This weekend, the Boston Red Sox lost starting catcher Ryan Hanigan to a broken finger, which, coupled with the earlier injury to catcher Christian Vazquez, necessitated the possibly-premature call-up of top catching prospect Blake Swihart.
Presuming that the Red Sox would prefer not to lean so heavily on Swihart just yet, many started openly speculating about the possibility of Boston reaching out to try and pick up a catcher in trade. For example:
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) May 2, 2015
Whether it’s Castillo or someone else, the Red Sox are expected to consider external options:
Even with Blake Swihart coming up, Sox may pursue a veteran catcher for depth purposes.
— Nick Cafardo (@nickcafardo) May 2, 2015
Industry source: Swihart will join Red Sox Sat. though Sox will continue to explore external options. Saltalamacchia not among them, however
— Sean McAdam (@Sean_McAdam) May 2, 2015
Hanigan is already on the 60-day disabled list, so the Red Sox clearly aren’t anticipating that his is a mere short-term injury. In that light, then, it does make some sense for them to consider picking up a catcher in trade. Does Castillo make sense, though?
On the one hand, Castillo offers offensive upside and quality defense. On the other hand, Castillo’s receiving skills have been called into question for years. On the other other hand, some early metrics this year say Castillo’s been slightly above average in framing.
Perhaps the greater question, as it always is in these situations, is how much the Red Sox are willing to give up for a young-ish catcher who comes with team control … when that’s arguably something they don’t need. Vazquez and Hanigan will be back eventually, and Swihart will likely be ready by next year. In other words, the value Castillo provides in the form of team control beyond 2015 might not be all that “valuable” to the Red Sox, specifically.
Still, if the Red Sox do look at a trade, they will reportedly not consider a reunion with recently DFA’d Jarrod Saltalamacchia (also maligned for his framing). The Boston Herald suggests that the framing limitations there are the reason, and, for that reason, Castillo is not a fit, either.
For now, any connection between the Red Sox and Cubs on a Castillo deal seems speculative. But, given the possibility of a match, the situation merits watching, particularly if Swihart struggles to adjust over the next couple weeks.
All that said, having three catchers on the roster thus far for the Cubs hasn’t been a disaster. Castillo has flourished in his role off of the bench, Miguel Montero is hitting well lately (and the pitchers love him), and David Ross is filling the role he was expected to as a veteran leader and Jon Lester’s primary catcher.
With the ever-looming possibility of an injury to one of the Cubs’ own catchers, it’s possible they’re content to carry all three well into midseason, and then re-evaluate as the Trade Deadline approaches.
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