Juan Castro spent five seasons as a utility infielder for the Reds before signing as a free agent with the Twins following the 2004 season. Now he’s back with Cincinnati, which acquired him in a Thursday trade that sent outfield prospect Brandon Roberts to Minnesota.
Castro, 33, became expendable when the Twins finally decided that his anemic bat couldn’t outweigh his slick glove. They now have handed their shortstop job back to Jason Bartlett. Castro hit .230/.270/308 with one homer and 14 RBIs in 50 games for Minnesota, a performance in line with his career numbers. He doesn’t hit for average or power, draw walks or provide any speed, making him worthless at the plate. Defensively, he has soft hands and solid range and arm strength, enabling him to play anywhere in the infield. Castro has a $1 million salary in the final season of a two-year, $2.05 million contract that contains a $1 million option or $50,000 buyout for 2007. He has hit .230/.270/.336 with 31 homers and 176 RBIs in 815 big league games.
Roberts, 21, signed as a seventh-round pick out of Cal Poly last June. Playing at high Class A Sarasota this year, he hit .267/.325/.308 with one homer, 15 RBIs and 23 steals in 60 games. He focuses on making contact at the expense of power in order to make best use of his plus speed. He’s a good defender in center field and has a decent arm.