Astros may make Jason Castro available

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Catcher Jason Castro was the Astros’ most productive player throughout the 2013 season but they may make him available in a trade depending on the development of catching prospect Max Stassi and their ability to sign Castro to a contract extension, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Castro, 26, is eligible for arbitration for the first time and can become a free agent after the 2016 season.

In his first full season in the big leagues, Castro finished 2013 with a .276/.350/.485 line and was the fourth-most valuable catcher in baseball according to FanGraphs WAR (min. 400 plate appearances).

Stassi, who turns 23 in March, moved up to Double-A for the first time and enjoyed a lot of success. In 323 plate appearances with Corpus Christi, he posted an .863 OPS with 17 home runs. He is also highly regarded for his ability to play defense. If Stassi continues to progress rapidly and the Astros are able to sign Castro to an extension, Rosenthal suggests the Astros may move Castro to first base.

Jimmy Nelson expected to miss “a chunk” of the 2018 season after shoulder surgery

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Brewers pitcher Jimmy Nelson recently underwent surgery on his right shoulder. The hope was that it would be a routine procedure, but it ended up being more invasive than expected as he needed a labrum repair. Brewers GM David Stearns said Nelson will likely miss “a chunk” of the 2018 season.

Nelson, 28, ended his 2017 campaign with a 12-6 record, a 3.49 ERA, and a 199/48 K/BB ratio in 175 1/3 innings. He is a big reason why the Brewers are still in contention in the NL Central and in the NL Wild Card race.

Nelson is under team control through 2020, so the Brewers don’t have any pressure to rush him back. The club should know more about his timetable in the offseason.

Padres sign Clayton Richard to a contract extension

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The Padres announced on Wednesday that the club signed pitcher Clayton Richard to a contract extension through the 2019 season. It’s a two-year, $6 million deal, per MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell.

Executive VP and GM A.J. Preller said, “Clayton has been a steadying presence in our rotation, both on and off the field. He has provided veteran leadership for our young ball club, and his tireless work ethic sets the standard among his peers. We’re extremely excited to have him in a Padres uniform for two more years.”

Richard, 34, is tied for the league lead in losses at 14. Along with that, he has a 4.82 ERA with a 136/55 K/BB ratio in 185 innings. The lefty earned $1.75 million in 2017 and was eligible to become a free agent after the season.