The Minnesota Twins have agreed to a deal with free agent catcher Jason Castro, according to a report from Ken Rosenthal. Jeff Passan confirmed the report, adding that the deal will be worth $24.5 million over three seasons.
Source: #Twins to sign free-agent catcher Jason Castro.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 22, 2016
Source: Jason Castro and Twins agree to a three-year, $24.5M deal.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 22, 2016
Earlier Tuesday, Rosenthal reported that Castro had multiple three-year deals on the table, editorializing that whichever team is willing to offer a fourth year may be granted the edge. As it turns out, the Twins were able to agree to a contract with the 29-year-old free agent without having to commit another year. While the breakdown of the contract is not yet known, the deal just barely tops an average annual salary of $8 million per year.
Over 376 plate appearances last season, Castro posted a slash line of .210/.307/.377. By wRC+, his offensive productivity fell 12 percent below the league average. However, of the 20 catchers across the major leagues with at least 350 plate appearances, just seven posted better than league average marks at the plate. Furthermore, Castro had the third-best walk rate of any of those catchers. While he also struck out a lot which hampered his on-base numbers considerably, Castro showed a knack for not swinging at pitches outside of the zone.
Most importantly about Castro’s contribution though is his effort behind the plate. Not particularly lauded for his pitch framing abilities prior to 2014, according to Baseball Prospectus Castro has saved his team 39.5 runs in the three seasons since then just by framing pitches well.
Whether the Twins continue to make additions throughout the offseason remains to be seen. While Castro is by no means the final piece in what seems like a postseason-bound roster, it does signal that the Twins front office is forward thinking enough to consider the value of pitch framing and defense toward the production of wins.