Minnesota Twins: Don’t expect any big catching moves after losing Jason Castro for the season
By Nate Palmer
The Minnesota Twins have a hole at the catcher position after losing Jason Castro for the season but don’t expect any big moves to fill it.
The Minnesota Twins just found closure on what felt like a weird injury situation with catcher Jason Castro. His recovery projection went from a week or two and back after some rest. Then four to six weeks to repair a tear in his meniscus. Then obviously this week after having the knee opened up it was realized there was more damage than any of the images doctors had seen initially revealed. Now the Twins are left without their starting catcher for the rest of the season.
As I outlined after the initial four to six week diagnosis here, no one is going to miss Castro’s 2018 offensive production. It is his pitch framing and defense that the team will be missing. When looking at the numbers pitch framing itself may not always seem like it makes that big of a deal. At times, that earned strike from good framing could mean the difference between a scoring rally or the end of an inning.
Mitch Garver will continue to be part of the catching rotation, but with Castro out for the season it is worth asking if the Twins should put resources towards bringing in another starting calibur catcher. Of course, many of those names have already been mentioned in relation to the Twins current situation since the announcement of Castor’s injury.
J.T. Realmuto has been thought to be available all offseason as the Miami Marlins traded away several assets to begin the Derek Jeter era. Blake Swihart would also love to get out of Boston and see some regular playing time. While both are intriguing options, the steam coming out of Minnesota seems to point to the Twins not going this route right away.
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Along with Garver, the Twins already have veteran journeyman catcher Bobby Wilson to help take some of the catching duties. Wilson has actually graded out as a pretty good pitch framing catcher according to information at statcorner.com over the last several seasons.
Last time Wilson got steady innings with a single team in 2015 he had a defensive runs saved mark of plus six runs. He had a negative three DRS in 2016 but that was with three different teams and three different pitching staffs. Making the trend through his career of even or plus DRS numbers to likely be closer to his true ability. In listening to his interviews, he also seems to have the maturity to help handle a pitching staff.
Both Realmuto and Swihart are intriguing. It just doesn’t seem like the place the Twins want or should use their trade assets. Now if the Twins can get a steal like they did with Jake Odorizzi, by all means, pull the trigger Thad Levine! (Speaking of Tampa Bay, Wilson Ramos could even return to Minnesota potentially) Living in reality though this is Garver and Wilson’s season now.
Next: Options to consider with Jason Castro out
The Twins will need to add depth at some point and that player could see time in the majors if Wilson or Garver falters. Players like Miguel Montero or Geovany Soto could be catchers the Twins try to bring in on a minor league deal. Don’t hold your breath on any big moves to replace Castro. Instead, those trade assets may go towards someone who will be throwing to the duo if the Twins remain in playoff contention.