Ruiz, Castro among group of available catchers

With the free-agent market very thin at catcher, especially after the Blue Jays signed Russell Martin, teams with a need behind the plate could try to make a trade instead. Toronto’s Dioner Navarro and Arizona’s Miguel Montero are two of the more significant options, but they’re not the only ones.

In his column Sunday, Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe mentions the Phillies’ Carlos Ruiz and the Astros’ Jason Castro as two other available catchers.

Philadelphia, of course, is in rebuilding mode. Ruiz is due $8.5 million in both of the next two seasons, when he’ll be 36 and 37, and his contract includes a $4.5 million team option for ‘17 that can be bought out for $500,000.

Those factors, plus some recent injury problems, could make it difficult to move Ruiz. On the other hand, he hit .252/.347/.370 last season, good for an above-average 102 OPS+.

Houston is known to be discussing deals for one of its catchers, with Castro currently joined on the roster by Carlos Corporan and Hank Conger. Castro is 27 and has two more years of arbitration eligibility — he made $2.45 million in ‘14 — and he hit .276/.350/.485 with 18 homers during a breakout ‘13 season.

On the other hand, that offensive performance currently looks like an outlier. This past year, Castro still produced 14 homers, but his line regressed to .222/.286/.366.

As for the Astros, Cafardo also reports that they are open to trading center fielder Dexter Fowler. Limited to 116 games in his first year for Houston, the 28-year-old hit .276/.375/.399 with eight homers and 11 stolen bases.

— Andrew Simon

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