The small market Minnesota Twins have swooped in to snatch the player who might have been the Rays top target this off-season.
Looking for a bounceback deal on the open market, Jason Castro got a huge vote of confidence in his abilities from the new-look front office in the Twin Cities, landing a three year deal with at least an $8 million AAV.
Source: #Twins to sign free-agent catcher Jason Castro.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 22, 2016
Source: Castro deal with #Twins will be for three years, more than $24M.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) November 22, 2016
Earlier this week, former GM Jim Bowden pegged Castro with a $7.5 million AAV, with expectations of him finding a two year deal with the Rays.
It is likely the Rays would have agreed to a three year deal, although probably only if that included a club option or a lower AAV.
A guaranteed $24 million for three years would no doubt have gone against the Rays model of operating with a tight checkbook and finding the best free agent deals, trying not to encumber payroll over multiple years.
Moving forward, the Rays will likely continue looking for opportunities to improve the catching tandem, which is currently projected as rookie Luke Maile and known entity Curt Casali.
Instead of free agency, though, the Rays are more likely to find answers on the trade market, either in a low level acquisition (such as the Ryan Hanigan and Hank Conger deals the last two seasons), or through a larger deal involving starting pitching depth.