Rays "right in the thick of things" for free-agent C Jason Castro
The Rays have made an "initial" offer to free-agent C Jason Castro and are "right in the thick of things" among several teams, per agent Fred Wray of ISE Baseball.
Castro, 29, is on the market after playing the last six seasons with the Astros, earning a reputation as a top pitch framer. He has been inconsistent offensively, posting a .210 average and .684 OPS last season, but hits lefthanded and has some power, which could pair well with either of the Rays right-handed hitting catchers, Curt Casali and Luke Maile.
"Rays have made an initial offer and are right in the thick of things and being considered by Jason,'' Wray said via text.
Wray said there is no timetable yet for a decision, that they are "are working through multiple offers and weighing options/opportunity.''
The Rays have competition for Castro, who is considered the second best healthy catcher on the free-agent market after Matt Wieters (Orioles). Wilson Ramos (Nationals) is expected to be sidelined into the season as he recovers from knee surgery. The Twins and Braves are both known to be among the teams interested, and the White Sox may be as well.
Castro made $5-million last season after losing an arbitration case against the Astros, having made $4-million in 2015. There have been some reports suggesting he is seeking at least a three-year deal, but Wray said it was too soon to be that specific.
Castro was an All-Star in 2013, when he hit .276 with 18 homers, 56 RBIs and an .835 OPS, but has not been as productive since, hitting .215 while averaging 12 homers and 40 RBIs in the three seasons since with a .660 OPS.
He is a Stanford product who was a first-round pick in the 2008 draft.