The Padres may need to address the backup catcher position in light of Luis Campusano being charged with felony marijuana possession.
It’s not exactly how Luis Campusano envisioned the offseason to begin. The 22-year-old Padres catcher was charged with felony marijuana possession in Georgia on Saturday. According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, he reportedly had 79 grams of the drug and could face up to 10 years in prison.
Here’s the official statement from the team:
"“We were recently notified of the arrest of Luis Campusano in his hometown of Augusta, Ga. this past weekend, and we are gathering information and have been in contact with MLB and local authorities.”"
Aside from the threat of being incarcerated, MLB could slap Campusano with a separate suspension and fine for the offense, leaving the Padres catching situation in doubt. The 2020 season began with a lackluster duo of Austin Hedges and Francisco Mejia but was overhauled at the trade deadline in Jason Castro and Austin Nola.
The latter is under team control through the 2025 season, while the former is an unrestricted free agent. Campusano was expected to step into a larger role with the club in 2021. He played in just one game with the Padres, but he hit his first career home run.
Now the Padres may be forced to bring a 33-year-old Castro back on a one or two-year deal, depending on how long Campusano may be out.
Of course, the club could turn to Mejia as the team’s backup, but did they see all they needed in 2020? The 24-year-old has a challenging year, hitting 0.077 with 1 HR and 2 RBI in 17 games. He’s under team control through the 2024 season, but San Diego may opt for a little more upside in their backup catcher.
Castro didn’t dazzle by any means, but he’s a serviceable backup, posting a .179/.233/.357 line with 3 RBI in 9 games for the Padres last year. His best year came in 2017 with the Minnesota Twins, hitting .242 with 10 HR and 47 RBI, and he’s consistently been around the league average in terms of throwing runners out.
We’ll see what transpires with Campusano in the coming weeks, but don’t be surprised if Castro is back next year.