The Houston Astros face a difficult decision over the next year or so with young catcher Jason Castro.
After Castro broke out with a productive 2013 season (.276/.350/.485, 4.3 fWAR), the Astros explored the option of trading him to a team that would offer an enticing package of players for him. Factored into those rumblings was the potential problem the Astros might have in signing Castro a long-term extension to keep him in Houston.
This week Astros’ general manager Jeff Luhnow said that the team did receive trade calls about Castro this winter, but they will not deal the young catcher. From Brian McTaggart of MLB.com:
Luhnow said several teams called him to ask about acquiring Castro this past offseason, but he said when you put the entire package together — what Castro does off the field and the leadership he provides and his links to the past — the organization decided that Castro had too much value.
‘We take all of those elements into account, and we really feel he’s a player we can’t be without at this point,’ Luhnow said. ‘I think he’s exceeded expectations, even internally for the people that drafted him in the first round. He’s a left-handed-hitting catcher with power and good defensive skills. He’s been injured here and there, but by and large, he’s everything you hope for in a first-round pick.’”
The Astros’ estimated payroll in 2014 is $48 million (not a type-o). That number has to go up eventually, and when it does the Astros will hope to make Castro part of that plan.