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Jason Castro...Non-Tender Candidate?

The Astros have some difficult decisions ahead regarding which players to tender contracts to.

Jason leader, longest tenured Astro, pitch framing wizard...non-tender candidate?
Jason leader, longest tenured Astro, pitch framing wizard...non-tender candidate?
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

An article from Monday by Brian McTaggart (which is referenced by MLB Trade Rumors here) talks about the looming decisions regarding contract tendering for the Astros.  Among the possible Non-Tender candidates are familiar names that have been bandied about in conjunction with the topic like so many toy swords for weeks now - Chris Carter, Luis Valbuena, and Evan Gattis.  Their inclusion in McTaggart's article are no surprise to most Astros fans - it seems distinctly possible that at least one of those players is not tendered a contract this offseason.

But a new name - at least, this writer hasn't seen it linked or included in any previous commentary on Non-Tender candidates for the Astros - is Jason Castro.

An important caveat: at no point in the article does McTaggart actually endorse - or indicate that the Astros are really leaning this way - non-tendering Jason Castro.  But Castro's name is mentioned, and that's the reason for this piece.

Castro is coming off a season which saw he and teammate Hank Conger (with a smattering of contribution from Max Stassi at the end of the season) combine to give the Astros the tenth best wRC+ from the catcher position in baseball.  Additionally, Astros catchers combined for 2.1 WAR and a .305 wOBA (each twelfth best in baseball) - numbers which might surprise many Astros fans, given the generally down perception most Astros fans have regarding Jason Castro's offensive production this season.  It's a definite fact that Jason Castro is not lighting the world on fire offensively, relevant to all hitters across all positions, but among catchers (a very, very weak offensive position in baseball right now, on the whole) he and Hank Conger actually make a pretty formidable 1-2 punch.

When it comes to his contract, Jason Castro is entering his entering his final arbitration year (projected to be in the vicinity of $4.6 million, per this MLBTR piece regarding the Astros' offseason outlook) and free agency looms after the 2016 season.

Castro is well regarded in Houston - with players, front office personnel, and fans alike - for his pitch framing abilities, pitching staff management, game calling, strong throwing arm and clubhouse leadership.  His offense has been bemoaned by Astros fans quite a bit recently, but really he's even pretty decent offensively, compared to other catchers.

More on this story (if there does indeed prove to be more to it) as (if?) it develops.