Minnesota Twins: Options to consider with Jason Castro out
Once again, the Minnesota Twins have been dealt devastating injury news.
Minnesota Twins starting catcher Jason Castro will miss the remainder of the 2018 season. The timeline for Castro’s return from his knee injury was four-six weeks. However, there is more damage than anticipated in his knee and Castro required a full meniscus repair.
This is a huge blow for the Twins. Catcher is one of thinnest positions throughout their Minor League system. Minnesota will need somebody to step up their game and help fill the void Castro has left behind.
The internal option
Mitch Garver will benefit the most from Castro missing this much time. The Minnesota Twins will need Garver to take the next step in his development if they’re going to weather this storm.
Garver is far more accomplished as an offensive player than he is defensively, and he’s not even that good at the plate. He has 116 career plate appearances with a .229 career batting average. However, he has been solid this season batting .254 with two home runs and six runs batted in.
Behind the plate is where things start to get really ugly for Garver. He has already allowed two passed balls and eight wild pitches during 127 innings at catcher. It doesn’t get any better when looking at his 22% caught stealing rate to start the season.
More from Puckett's Pond
- Minnesota Twins: Holiday Wish List for the rest of the Offseason
- Minnesota Twins: After signing with the Mets, Correa spurns Twins again
- Minnesota Twins: You Spin Me Right Round, Right Round
- Minnesota Twins: What happens next at Shortstop?
- Minnesota Twins: Grading the Twins’ Joey Gallo signing
There is still time for Garver to become a viable option behind the plate in the future. Unfortunately, that future has arrived a lot faster than anybody has anticipated and the time is now for Garver.
The external options
There are two catchers who are somewhat available that the Minnesota Twins should be calling about. J.T. Realmuto of the Marlins and Blake Swihart of the Red Sox have both expressed a desire to be traded. We’ll take a brief look at Realmuto first.
The 27-year-old backstop has a .282 batting average to go along with a respectable .326 on-base percentage for his career. Realmuto will hit for some power and has had double-digit home runs in each of the last three seasons. Unfortunately, Realmuto has his deficiencies behind the dish so he isn’t a huge upgrade over Garver defensively.
Even more unfortunate is the presumably high cost of acquiring Realmuto. He is a good young catcher in MLB but he is not worth gutting the system to acquire. That brings us to Blake Swihart. Let’s take a brief look…
Swihart is a 26-year-old former top prospect who hasn’t been given enough opportunities to catch. He had a tremendous debut season at the plate for Boston. He hit .274 in 309 plate appearances while appearing in 84 games during the 2015 season.
However, his defense behind the plate was horrendous that season. He allowed 16 passed balls across 688 innings at catcher. Swihart has played in only 40 games since his rookie year and has had little opportunity to see the field.
Next: A deeper look at Garver's opportunity
This is Garver’s job to lose and will give the Twins front office an idea of what they have for the future. Hopefully, as Garver catches more consistently his defensive numbers will improve. One way or another, we’ll know the answer before the 2018 season is over.