When reliever Kervin Castro got the news the Cubs claimed him off waivers Tuesday, the clock was ticking toward the 5 p.m. trade deadline and Willson Contreras — for all the rumors — was still on the team.
Of course, the Cubs ultimately did not trade Contreras, and their newest reliever is looking forward to working with the longtime Chicago backstop.
“I was hoping that he would stay since I knew him,” said Castro, who adds he has “rapport” with Contreras after they trained together in 2020, through team translator Will Nadal.
“I know that he’s a great catcher, he’s a great player, a great leader,” Castro added. “I’m just lucky that he was able to stay and I’m excited to get to work with him.”
Castro is one of a few pitchers who joined the Cubs’ bullpen after they traded four relievers before the deadline. They added him to the active roster Wednesday.
He flashed some promise with the Giants late last season before struggling in Triple-A this season, leading to him being designated for assignment.
Castro, 23, allowed one unearned run in 10 appearances (13 1/3 innings) for the 107-win Giants after they called him up from Triple-A last September.
This season, he’s posted a 5.57 ERA in 29 relief appearances in Triple-A, struggling with his command to the tune of 6.9 walks per nine innings.
“I think that when I’m able to mix up well with my curveball and fastball, locating in the strike zone,” Castro said, “that’s when I become most effective as a pitcher.
“That’s what I’m trying to do.”
Castro was ranked the Giants’ No. 22 prospect by Baseball America before the Cubs picked him up.
After the Cubs traded four relievers ahead of Tuesday’s deadline, he has an opportunity to establish himself in the big leagues after flashing his potential last fall.
“I feel that I’m really lucky to be here with the Chicago Cubs,” Castro said. “I feel the team has a lot of young pitchers, up-and-coming arms, guys that we can develop, grow together.
“I’m just trying to go out there, do a good job and do my best.”
Contributing from St. Louis: Gordon Wittenmyer