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When Joe Maddon was hired as the Angels’ manager in October, he made it clear the team needed a veteran catcher. Mission accomplished Thursday when nine-year veteran Jason Castro agreed to a one-year, $6.85 million contract, a person with knowledge of the deal confirmed.
Castro, 32, is among the best pitch framers in baseball and is widely respected for getting the most out of young pitchers. The left-handed batter also has hit 11 or more home runs in six seasons, including 13 in 237 at-bats last season for the Minnesota Twins.
Castro is a .231 lifetime hitter who batted .232 last season, although he posted a career-high .767 on-base-plus-slugging percentage. His three-year, $24.5 million contract with the Twins expired last season. He spent his first six seasons with the Houston Astros.
Angels general manager Billy Eppler said during the general manager meetings that he was content with the inexperienced Max Stassi as the team’s primary catcher. However, Maddon placed an emphasis on bringing in a veteran to get the most out of a pitching staff full of question marks.
The Angels have been among baseball’s busiest teams this offseason, signing top free agent third baseman Anthony Rendon to a seven-year, $245 million contract, and adding middle of the rotation starting pitchers Dylan Bundy and Julio Teheran.