Starlin Castro, who turns 30 next week, is no stranger to the Nationals. He played the past two seasons with the division-rival Miami Marlins, with previous stints with the New York Yankees and Chicago Cubs. It was a bit of a surprise when the news broke that Washington was signing him to a 2-year, $12 million contract on January 3, a day before the team re-signed Cabrera.
Entering his 11th season in the majors, Castro has been nothing short of durable. Twice in his career, including last season, he appeared in each of the 162 games that his team played. That, and his history of consistency, landed him in Washington on a multi-year contract.
At the dish, Castro is less of an offensive force and more of a constant roadblock for pitchers to deal with. He’s smart, but aggressive, leading him to higher strikeout numbers than one would prefer, but he’s only finished a season with a batting average less than .250 once. In Miami, he batted .274 with 34 home runs and 140 RBI across two seasons. Lifetime, he’s carrying a .280/.319/.414 slash line with 133 home runs and 636 RBIs.
This Spring was not kind to Castro, as he finishes with a .042 batting average in 28 plate appearances with eight strikeouts and just four walks.
Like Cabrera, Castro began his career as a shortstop and excelled there early in his career. When he was traded to the Yankees before the 2016 season, he inherited second base and that’s been his primary position since. He’s played a total of 1,459 games in his career, 850 at shortstop and 564 at second base and, in 2019, he played third base for the first time in his professional career. For the Marlins, he committed four errors across 45 games at the hot corner and sports a .969 all-time fielding percentage.
Castro should see significant playing time in 2020, although it’s to be determined how the games per position will be split.