played with Houston manager A.J. Hinch and bench coach Alex Cora in separate stints with the Royals and Mets, which the Houston Chronicle’s Jake Kaplan cited as possible influences in the Astros’ decision to pursue the free agent.
In 2016, Beltran split the season between the Yankees and Rangers after getting dealt at the deadline for a package of right-handed pitching prospects. He was stationed in right field for the majority of his time in New York, but was almost exclusively utilized as a designated hitter over 52 games in Texas. Between the two clubs, he batted an impressive .295/.337/.513 with 29 homers and earned his ninth career All-Star designation to boot.
The veteran slugger is expected to fill a similar role on the Astros, who need a full-time DH but could use some additional support in the outfield corner. Olney envisions a lineup with Beltran in the five-spot, per an earlier report:
Catcher Welington Castillo was non-tendered by the Diamondbacks on Friday, making him one of 35 additional players to enter the free agent pool. Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reported that Castillo was drawing interest from the Rays, among a bevy of major league clubs, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s David O’Brien added that the Braves have “some interest” as well.
The Rays’ trifecta of catchers — Curt Casali, Luke Maile, and Bobby Wilson — did little to inspire confidence behind the plate in 2016, and with top free agent Wilson Ramos sidelined after suffering a torn ACL in September, it makes sense that they’d explore more affordable options. Castillo profiled well at the plate during his first full season with the Diamondbacks, slashing .264/.322/.423 with 14 home runs in 457 PA. Behind the dish, he placed third among all qualified major league catchers with seven DRS (Defensive Runs Saved), though his league-leading 10 passed balls weren’t anything to write home about.
Unlike the Rays, the Braves have a serviceable catching platoon in Tyler Flowers and Anthony Recker. Beyond that, their catching depth is fairly shallow despite the recent addition of former Mariners’ outfield prospect Alex Jackson. Jackson, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Mark Bradley, has not played behind the plate since high school, though GM John Coppolella is reportedly interested in trying him there again. A.J. Pierzynski is also rumored to be seeking a deal elsewhere in free agency, which could open the door for a multi-year deal with Castillo.