Philadelphia Phillies: 3 bargain free-agent infielders for bench depth

Willi Castro #9 of the Detroit Tigers (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)
Willi Castro #9 of the Detroit Tigers (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images) /
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Willi Castro #9 of the Detroit Tigers (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)
Willi Castro #9 of the Detroit Tigers (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images) /

1. Willi Castro

The 25-year-old Willi Castro was recently released by the Detroit Tigers. Castro flashed on the scene in the 2020 pandemic-shortened season, hitting .349 with six home runs, 24 RBI and a 154 wRC+ in 140 plate appearances. However, he has failed to replicate that success since and was let go this offseason after hitting just .241 during the 2022 season.

So, what would Castro bring to a team like the defending National League champion Phillies? First off, he is not far removed from being a highly regarded prospect — just as was Brandon Marsh before Dombrowski acquired him from the Los Angeles Angels at the trade deadline. Castro was ranked as a Top-20 prospect in the Tigers organization before his breakout 2020 season. He is a switch-hitter who has the potential for above-average power.

While Castro has regressed as a defender, he does offer positional versatility. A career middle infielder, Castro expanded his repertoire to play all three outfield positions to get more playing time with the Tigers. He has above-average speed and is good for a few stolen bases a season.

FanGraphs projects Castro’s 2023 season to look similar to 2022: a .248 batting average, five home runs, and being worth 0.4 wins above replacement. He projects slightly better than what the Phillies got from Johan Camargo in 2022 — with more upside and for half the price. Castro made $700,000 last season and could likely be had for the same this offseason.

Do you want Castro as an everyday player on a World Series team? No. Would he be a potential upgrade on players like Camargo and be good competition for internal players like Nick Maton? Potentially. He may be worth a look at a cheap price tag.

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