If there was one player that took his game to another level this season for the Chicago Cubs, it was catcher Welington Castillo. In his first full season in the Show this year, Castillo was rocked hard by a slow start, but ended the season on a tear and being the team’s most productive player on both sides of the ball.
And with the Cubs in a peaking stage of their rebuilding efforts, a valuable asset behind the plate could be key. Catcher is considered one of the most valuable pieces defensively and being historically a poor position in terms of prospects, it would be huge for the Cubs to have a 26-year old backstop entering his prime years as part of the core.
That is, if he’s not traded this offseason.
Although Castillo is a solid option at the plate, he’s not an OBP machine (one of the Cubs’ issues this past season was to get on base at a consistent clip) either and due to his value being at an all-time high, he might be used as a trade chip to fill another need — maybe a starter like David Price or an All-Star outfielder like Carlos Gonzalez.
If he’s traded, he would certainly bring some good young players back, but that wouldn’t ideal at this stage. The Cubs would need to fill the position via free agency, where they could try to re-sign Dioner Navarro or maybe pursue someone like Brian McCann or Jarrod Saltalamacchia, meaning they would have to spend money and submit the new player through an adapting process that’s certainly not what the team needs at this stage.
At some point, the Cubs will need to start keeping their pieces together as it’s the only way they can turn the corner in their rebuilding process. And if they want to start making smart moves this offseason, one of their priorities should be to lock up Castillo the same way they did with Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo.