Jason Castro‘s seemingly minor knee injury has taken him from “day-to-day” to “out 4-6 weeks” to now “done for the season,” the Twins announced Wednesday.
Castro sat out back-to-back games April 30-May 1 because of right knee soreness, but he returned to play the next three days. On May 5, he went on the DL with a meniscus tear, and surgery Monday, expected to sideline for a month or so, turned up damage quite a bit more significant than expected, ruling Castro out for the year.
Castro was valued primarily for his framing skills when the Twins gave him a three-year, $21 million contract prior to last season, and he’s hit .227/.321/.365 over 419 at-bats in the last year and a quarter. In his absence, the Twins will go with Mitch Garver and journeyman Bobby Wilson as sort of an offense-defense combo behind the plate. They have no immediate plans to seek someone better, but they’d be smart to explore any opportunities that come along.
The Cincinnati Reds have signed outfielder Nicholas Castellanos to a four-year deal worth $64 million. The contract includes opt-outs after both 2020 and 2021, which is certainly good for Castellanos, allowing him to go back out on the market if he has a big year. Odd that the Reds would agree to that, but on an annual basis it’s kind of a bargain for them so you figure that has something to do with it.
With Castellanos in the fold the Reds are going to have a lot of outfielders when they hit Goodyear, Arizona in a couple of weeks, with newcomer Shogo Akiyama, Jesse Winkler, Nick Senzel, Aristides Aquino, Travis Jankowski, Scott Schebler, and Rule 5 draftee Mark Payton already on the roster. Senzel was an infielder before last year, of course, so he could move back to the dirt, perhaps taking over short from Freddy Galvis, who could be dealt. Alternatively, the Reds could trade from their newfound outfield surplus.
Castellanos, however, will have left field to himself. While he’s shaky at best with the glove, he had a breakout year at the plate in 2019, hitting .289/.337/.525 overall (OPS+ 121), but slugging at a blistering .321/.356/.646 pace (OPS+ 151) after being traded from the Tigers to the Cubs. In Chicago — rescued from cavernous Comerica Park — his big doubles power turned into big homer power.
Now that he’ll be playing in hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark one can only imagine the damage he’d do.