The Houston Astros‘ past couple months have missed one major piece that would have really tied together a great offseason: an extension for all-star catcher Jason Castro. While a one-year deal was made to avoid arbitration, a contract extension was reportedly never even offered to Castro, although GM Jeff Luhnow has admitted that it’s been part of their discussions.
Regardless of the contract situation, however, the catcher position is still somewhat up in the air going into the 2014 season. Castro has had numerous knee injuries that have really made his long-term stay behind the plate questionable. These injuries have cost him valuable years of development and it may be at the point where it’s in the team’s best interest to move him away from catcher and only give him spot starts behind the plate, while focusing the majority of his playing time as a DH or first baseman.
One thing about Castro is certain and that’s that his offensive production is sorely needed in the Astros’ lineup.
Behind Castro are Carlos Corporan and Max Stassi, neither of whom can claim to be MLB-starter worthy at this point. Corporan is a great game manager, but his offense and defense leave much to be desired. He’s an adequate backup at best.
Stassi is a different story. His offensive production could develop into something special. In the seven at-bats prior to his concussion, he hit .286 with an RBI. But it was his minor league numbers that really popped in 2013. Stassi put up a .277 average with 17 home runs and 60 RBIs in Double-A prior to his call-up.
Barring any bizarre fiasco, Castro will be starting Opening Day, but from that point on, it may start to change depending on how Castro’s knees hold up.