Jason Castro's tenure with the Astros was over as soon as the team acquired catcher Brian McCann from the Yankees last week. On Tuesday, Castro found his landing spot.Castro agreed to a three-year, $24.5 million deal with the Minnesota Twins, an industry source confirmed to the Chronicle. The Twins have not yet announced the signing.Castro, the Astros' primary catcher through their drastic rebuild and their return to competitiveness, will replace Kurt Suzuki as Minnesota's top option at the position. Although his offensive production has waned dramatically since his All-Star campaign in 2013, Castro's value comes in the form of his defense and experience in running a pitching staff. The 2017 season will be the Astros' first without Castro as their opening-day catcher since 2011 (Humberto Quintero). The Stanford product was their first-round draft pick (10th overall) in 2008 and debuted in the majors in 2010.The lefthanded-hitting Castro batted a career-worst .210 with a .684 OPS in 329 at-bats last season, when he made $5 million in his third and final year of arbitration eligibility. The 29-year-old is regarded as one of the game's top pitch framers, ranking third in the majors last season in Baseball Prospectus' framing runs metric with 17.Astros adjust 40-man rosterStill owed $4.5 million on the five-year, $10 million extension he signed in 2014,Jon Singleton passed through waivers unclaimed and will remain with the Astros as a highly paid Class AAA player.Singleton, once the organization's top prospect, was one of two players the team officially removed from its 40-man roster on Tuesday. Infielder Nolan Fontana was the other; he was claimed off waivers by the Los Angeles Angels.Clearing both spots provides the Astros more roster flexibility for the offseason weeks ahead. Their 40-man roster stands at 37 players, a number that will climb to 38 once their deal with free-agent outfielder Josh Reddick is official. (The team's four-year, $52 agreement with Reddick is pending a physical.)Singleton, criticized at the time he signed his contract for minimizing potential future earnings, is still guaranteed the set salaries from his major league deal despite his removal from the 40-man roster. The 25-year-old will make $2 million in each of the next two seasons before the Astros can buy out his contract for $500,000 in the 2018-19 offseason.Singleton last appeared in the majors in 2015, and even then for only 47 at-bats. He failed to claim the wide-open first-base job out of spring training last March and languished all season in the Pacific Coast League, where he batted .202 with 20 home runs and a .728 OPS in 410 at-bats.Fontana, 25, was the Astros' second-round draft pick (61st overall) in the 2012 draft, their third pick after the selections of shortstop Carlos Correa (first overall) and righthander Lance McCullers (41st). He struggled in Class AAA last season, batting .195 with a .529 OPS while striking out in 37.7 percent of his plate s appearances with Fresno.
Jake Kaplan/Houston Chronicle