Castro signs with Astros, avoids arbitration

The Astros reached a one-year contract with All-Star catcher Jason Castro for 2014 to avoid arbitration. Terms of the deal aren’t known.

Friday was the deadline for teams and players to exchange arbitration numbers, and Castro’s signing means infielder Jesus Guzman is the only Houston arbitration-eligible player still unsigned. Negotiations can continue up until an arbitration hearing.

“I think it’s a good deal and I’m glad that we were able to come to an agreement, and now we can just kind of shift the focus to getting ready for the season and everything that I would normally do to prepare for spring,” Castro told MLB.com. “I’m excited and ready to get going.”

Castro, 26, was among the top offensive catchers in the Majors last season, hitting .276 with 18 home runs and 56 RBIs before landing on the disabled list Sept. 13 after having a cyst removed from his knee. His on-base percentage was .350, with a slugging average of .485. He was named to the American League All-Star team and was a two-time AL Player of the Week Award winner.

Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said last year he was open to perhaps extending Castro beyond 2014, but that wasn’t discussed during this negotiation.

“We haven’t actually had any discussion about that,” Castro said. “We’ll see what happens. I’m definitely open to anything.”

The former Stanford star was picked 10th overall in the 2008 Draft, and made his big league debut with the Astros in 2010, appearing in 67 games. He missed all of the 2011 season after suffering a major knee injury during the spring of that year.

Astros manager Bo Porter said last month Castro would be his primary No. 3-hole hitter this year.

“Now the focus shifts back to getting ready and get throwing and getting back into catching and all that stuff,” Castro said. “I’m glad to get it all in the rearview and look ahead to spring.”

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