Welington Castillo signing says a lot about how White Sox view depth chart

The Chicago White Sox were not expected to be significant spenders this offseason so Friday’s news that the club added Wellington Castillo on a two-year deal raised some eyebrows.

Maybe it shouldn’t have.

Castillo joined the Orioles a year ago on a two-year deal that included an opt-out clause if he performed well. The 30-year-old exercised that clause after hitting .282/.323/.490 with 20 home runs and 53 RBI in 96 games.

It would not have been a surprise to imagine the White Sox added someone with major league experience to help out at the Triple-A level but now it appears that person may come in the form of Kevan Smith or Omar Navaez.

The White Sox had planned to use Geovany Soto as their near everyday catcher last season but that lasted just 42 at-bats before the veteran went down with a season ending elbow injury. That left a bunch of action behind the plate for both Smith and Navaez and truth be told neither really asserted themselves behind the plate or with the bat.

Smith was below average defensively and threw out just 13% of would be base stealers well off the league average of 27%. He hit an empty .283 with just 21 extra base hits. He walked a mere nine times in 276 trips to the plate.  With Smith behind the plate there were 5 passed balls and 26 wild pitches.

Navarez was better at the plate. He hit .277 but added 38 walks in 295 plate appearances to up his on-base percentage to .373 but much like Smith offered little in terms of being a guy who was more than one base at a time as he managed just 12 extra base hits. Navarez had 6 passed balls and saw 34 wild pitches. He threw up 24% of would be base stealers.

Clearly the font office was not comfortable with either Smith or Navarez getting too much time behind the plate and did not envy having a tandem of them come opening day. That surely is what led to a rebuilding team who is trying to trade star player Jose Abreu, to give a veteran backstop a two-yeal deal with $14.5 million with a club option for $8 million in 2020 that carries a $500,000 buyout. In addition to being an upgrade with the bat Castillo threw out 44% of base stealers last season and is known for being able to block pitches and the edge of the plate.

The White Sox also reached an agreement with relief pitcher Danny Farquhar on a new deal worth $1.05 million next year. He spent time with both the Rays and White Sox last season and finished with a 4-2 record, 4.20 ERA and 45 strikesouts with 13 holes in 52 games. He would appear to have a strong grip on a back of the bullpen spot next season.

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