It’s still December, so we are quite a ways away from any final roster decisions that need to be made. As the offseason continues to unfold, and the Pirates make more moves, some of the puzzle pieces are starting to fall in place.
Castillo was acquired in the Clay Holmes trade with the New York Yankees, along with Hoy Park. The Pirates DFAd Park earlier in the offseason, before he moved to the Boston Red Sox.
After making the major league team out of spring, Castillo ended up hitting 11 home runs with the Pirates last year, mostly against lefties, and at times really didn’t do much more than that.
– With Rodolfo Castro and Oneil Cruz at the top of the depth chart in the middle infield at the major league level, and the offseason additions of Connor Joe and Ryan Vilade, this move probably shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise.
Not to mention, with Liover Peguero and Nick Gonzales potentially starting the year in Indianapolis, there really wasn’t a place for Castillo anymore.
– Castillo wasn’t great with the glove, as he had negative defensive runs saved at every position except shortstop (zero), but it does open up a spot directly behind Cruz as the primary backup.
Castro played some shortstop last year, but it didn’t go well. Ji-Hwan Bae has some experience at the position, but you probably don’t want your backup to be left-handed like Cruz.
Jared Triolo has been one of the best defensive players in the minors the last two seasons, and was added to the 40-man roster this past season. He will be 25-years-old by the time the season starts, but has just 41-games in the minors at shortstop.
Peguero isn’t going to start the year in the majors in a backup role, so it might not be the most surprising thing to see them go and add someone else, if only as some sort of place holder for someone in the minors.
– Castillo may stick around in the system, even after the DFA, so this doesn’t officially close the books on the Holmes trade, but with this, it’s really hanging on by a thread. Even with Holmes’ success, there really isn’t a way to tell if he would have turned things around if the Pirates hadn’t made the trade.
He did, and now both players the Pirates got in return have been DFA.
It was a strange transformation for Castillo, especially once he got to the majors. He wasn’t much of a power hitter throughout his minor league season, until 2021, when the Pirates acquired him. He was always heralded for his approach at the plate, but completely sold out for power when he made it to the majors. Even when he was sent back to Indianapolis, he couldn’t really find things again.
– This does leave nine outfielders on the 40-man roster (10 if you count Bae’s potential there), and while that can change still as they still have to add Jarlin Garcia. Castillo being removed does speak to what they thought his role was going to be.
It always isn’t as simple as player A vs player B when it comes to who to DFA, you have to look at it as a whole roster, and organization.
Castillo’s future wasn’t going to be in the infield, and when it comes to the right-handed outfielders, there were more that they liked, or at least wanted to see come Spring Training.
The Pirates walk away from this with a little added depth when it comes to right-handed outfielders.
Highlight of the Day
Pirates Prospects Daily
By Tim Williams
**I wrote about how the Pirates are slowly stabilizing their roster this offseason.
**Osvaldo Bido saw an increase in his strikeouts over the last two seasons. Anthony Murphy and John Dreker break down what’s been happening with the right-hander.
**John Dreker broke down the winter league seasons of Rodolfo Castro and Miguel Andujar.
**Missed yesterday? Anthony looked at Ke’Bryan Hayes and how to maximize his hard contact.
Song of the Day
Pirates Prospects Weekly
The moves made so far haven’t been huge, but I broke down why I see this team already headed for 72+ wins, with a chance to improve more with more additions. Check out where they are now:
I really liked this combined article on Bido by Anthony and John. Anthony brought a great breakdown of what Bido does, and John added the background. Considering the depth in the organization, Bido is probably a deep sleeper at best for the 2023 season. He could arrive with a hot stretch in Indianapolis when the Pirates need someone later in the summer. This isn’t the most impactful prospect we can cover, but Bido is a prospect who can make the majors, and we cover all of those players.
Anthony began writing over 10 years ago, starting a personal blog to cover the 2011 MLB draft, where the Pirates selected first overall. After bouncing around many websites covering hockey, he refocused his attention to baseball, his first love when it comes to sports. He eventually found himself here at Pirates Prospects in late 2021, where he covers the team’s four full season minor league affiliates.