Less than 24 hours after signing veteran reliever Will Harris to a 3-year/$24M deal, GM Mike Rizzo and Co. in the Washington Nationals’ front office have reportedly landed an infielder as well, with The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reporting this afternoon that the Nats have signed free agent Starlin Castro to a 2-year/$12M deal to play second base in D.C. in 2020.
Castro, 29, spent the 2018-2019 campaigns with the Miami Marlins, for whom he put up a .270/.300/.436 line this past summer, with 31 doubles and 22 homers for the Fish, in what ended up being a 1.3 fWAR season in which he played in all 162 games.
Signed by the Chicago Cubs out of the Dominican Republic in 2006, Castro debuted in the majors in 2010, but he was traded to the New York Yankees in late 2015, and subsequently flipped to the Marlins in the 2017 deal that sent Giancarlo Stanton to NY.
The Nats have been in the market for infield help all winter, after losing Anthony Rendon to free agency, with Rizzo telling reporters at the Winter Meetings that they had options in the organization as they looked for the right fit.
“We’re looking for an infielder and we have the flexibility to be able to have that infielder be a third baseman or a second baseman,” Rizzo explained. “We like that flexibility, but that’s one of those things that is on our wishlist, is to get ourselves a veteran infielder to go along with one of our younger players.”
Top infield prospect Carter Kieboom is expected to take on a role in the Nationals’ infield in the near future, at either second or third, but as Rosenthal noted, the expectation is that Castro was signed to play second base, and NBC Sports Washington’s Todd Dybas reported on Twitter that the two-year deal with the veteran infielder doesn’t necessarily rule the Nats out of the Josh Donaldson market.
Castro has played 564 games at second in his career, including a total of 117 there in 2019, though he’s spent the majority of his time in the majors at short.
Will the Nationals put Castro at second base and sign Donaldson at third to allow Kieboom to develop at his own pace without the pressure of being in the starting lineup from Day 1 next season?
Does Kieboom slot in at third if things don’t work out with Donaldson?
What we know now is that Castro is coming to D.C. in 2020, pending completion of a physical. Do you like the deal?