A report Monday from Jon Paul Morosi indicated the Diamondbacks were working hard to acquire a catcher and Welington Castillo was one of two backstops linked to Arizona. Something apparently changed in just over a 24-hour time period, because Dave Stewart told Nick Piecoro Tuesday he is no longer pursuing a catcher.
According to the report, Dave Stewart said he would not be trading for a catcher due to the progress prospect Peter O’Brien has made. The Diamondbacks acquired O’Brien in the deal with the Yankees last summer that sent Martin Prado to the Bronx.
Stewart explained to Piecoro, “I’ve decided that I’m not going to pursue another catcher. I talked with my people and my coaching staff. They believe that O’Brien is going to be around sooner than later. If that does happen, there’s no need to go out and get another guy. We would have had to trade somebody we didn’t want to trade to make it happen.”
The Diamondbacks plan to let O’Brien continue his development and start the season with Tuffy Gosewisch and Rule 5 Draft pick, Oscar Hernandez behind the plate.
Mark Gonzales spoke to a Diamondbacks source about Arizona’s catcher situation and Welington Castillo. Gonzales’ source indicated the Cubs front office is asking too much for Castillo.
It’s unknown if the Diamondbacks are actually going to begin the season with the two catchers they have on the roster or if Stewart’s comments are nothing but posturing.
The Rangers could be interested in Castillo as the Tribune mentioned and there is a trade history between Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and Jon Daniels from the deals for Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza. But outside of the Diamondbacks’ rumors, it has been relatively quiet on the Welington Castillo trade front.
The Phillies, Nationals, Dodgers, Red Sox and Padres reportedly talked to the Cubs about Castillo but it’s been almost a month since the mainstream media linked any of those teams to Castillo.
Dave Stewart acknowledged the team has interest in James Shields but have to make a move or two in order to clear payroll to sign Shields. Nick Piecoro pointed to Stewart possibly trading OF Mark Trumbo or arms from his bullpen such as Brad Zeigler, Addison Reed, David Hernandez or Oliver Perez to free up room for Shields. But the team would likely prefer to unload players like Trevor Cahill or Aaron Hill.
Stewart explained why Shields would sign with the Diamondbacks while putting a majority of the other 29 big league teams down in the process. Stewart thinks Shields “likes what the Diamondbacks are doing as an organization” because he’s “a throwback guy.” Plus, Tony LaRussa and “more baseball people” are in Arizona and Shields probably sees the Diamondbacks “as a true baseball team vs. some of the other teams out there that are geared more toward analytics and those types of things.”
Dave Stewart implied that if James Shields wants to pitch for the Diamondbacks he will have to lower his contract demands. Or “make concessions” as Stewart worded it.