The Orioles have agreed to a 1-year, $6 million deal with catcher Welington Castillo, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports. The deal includes a $7 million player option for 2018, meaning Castillo is guaranteed $13 million.
Baltimore identified Castillo as its top catching target after the veteran was non-tendered by the Diamondbacks earlier in the month, and was said to be a leader for his services during the Winter Meetings. Recent reports cited an agreement as unlikely, though the sides were able to work out their perceived differences and reach a deal.
Castillo, 29, will take over for Matt Wieters as Baltimore’s primary catcher after spending a year and a half in Arizona. He will serve as a short-term stopgap for the O’s behind the plate until prospect Chance Sisco is ready to take over full-time, giving a potential contender a proven catching option next season.
Castillo was reportedly looking for a multi-year deal in free agency, but instead received the option to cash in next winter on the open market if he has a good season. If he struggles, Castillo will simply return to Baltimore for 2017, effectively making the contract a 2-year, $13 million agreement.
Castillo hit .264/.322/.423 with 14 homers in 113 games for the Diamondbacks last season, and is considered an offense-first catcher with considerable power potential. His signing is the first major addition for an Orioles’ team that is still looking to re-sign slugger Mark Trumbo in free agency.