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Orioles officially sign catcher Welington Castillo, move on from Matt Wieters

Orioles officially sign catcher Welington Castillo, move on from Matt Wieters

BALTIMORE – Free agent catcher Welington Castillo has finalized a $6 million, one-year contract with the Baltimore Orioles.

Castillo's agreement, announced Friday, includes a $7 million player option for 2018.

He hit .264 with 14 homers and 68 RBIs in 111 games with Arizona last season, when he made $3.7 million. The 29-year-old, who became a free agent when the Diamondbacks failed to offer a 2017 contract, is expected to take over from four-time All Star Matt Wieters, who became a free agent.

Wieters accepted a $15.8 million qualifying offer last offseason and hit .243 with 17 homers and 66 RBIs in 124 games. He was not given a $17.2 million qualifying offer last month.

Castillo represents a lower-priced option. The 29-year-old broke into the big leagues in 2010 with the Chicago Cubs and has also played with Seattle.

He has a .255 career batting average with 60 home runs and 230 RBIs over 509 games.

Wieters, the fifth overall pick in the 2007 amateur draft, has spent his entire career with Baltimore.

The switch-hitter is known for his ability to work with a pitching staff but has also been productive at the plate: He has a .256 batting average with 117 homers and 437 RBIs over eight seasons.

On Friday, manager Buck Showalter and GM Dan Duquette indicated Wieters' tenure with the Orioles is over. 

MORE ORIOLES: New Orioles catcher Welington Castillo has one big downside: framing

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On the fourth anniversary of his massive contract, a look at Chris Davis' struggles

On the fourth anniversary of his massive contract, a look at Chris Davis' struggles

From 2012 to 2015, Chris Davis was one of the most feared sluggers in baseball.

He led the American League in home runs twice, won a Silver Slugger and finished third in MVP voting in 2013. His production earned him a massive seven-year, $161 million contract extension, and today, on the four-year anniversary of the agreement things have tailed off quite a bit. 

"He's been struggling now for years," Orioles GM Mike Elias said at the Winter Meetings. "There are a lot of reasons for that and we continue to look into it but the reality is, he is under contract and it's something not to take lightly, and because of that we're going to be focused on getting the most out of him that we can. But it's a very frustrating situation for him and for us."

In the 617 games before his extension, Davis hit .257 with 161 home runs, 425 RBI and 788 strikeouts.

Since signing his deal, Davis has hit .198 with 92 home runs, 230 RBI and 745 strikeouts in 518 games. 

The Orioles have finished fifth in the AL East three out of the four seasons following Davis' contract, and while it's hard to imagine things getting worse, the Orioles still have his salary on the books for another three years. 

Maybe Davis has an extra gear in him to spark a career-revival as he enters his age-34 season. That would certainly help the Orioles get back to relevancy, but after two straight seasons of hitting below .200, it's hard to expect much from Davis moving forward. 

But hey, at least he's using his money for good. In early November, Davis and his wife donated a record $3 million to UMD Children's Hospital to help the hospital expand. 

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Trey Mancini admires Ryan Zimmerman, wants to see Orioles through rebuild

Trey Mancini admires Ryan Zimmerman, wants to see Orioles through rebuild

Trey Mancini wants to be the next Ryan Zimmerman...kind of.

Though the two play completely different positions (right field vs. first base) for two different teams, Mancini saw what Zimmerman did to help develop the Nationals into World Series champions and wants to do the same in Baltimore. 

"[Zimmerman] stuck it out [in D.C.], he was their first draft pick and was there through a lot of good times and bad," Mancini said in an interview on "The Leadoff Spot" on MLB Network Radio on Wednesday. "I think there's something really admirable in that...you see what Zimmerman means to D.C."

The Orioles drafted Mancini in the eighth round of the 2013 MLB Draft; since then he's played three full seasons in the league, though 2019 could be described as his "breakout" campaign.

Last year Mancini hit .291 in 154 games, leading the Orioles with a career-high 35 home runs and 97 RBI. 

Mancini plans to stay in Baltimore through their rebuild, not only because it's the team that drafted him, but also because he loves the city and all of the people in the organization. 

"It's always hard to see yourself somewhere else," Mancini said. "It could make it sweeter if you're there through some rough times and through a rebuild, and come out on the other side...a goal of mine later on is to be there when we're winning again." 

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