Is Jason Castro the missing piece?

It’s been a few days since the crazy activity that was Black Tuesday (can we call it Black Tuesday yet? Because that's an awesome name), and I’m already bored. There’s only so many Cano rumors I can take before I vomit, so it seems that the best remedy is fantasy trades that will definitely never happen.

The A’s have a need at catcher. John Jaso’s great, I love him, and he’s going to be a pretty huge piece in 2014. He probably shouldn’t catch again. The prospect of him catching again is kind of terrifying — this was his third or fourth concussion in his playing career, and it was incredibly serious. I think he’ll be fine at the plate next year, but if he were to get another concussion, it could be bad news for his longterm health and future in baseball.

Catchers get concussed often. It’s a thing.

Obviously the team doctors know better than we do what his status is, but it could be the smart thing to handle him with kid gloves and move him to the 1B/DH position against righthanders. He doesn’t have the traditional power there, but his on-base skills more than make up for it. He’s like Daric Barton except good.

So, that leaves a glaring hole at catcher. Vogt’s a great depth piece, but I don’t have a lot of faith in him being a starting catcher on a playoff team. Norris is a great defender, and amazing against lefties. He is virtually useless against righties, and until he can prove himself, he shouldn’t get more playing time. The best current free agent catcher is Kurt Suzuki. This is a terrifying prospect.

Left-handed catchers are a kind of ridiculous premium in this market right now. There just are not any available. Most are franchise pieces, meaning they require prospects that just do not exist in the A’s system anymore. The other ones are terrible. The only really intriguing option is Jason Castro.

Castro is a damn good player, with a 137 wRC+ against righties. That offensive performance was due to an unsustainable .351 BABIP, but I don’t think that’s really far from what we’re going to see in the future. He swats line-drives to all fields, he doesn’t pop-out, and he takes his walks at an impressive pace. He’s plus-plus defensively. He’s got great power with a .209 ISO, meaning he’s a good bet to provide at least 15 homers with great doubles power. There’s really nothing in his stats to suggest a major drop off, and Steamer thinks so too, predicting a 3.8 WAR.

And why not? He’s not unavailable — Jeff Luhnow, Astros GM, said about a month ago that, "[he wants] Jason Castro in the organization for a long time." Which, as A’s fans, you know means absolutely nothing. The same stuff was said about Cahill, Gonzales, Gonzales, and Choice. It’s what GMs do. It’s the Astros — in their long rebuild, there’s no non-prospect that isn’t off-limits.

He’s definitely not a prospect anymore, and I don’t think he fits into their long term plans. For one, he’s old by Astros standards — 26 years, which means he could be nearing his 30s and exiting his prime once the Astros start to win. Moreover, he’s their only valuable trade chip left. There’s literally no non-prospect on the roster that could bring in a haul like he can. The organization seems to love Max Stassi, and view him as their catcher of the future. So, what's the point of keeping Castro around?

The only problem is that the A’s farm is bone-dry right now, and we have basically no talent to trade for him. A three-team trade sounds like the best course of action then. Barring any Addison Russell blockbusters, like the ones that I have nightmares about.

The Blue Jays are reportedly "infatuated" with Brett Anderson. Sidenote: "infatuated"? Who says that? I mean, he’s a likable guy with a good twitter account, but damn. I suppose he is a desirable guy, but seriously?

They really have nothing we need: their best trading chips are bullpen arms, and we already have enough of those. Their organization is flush with young pitching talent in the mid-minors, though. In this market, Brett Anderson is the best cheap starting pitcher left, bar none, and is worth a few prospects. And Jeff Luhnow has reportedly been looking into getting pitching prospects.

This is how I think we could turn Brett Anderson into Jason Castro. The Astros get prospects from the Blue Jays, we get Castro, and the Blue Jays get their white whale/holy grail, Brett Anderson.


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