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Starlin Castro agrees to deal with Nationals

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The durable infielder will remain in the NL East, reportedly as the regular second baseman for the reigning World Series champions.

Photo by Danis Sosa/Fish Stripes

As expected, Starlin Castro won’t be playing for the Marlins in 2020, but the veteran infielder will make his return to Miami during the opening homestand of the regular season. He’s signing with the Nationals, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported Friday afternoon.

Castro came to the Marlins in the Giancarlo Stanton trade. He was more or less an average hitter the past two years, slashing .274/.314/.418 with 34 home runs in 1,323 plate appearances. He contributed 3.6 Wins Above Replacement, according to FanGraphs, solid value particularly for a club that was lacking decent internal alternatives during that span. By all accounts, he was a positive presence behind the scenes, too.

Castro’s previous contract contained a $16 million club option for the 2020 season, but the Marlins opted to pay a $1 million buyout instead. Isan Díaz is poised to take over as the everyday second baseman, with Jonathan Villar bouncing around the diamond and lengthening the lineup. Interestingly, Castro and Villar were among only five MLB players to play all 162 games in 2019.

Jeff Passan of ESPN reports that Washington is guaranteeing Castro $12 million on this new two-year deal. He won’t fully recoup his option value, but his free agency played out better than initially feared. Comparable second basemen like Jonathan Schoop ($6.1 million from Tigers) and César Hernández ($6.25 million from Indians) had to settle for single-season commitments from teams who aren’t as likely to contend for a championship.

Fish Stripes wishes Castro nothing but the best in DC! See ya on March 30 when the Nats make their first trip to Marlins Park.