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Report: Rays have made an initial offer to Jason Castro

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The Rays have thrown their hat in the ring for catcher Jason Castro, who hit the open market this offseason and has reportedly been in talks with the Twins and Braves, among other teams. According to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, comments from Castro’s agent Fred Wray suggest that the 29-year-old free agent is weighing the Rays’ initial offer against competing bids from other clubs.

Castro’s appeal lies in his defensive profile and relative good health. While he batted just above the Mendoza line during his sixth consecutive season with the Astros, his pitch framing provided substantial value to the team’s 2016 run. Over 111 starts behind the plate, he placed seventh among major league catchers with 17.0 Framing Runs in 6,623 framing chances (via Baseball Prospectus).

Castro isn’t the only free agent catcher on the market this winter, but Wray doesn’t appear to be in a rush to lock down a deal. The former Astros catcher is expected to attract a multi-year offer, though his agent declined to go into specifics this early in the offseason.

Brewers have 3 positive COVID tests at alternate site

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
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MILWAUKEE — The Brewers had two players and a staff member test positive for the coronavirus at their alternate training site in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Milwaukee president of baseball operations David Stearns confirmed the positive results Saturday and said they shouldn’t impact the major league team. Teams are using alternate training sites this season to keep reserve players sharp because the minor league season was canceled due to the pandemic.

Stearns said the positive tests came Monday and did not name the two players or the staff member. Players must give their permission for their names to be revealed after positive tests.

The entire camp was placed in quarantine.

“We have gone through contact tracing,” Stearns said. “We do not believe it will have any impact at all on our major league team. We’ve been fortunate to get through this season relatively unscathed in this area. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get all the way there at our alternate site.”

Milwaukee entered Saturday one game behind the Reds and Cardinals for second place in the NL Central, with the top two teams qualifying for the postseason.

The Brewers still will be able to take taxi squad players with them on the team’s trip to Cincinnati and St. Louis in the final week of the season. He said those players have had repeated negative tests and the team is “confident” there would be no possible spread of the virus.

“Because of the nature of who these individuals were, it’s really not going to affect the quarantine group at all,” Stearns said. “We’re very fortunate that the group of players who could potentially be on a postseason roster for us aren’t interacting all that much with the individuals that tested positive.”