Castro, who was acquired from the Yankees in exchange for Giancarlo Stanton in December, won’t necessarily be easy to move. He’s set to earn $10 million in 2018, $11 million in 2019, and either a $16 million club option or a $1 million buyout in 2020. While the 27-year-old is a four-time All-Star and has posted a solid .282/.320/.413 career slash line while averaging 14 homers and 11 steals per 162 games, his relatively high salary and the fact that it’s so late in the offseason will likely limit his return value. But considering the fact that Castro was already part of baseball’s most famous rebuilding process to date — he played with the Cubs from 2010-15, but was dealt a year before they snapped their 108-year World Series drought in 2016 — it’s understandable why he’d prefer to win during the late years of his prime.
There aren’t a ton of destinations that make sense for Castro, especially now that the Blue Jays have seemingly solidified their infield mix with the acquisitions of Yangervis Solarte and Aledmys Diaz. The Mets still have an infield vacancy and would seem to be the best fit if Castro is going to be moved, but Josh Harrison also looms as a potential trade acquisition there, and guys like Eduardo Nunez, Brandon Phillips, and old friends Jose Reyes and Neil Walker remain on the free-agent market. New York could also add a third baseman like Mike Moustakas or Todd Frazier and shift Asdrubal Cabrera to second base. The Diamondbacks might also be a good fit for Castro, especially if they’d prefer Brandon Drury to be more of a utility player than an everyday starter at second.
Rosenthal reported last week that the Marlins were not looking to attach the contracts of Castro or infielder Martin Prado in trade talks involving catcher JT Realmuto and outfielder Christian Yelich; with Miami having dropped its payroll under $100 million following the trades of Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, and Dee Gordon, the front office is now in a position to acquire premium prospects for Realmuto and Yelich without having to try to dump salary in the process. If a team is looking to acquire Castro just to fill a need, however, there’s no reason for Miami to hang on to him, as they could further reduce their 2018 payroll and add some depth to their minor-league system in the process.