The first of the large group of Orioles free agents this offseason has signed elsewhere. After opting out from the second year of his Orioles contract, catcher Welington Castillo went back on the free agent market, where he agreed on Friday to a two-year deal with the White Sox, with a club option for a third year. The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal first reported the signing.
According to Yahoo's Jeff Passan, Castillo will receive $15 million over the next two seasons, with the club option potentially adding another $8 million for the third year.
From the Orioles perspective, they got everything they could have hoped for out of signing Castillo a year ago. They signed him to a two-year contract with an option for Castillo to get out after one year if he performed well enough. That's exactly what happened, with Castillo batting a career best .282/.323/.490 with a career high 20 homers despite playing in only 90 games.
Signing Castillo seemed to be what the O's hoped would work as a stopgap until prospect Chance Sisco was ready to assume a big league role. Castillo had a successful 2017 season, even if the pitching staff he caught did not. Most impressively, he threw out 49% of would-be base-stealers on the season. The average across the league was only 27%.
For all of that, the Orioles only ended up having to pay $6 million. That was a good free agent signing. In particular, the O's decision to sign Castillo last December rather than play the waiting game with Matt Wieters looks good in retrospect.
Wieters signed a similarly-structured two-year deal with an opt out after a year, just for more money. Wieters was very bad in 2017 and the Nationals are stuck paying him $10.5 million next year. Too bad, so sad. For the O's, the deck is now cleared to go with a Sisco-Caleb Joseph tandem, which sounds OK to me.
Castillo's time with the Orioles worked out well for him, too. Now he's got two years guaranteed where before he only had one, with an extra $8 million locked in. That's a good deal for a catcher who's turning 31 next April and is a decent if not marquee player.
So long and thanks for all the dingers, Beef. Good luck in Chicago, except for when you're playing the Orioles.