Before Sunday’s heartbreaking loss and a solid first start of the second half for Reynaldo Lopez, Ricky Renteria hinted at the possibility of Welington Castillo returning from his rehab stint during this road trip. Castillo, who hasn’t had the most desirable start to the season, hit a three-run homer in his fifth minor league game this season on Sunday.
His return clearly means that a corresponding move will be in order. The question is, who does he replace? At this point, the most likely move appears to be Zack Collins returning to AAA for more seasoning. Even with Rick Hahn’s comments regarding how he wants the big time prospects within the system to stay in the major leagues once they are called up, Collins’ best situation appears to be AAA Charlotte where he can play every day. It looks as if he gets plenty of extra work before games, but nothing replicates the experience that is built with live, in-game action. Since he was called up, Collins has recorded 31 plate appearances and only has two hits in those at bats. Especially with the new addition of A.J. Reed, playing time in the 1B/DH role looks even more scarce. It is unclear how a move back to AAA would work out for the 24-year-old, but it could provide him with the opportunity to regain some confidence.
The effects of a Castillo call up could also be temporary, however. Maybe he is being called up to see if he can hit well enough to warrant any sort of interest from a contending team that could use a backup catcher. It’s clear that he hasn’t been great this season, but he has shown flashes of value at the plate at certain times. In the eight games that he played in June, he had two home runs to go along with a .545 slugging percentage. If he replicates this production leading up to the trade deadline, teams may throw a lower level prospect or two the way of the White Sox. Any return for Castillo would be ideal, as he doesn’t figure to be on the White Sox roster next season. By the time a move like this happens, management may deem either Collins or Seby Zavala worthy of another opportunity at the major league level.
While no official announcement has been made public, speculation that Collins will head back to AAA to get more consistent reps looks more and more likely.
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