White Sox fail to add highly touted free agent catcher as division rival Twins sign him for three years. Catcher is still a need for team this offseason.
The Chicago White Sox failed to add to a position of need this offseason. Free agent catcher Jason Castro signed a 3-year $24.5 million contract with the Minnesota Twins. The Sox needed a catcher like Castro because of his framing capabilities.
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However, the Sox are reportedly going to rebuild and didn’t add the much needed catcher to its team. What’s frustrating is the team allowed a division rival to sign the catcher. Castro isn’t the best offensive catcher as he hit .210 last season in 113 games with the Houston Astros.
Castro’s biggest asset is his pitch framing. The Sox struggled with this in 2016 as they relied heavily on Dioner Navarro for majority of the season. According to StatCorner, Navarro’s oSTR percentage (percent of pitches outside of strike zone called a strike) was 6.9. Alex Avilla, who shared some starting duties had a 6.2 oSTR percentage. Castro oSTR was 8.3 percent.
The Sox inability to have a catcher with solid pitch framing this past season hurt the pitching staff. With the Sox not choosing to sign Castro, this could be a problem again for the team next season.
Currently, there are other catchers on the free agent market, but none have better pitch framing stats than Castro. Matt Wieters oSTR% was 6.7 in 2016 with the Orioles. Nick Hundley had a oSTR% of 6.1 with the Rockies this past season.
The Sox missed on a golden opportunity to add solid pitch framing for 2017 by not signing Castro. In typical Sox fashion, fans of the team shouldn’t be surprised. Although this team could rebuild this offseason, the Twins aren’t going to contend next season but they still signed Castro. The Sox need to make moves, but the hesitancy to do so could ultimately hurt them for 2017.