Angels trade catcher Jason Castro to the Padres for reliever Gerardo Reyes
The Angels, far out of contention in a year they hoped to snap their five-year playoff drought, continued to sell off assets Sunday, trading veteran catcher Jason Castro to the San Diego Padres for reliever Gerardo Reyes.
Castro, who will be a free agent after the season, was in the lineup and batting eighth for Sunday’s 2-1 loss to the Seattle Mariners but was scratched shortly before first pitch when it became apparent a deal was imminent.
He remained on the bench throughout the game and was available “in case of emergency,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said. Anthony Bemboom, the only other catcher on the active roster, took a foul tip in the face mask in the eighth inning but was able to finish the game, a 2-1, 10-inning loss to Seattle.
The trade was officially announced at about 9 p.m. PDT Sunday, and Reyes was optioned to the Angels’ alternate training site in Long Beach.
Reyes, 27, is a hard-throwing right-hander whose fastball averaged 97 mph in 2019, when he went 4-0 with a 7.62 ERA in 27 games for the Padres, striking out 38 and walking 11 in 26 innings.
Reyes also has a nasty slider that averages 87.8 mph, but he has had trouble finding the strike zone consistently. He has not pitched in the major leagues this season.
The Padres, who have the third-best mark in the National League at 21-15, are loading up for a playoff run, having acquired reliever Trevor Rosenthal from the Kansas City Royals and first baseman/designated hitter Mitch Moreland from the Boston Red Sox over the weekend.
Later Sunday, the Padres swung a seven-player deal with the Mariners in which they acquired another catcher, Austin Nola, and relievers Austin Adams and Dan Altavilla.
Austin Hedges and Francisco Mejia had been sharing catching duties for San Diego, but neither is providing much offense. Hedges entered Sunday with a .167 average, .614 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, three homers and five RBIs, and Mejia was hitting .079 with a .331 OPS, one homer and two RBIs.
Castro, 33, signed a one-year, $6.85-million contract with the Angels in January, and in 18 games he provided solid game-calling and pitch-framing skills as well as good plate discipline and occasional power in the batter’s box.
The left-handed-hitting Castro batted .192 (10 for 52) with a .323 on-base percentage, a .707 OPS, two homers, six RBIs, 23 strikeouts and 10 walks.
Castro, who will be a one-month rental for the Padres, admitted before Saturday night’s game that the possibility of being traded was on his mind.
Angels manager Joe Maddon moved struggling designated hitter Shohei Ohtani to the second spot in the batting order to get better pitches.
“I try to focus on things I can have an immediate impact on,” Castro said. “Worrying about things outside of what you can control on a daily basis doesn’t really help you much. I try to continue to focus on winning ballgames day in and out, and let things happen as they may.”
Castro was replaced in the lineup Sunday by Anthony Bemboom, who will likely handle the bulk of the catching duties until Max Stassi returns from a bruised knee and strained quadriceps, injuries he sustained two weeks ago. Catcher Jose Briceno is working out at the team’s alternate training site in Long Beach.
The Angels, who entered Sunday with a 12-22 record, the second-worst mark in the American League, traded utility infielder Tommy La Stella, a first-time All-Star in 2019 and a free-agent-to-be after this season, to the Oakland Athletics for 24-year-old utility player Franklin Barreto on Friday.
There has also been significant trade interest in veteran shortstop Andrelton Simmons, who will also be a free agent this winter, and veteran right-hander Dylan Bundy, who is under club control through 2021.
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