Welington Castillo has been the center of trade rumors since the Chicago Cubs acquired Miguel Montero and David Ross during the offseason. After a strong start to the 2015 season, the Cubs may take their time in finding a suitable trade for him, or they may even forget about it.
Many people were surprised to see Manager Joe Maddon carrying three catchers into the 2015 season since Castillo was supposed to be gone, but the Cubs have held on to him. Castillo was reportedly shopped in the offseason but the Cubs had no leverage to get a good return for him.
Castillo, 27, is a career .257 hitter who struggled last season with a .237 batting average. His struggles coupled with the fact that teams know the Cubs have a surplus of catchers have brought down Castillo’s trade value.
Castillo has appeared in four games so far this season. He has two hits in six at-bats with three RBI and they were both late in close games while the Cubs were down. While it is a small sample size, it could be a good sign.
Castillo’s early success has given the Cubs some thinking to do. They could have real options if he keeps taking advantage of playing time and forcing Maddon to think about using him more.
It’s possible they could consider him a valuable bat off the bench to appear late in games and make something happen, which is a great asset to have, especially in the National League.
"Castillo wants to start, but after Tuesday’s loss against the Reds, he told the Chicago Tribune, “If I get my at-bats every day, I can help the team win by doing the little things like I did today and the day before…So why not? I can still be part of the club. Any time I get a chance, I’ll do my best to win the game and help my teammates.”"
On the other hand, the Cubs could see this as an opportunity to finally trade Castillo after they tried for some time. Having three catchers on one team is rare, and while Maddon is a man who ventures on the weird side of managing more often than the typical manager, it could be seen as a waste of a roster space.
Whichever path the Cubs decide to take with Welington Castillo, there is no doubt that his early success has put the Cubs in a better position than they were just two weeks ago.