November 24, 2016

Twins’ Falvey & Co. get their man, sign catcher Castro to 3-year deal

You ready for change? Falvey & Co. seem more than prepared to deliver it to remake the Twins. Two coaches are gone, including one with deep ties to the organization; popular player Trevor Plouffe was effectively let go; and now they’ve signed their first free agent, bringing catcher Jason Castro to the Twins from the Houston Astros, according to various reports.

The $24.5 million deal for Castro was less about his bat — his production at the plate has actually continued to fall since a breakout year in 2013 — and more about what he might do to help Twins pitching go from worst in the American League to something resembling competitive.

Baseball is filled with numbers, and there are statistics that measure just about everything on the field: hitting, pitching, running, throwing and defense, including catchers who are good at framing pitches for strikes. That’s apparently something that Castro does well, according to MLB.com.

But Castro is known more for his defense, and he is regarded as one of the better pitch framers in baseball. He ranked as the fifth-best pitch framer in baseball last season, according to StatCorner.com. He’s also thrown out 26 percent of attempting basestealers in his career.

Former Twins catcher Kurt Suzuki is a free agent, so Castro likely gets paired with backup John Ryan Murphy, according to MLB.com.

Murphy, meanwhile, still has to make the case that he belongs in the bigs.

After a trade that sent Twins outfielder Aaron Hicks to the New York Yankees in exchange for Murphy — and it’s so far a deal that hasn’t worked out for either team — Murphy struggled at the plate with the Twins and then spent most of the 2016 season in the minors.

COMMENTS

Hi, I’m Rolf Boone, Twins fan.

I became a fan of the Minnesota Twins after a friendly wager in the early 1980s. I survived Ron Davis, the meltdown in Cleveland, Phil Bradley at the Kingdome and then marveled at a rising generation of stars and two World Series wins in 1987 and 1991. Brad Radke made the 1990s bearable, while Kirby Puckett’s eye injury, exit from the game and eventual death made it almost too much to bear. The new century ushered in more talent — Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau — and consecutive seasons of playoff baseball, followed by consecutive seasons of losing baseball. A winning season returned in 2015. So here we are. Go Twins.