Catcher Welington Castillo finalizes deal with Orioles
BALTIMORE (AP) Free agent catcher Welington Castillo has finalized a $6 million, one-year contract with the Baltimore Orioles and is set to replace Matt Wieters behind the plate.
''This is the best day of my life,'' Castillo said Friday. ''This is a team that's going to be in the playoffs, World Series. I want to be part of it.''
His agreement includes a $7 million player option for 2018.
Castillo hit .264 with 14 homers and 68 RBIs in 111 games with Arizona last season, when he made $3.7 million. The 29-year-old, who became a free agent when the Diamondbacks failed to offer a 2017 contract, is expected to take over from Wieters, a four-time All-Star who became a free agent.
Wieters accepted a $15.8 million qualifying offer last offseason and hit .243 with 17 homers and 66 RBIs in 124 games. He was not given a $17.2 million qualifying offer last month.
Castillo, whose deal was negotiated by agents Sam and Seth Levinson, represents a lower-priced option. The 29-year-old broke into the big leagues in 2010 with the Chicago Cubs and has also played with Seattle.
He has a .255 career batting average with 60 home runs and 230 RBIs over 509 games.
''I love challenges,'' Castillo said. ''It's a really good park to hit.''
Wieters, the fifth overall pick in the 2007 amateur draft, has spent his entire career with Baltimore. The switch-hitter is known for his ability to work with a pitching staff but has also been productive at the plate: He has a .256 batting average with 117 homers and 437 RBIs over eight seasons.