With such a young, developing team, the Houston Astros do not figure to be a team bogged down by many contract debates. Well, All-Star catcher Jason Castro has recently filed for arbitration and as such, it now falls on both parties to agree to terms. For the betterment of both parties, they better.
Castro is first and foremost an All-Star. He’s finally coming to terms with all the potential and expectation that was heaped on him when he was drafted. His work ethic is unquestionable. His only real downfall is his consistent knee injuries, but with the added DH possibility and an enigmatic void at first base, Castro could very easily find success elsewhere on the field should the injuries be the ultimate question.
The Astros must not, for any reason, unload Castro for a heap of prospects.They are already chock full of prospects that just need time. If they trade Castro, all of the building they’ve been doing will seem so much less dynamic. It will be a setback. It appeared as though the Astros had all the talent they needed and all the positions filled. They’ve had budget increases, and they’ve been signing some serious free agents.
To trade Castro is to tell the fans that they aren’t ready to compete yet.
After three straight 100-loss seasons, this cannot happen. The Jose Altuve contract was a huge step in proving to fans that owner Jim Crane and GM Jeff Luhnow were intent on becoming competitive as soon as possible. To forfeit Castro is to forfeit that stance. Inking him to a long-term deal would do wonders for the fan base’s faith in their team’s ownership.
Castro missed the final month of the 2013 season, but even so, he put up outstanding numbers, hitting .276 with 18 home runs and 56 RBIs in his first elongated season. If Castro can put a full season together, a line of .285, 25 home runs and 80 RBIs could become commonplace. He has the tools and the dedication to produce as much.
Signing Castro long-term is so much more than just inking an All-Star. It’ll fit into the scheme set forth by ownership and prove that the Astros are playing for the here and now. With the arbitration hearing coming up on Friday, it will be interesting to see what happens.