Phillies Should Explore Trade for Cubs’ Welington Castillo
By David Mullen
According to CSN Chicago’s David Kaplan, the Phillies have interest in Chicago Cubs backup catcher Welington Castillo. Castillo’s future with the Cubs has been up in the air since they signed free agent David Ross and acquired Miguel Montero from the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Currently, the Phillies have three catches on the 40-man roster: starter Carlos Ruiz, backup Cameron Rupp, and minor leaguer Tommy Joseph. Ruiz is signed through 2016 at $8.5 million per year with a team option for $4.5 million in 2017. After his 2012 All-Star campaign, the man known as “Chooch” has been beleaguered by injuries, but managed to hit a respectable .252/.347/.370 while providing solid defense behind the plate.
Rupp has bounced back and forth between the minor leagues and the majors with the Phillies in 2013 and 2014. He appeared in 18 games in 2014 and hit for a mere .183/.234/.250 slash line. Joseph, once a heralded catching prospect, has struggled above Single-A ball and appears off the Phillies radar as a future mainstay behind the plate. In 132 games at the Double-A level, between 2013 and 2014, Joseph has managed average power (16 homers) and a horrible feel for the strike zone (110 K/40 BB) while owning a sub-par slash line of .262/.322/.422.
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The current major league catching depth for the Phillies is basically non-existent and General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has said as such.
Time is running out for the beloved “Chooch”
(AP Photo/Michael Perez
With zero major league depth behind Carlos Ruiz, would Welington Castillo be a good target for the Phillies? He sure is. Castillo is not arbitration eligible until 2016, won’™t be a free agent until 2018, and is scheduled to make $2.1 million for the upcoming season.
Castillo is one season removed from getting on base at almost a 35% clip. He took a major step backwards in his 27-year-old season with his batting average dropping 37 points, and his on base percentage dropping 43 points.
His slugging percentage only dropped 8 points, but he added five more homers (13) in 2014 than he had in 2013 (8). Behind the plate, Castillo has shown a very strong arm while being a good receiver who is able to quickly adjust and block balls in the dirt.
Castillo would then be the Phillies answer behind the plate, and he could be a long-term answer if Chooch has a good first half to the season, improving his own trade value. At only 28 and coming in relatively cheap, the Phillies would be wise to take a chance on acquiring this catcher who once showed an ability to get on base in the bottom third of the lineup while providing above average defense.