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2023 Phillies in review: Rodolfo Castro

An exercise is patience and roster manipulation

New York Mets v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

One of the pickups at the trade deadline for Dave Dombrowski, Rodolfo Castro sure didn’t play a whole heck of a lot. Sure, his job was already taken up by Edmundo Sosa at the time, but the team saw something in him, else they wouldn’t have traded away some pitching depth in Bailey Falter to acquire him.

2023 stats (with Philadelphia): 14 G, 32 PA, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 0 SB, 0 phones lost while attempting to steal, .100/.156/.100, -0.5 fWAR

The good

Um, he was present when called upon?

He didn’t break any laws that we know of?

It’s possible that he kept papers from blowing around the dugout by sitting on them.

The bad

He just didn’t play.

It’s through no fault of his own. Once people started to figure out the reason he was kept in Philadelphia as long as he was there, there was maybe a bit more empathy for his stunted development.

For a team that values roster flexibility, the fact that they were able to save that option for 2024 was something they wanted badly enough to hinder their major league club. When Castro did play, in whatever small amount it was, he was bad. It was clear he needed to play more than he was. All the roster manipulation didn’t seem to make much sense for a player playing as badly as Castro did.

In the end, it didn’t really matter since they were the top wild card seed and made it to the NLCS anyway, but stunting whatever development was left in Castro just didn’t seem worth it.

The future

This certainly becomes a bit of a question. The team does have a decision to make regarding what to do about the utility infielder’s spot for 2024. We will all assume that Sosa is going to be given the job out of spring training, but what about Castro? Does he already have a ticket punched for Lehigh Valley? Now that the team has secured an option for 2024, they can recall him in case of an emergency, but they also did see something that they like in his profile. It could be his skillset, but it could also be his price tag. Should he make the Opening Day roster, he’d be making the minimum salary. Sosa is projected to make $1.7 million next season, roughly a million dollars more than Castro. If the two players are similar in the team’s eye, do they re-allocate the Sosa money elsewhere on the roster and use Castro as a utility player?

Again, it’s highly doubtful. Sosa does his job well and his projected salary isn’t anything to get worked up over. But as the team looks to upgrade around the roster, that extra million could be of use somewhere else, be it the bullpen, the rotation or a different part. It’s something worth looking at.