Last month, the Chicago Cubs netted Miguel Montero in a trade with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Subsequently, the club signed veteran backstop David Ross to a two-year deal – adding fuel to the fire surrounding the rumors of Welington Castillo potentially being dealt.
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Here we are, a few days into the New Year – and Castillo is still a member of the Cubs.
Last season, the 27-year-old backstop set career-highs in home runs (13) and runs batted in (46) – but saw his average drop from .274 the year prior to .237. His on-base percentage also fell around 50 points, leading many to speculate about his future role with the organization – especially when those struggles were coupled with the shortcomings he’s displayed defensively
David Ross will likely serve as Jon Lester‘s personal battery mate, as well as veteran leadership for a club that features one of the youngest rosters in all of Major League Baseball. Montero, on the other hand, will probably the team’s primary backstop given his past successes as a member of the Diamondbacks.
Which, once again, leaves Castillo as the odd man out.
Last month, we ran down a list of options for Castillo – including the Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies, Texas Rangers, Boston Red Sox and Oakland Athletics. Several of you also suggested Castillo could be included in a package to land Philadelphia Phillies’ ace Cole Hamels – although I personally don’t see Chicago making a move for the left-hander this winter – especially given the strength of next year’s free agent crop of pitching.
That being said, the rumor mill has been dead-silent of late regarding the Cubs catcher.
With just over five weeks until pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training, Castillo’s future is as uncertain as ever. Once regarded as a cornerstone of the franchise – or, at the very least, a key facet of the future – it appears almost guaranteed that he begins 2015 in a uniform belonging to a team different than the one he’s spent his whole career in.
I can’t see the Cubs holding onto Castillo, but I would think that of the teams we originally detailed last month, the list could likely be narrowed a bit. In my opinion, ruling out the Phillies and Rockies seems feasible. Chicago doesn’t seem to be close to dealing for Hamels and the Rockies could very well head into the season with Wilin Rosario behind the plate.
That leaves (and keep in mind, this is a list of possibilities – nothing definite) – Texas, Arizona, Boston and Oakland. Arizona desperately needs a quality option behind the plate and after dealing Derek Norris, Oakland would also benefit from an upgrade at the catcher position offensively.
In short, don’t be surprised when Welington Castillo is dealt. Furthermore, don’t be shocked if he ends up in Texas or Boston – two teams with a need behind the dish.