Mariners Add Offense With Welington Castillo Trade
In a move that is sure to help bolster the Seattle Mariners’ offense, the club acquired catcher Welington Castillo from the Chicago Cubs Tuesday in exchange for reliever Yoervis Medina. Castillo is expected to slot into the backup slot behind starter Mike Zunino supplanting current backup Jesus Sucre. Castillo earned $2.1 million prior to the season in his first season of arbitration eligibility whereas Medina will earn slightly more than the minimum at $527,300.
According to Fangraphs, Castillo was a slightly above average player in 2012 and 2013 with a 102 and 107 wRC+ yet suffered a slight decline last season (91 wRC+) which prompted the Cubs’ offseason acquisitions of catchers Miguel Montero and David Ross. However, in a closer look at defense which further explains the personnel change behind the dish, Castillo rated last (tied with Jarrod Saltalamacchia) amongst all catchers last year in pitch framing despite putting up rather decent numbers in Total Defensive Runs Saved (+25 in his career) and caught stealing percentage (30% career). As it turns out, Montero ranked first and Ross 13th in total pitches outside the zone that were called strikes.
As for Medina, he was recently demoted to Triple-A after being a mainstay the past two years in the Mariners’ bullpen. He’s demonstrated good GB and LOB rates along with a very solid 9.2 SO/9 and 2.82 ERA in the majors, but this year his strikeout numbers have declined and his walks and FIP have gone up.
Meanwhile, Chicago has recently re-structured part of its bullpen by moving starter Travis Wood into it and designating Phil Coke. Medina will likely join their Triple-A squad for the time being and I find it interesting to note that the Cubs have quietly built up some bullpen depth down in the minors over the past little while by sneaking Drake Britton and Anthony Varvaro through waivers. There’s no telling when the depth might come in handy.