[The trade is now official, but you can peruse below for how things developed in real time, and thoughts on the trade as it went down.]
So much to say about this, even though all we have so far is a single tweet from Jeff Passan:
Source: Cubs have traded catcher Welington Castillo to Seattle.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) May 19, 2015
Thoughts and analysis shortly, together with updates as this proceeds.
UPDATE: First, some thoughts. Obviously a Welington Castillo trade, by definition, cannot be a surprise ever since the moment the Cubs signed David Ross to back up Miguel Montero, dating back to December. The catching market never shaped up – for any team, not just the Cubs – this offseason, and the Cubs made due with three catchers. It wasn’t easy having such a short bench, but Joe Maddon didn’t really seem hamstrung by it until the last week or so when the catching situation combined with the bullpen situation to create a real problem. I wouldn’t expect the return here to be significant, though Castillo does provide nice value as a back-up in the AL, where he could occasionally DH against lefties to make sure his bat is in the lineup. He plays good defense, has offensive upside, is cost-controlled, and has (statistically) improved his poor framing this year.
The Cubs must feel pretty good about Ross’s (and Montero’s) health, as well as the guys they’ve got in waiting at AAA – Taylor Teagarden and Rafael Lopez – to make the deal now.
UPDATE 2: On the return, it’s conceivable that the Cubs could try and pick up a reliever in the deal, and it’s also conceivable that Dustin Ackley – formerly a top young player – is about to get a change of scenery. There were rumblings about that as recently as yesterday (not specifically connected to the Cubs). It wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Cubs simply pick up a minor leaguer or two, though.
UPDATE 3 (8:31am CT) : And the local confirmation on Castillo being dealt, so this is really happening:
Source confirms Cubs catcher Welington Castillo has been traded to the Seattle Mariners as @JeffPassan tweeted,
— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) May 19, 2015
UPDATE 4 (8:44am CT): Still waiting on word of the return, though I’ve been chatting with some folks on Twitter about the possibility of non-player inclusions. Which is to say, don’t forget about the theoretical possibility of IFA slots coming to the Cubs, or maybe even the Mariners’ Comp B draft pick this year. I’m not saying those are likely inclusions, just that they are possible trade pieces you might not otherwise think about.
UPDATE 5 (8:47am CT): Rob Bradford notes that the Red Sox – whom you may recall have lost approximately one catcher for every week of the season – were not interested in Castillo. That suggests the Cubs have been doing some shopping in recent weeks, and also suggests they weren’t just giving Castillo away.
UPDATE 6 (9:05am CT): This is quite a long time between initial report and rest-of-deal for this kind of trade. In larger deals or very minor deals, you might see several hours of updates before things are finally revealed. For this kind of middle of the road trade, though, usually the return comes out pretty quickly. In any case, while we ponder the return, also ponder who will take Castillo’s spot on the big league roster. Will Arismendy Alcantara get another shot? Tommy La Stella would have been obvious, but it depends on whether he really did re-aggravate his side this weekend. I still don’t think Javier Baez is going to come up unless he gets regular starts, so we’ll see.
UPDATE 7 (9:41am CT): Mark Gonzales reports that the Cubs will receive “a prospect” in the trade. Obviously that could encapsulate a wide range of things, but it would mean no Ackley and no big league reliever (unless it was an upper-level, AAA/MLB reliever type).
UPDATE 8: The official announcement, and I’ll have thoughts on the deal soon:
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) May 19, 2015
FINAL UPDATE: Here’s the “it’s official” trade post, with more on Medina. Although he’s not a “prospect,” I can understand why some were using that shorthand since he’s headed to AAA.