Castillo going “all-in” as odd man out
Going from the previous season’s starter to third on the depth chart could shake anyone’s confidence. The Chicago Cubs did what they felt they needed to in order to improve their team. But unable to moveWelington Castillo
, the cupboard is quite full–and the young backstop has taken the whole situation in stride.
If Castillo was on any other team, with any other manager–he’d likely not find himself in this situation. He may have been released, sent to Triple-A or some other solution. But Joe Maddon likes to do some different things with his roster, and having a third catcher doesn’t seem to be a hindrance in any way to him.
And Castillo is just rolling with it all. Sunday’s game is a perfect example of maintaining professionalism in a difficult role. Called on to pinch hit for Jonathan Herrera with two-out, Castillo singled, driving in Arismendy Alcantara, allowing the opportunity for Dexter Fowler to do what he did. No moping on the bench. He was ready to go, and did exactly what he said he wants to do, as he told Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times prior to the start of the season.
"“I can’t worry about what’s going to happen in two weeks, because I can’t control that,” he said this week. “I just let those guys decide what they’re going to do. I’m just here. I’m still here. My focus is to get better every day and try to win the most games that we can win for this team.”"
Alcantara is another reason that Castillo has been afforded the opportunity, due to his versatility. Being able to move around the field keeps Maddon safe from having one of the catchers stuck playing out of position. Whether coincidence due to Maddon’s style, or a calculated move by the Cubs’ skipper, Castillo has embraced the odd role of third-string catcher.
The Chicago Cubs may still look to move Castillo, and the market may have opened up a bit with the Indians loss of Yan Gomes for 6-8 weeks. But if he does stay, Maddon knows the importance of having him on the team.
"“I just know one thing,” said Maddon, a former minor-league catcher. “If you’re trying to find Welington Castillo in mid-April, you ain’t going to find him — unless you got him.”"