Kevin Millwood or Luis Castillo: Who is more valuable?

Mets Castillo Bunts Against Chicago Cubs

Kind of a weird topic, right? But I have my reasoning.

News broke Friday of a potential three-way deal that would send Milton Bradley back to Texas from the Cubs. Chicago would receive second baseman Luis Castillo from the Mets as their reward for shedding the malcontent, with Kevin Millwood heading to the Big Apple to complete the trade.

This has been debunked by several sources, such as MLB Trade Rumors, T.R Sullivan and Jon Heyman. However, it’s sparked a debate between Heyman and other people on Twitter whether or not Castillo or Millwood is valuable.

So, is Castillo valuable? Is Heyman on the mark that Millwood is more valuable than Castillo?

The easiest way to find out is to look at Fangraph’s valuation of both players in a dollar figure. Castillo was worth $7.2 million this past year, drawing a salary of $6 million. Last year, he was valued at a paltry $2.6 million, going to show how awful Castillo and his contract looked just a year ago.

Millwood, on the other hand, posted a very good season with a 3.67 ERA. His FIP was 4.80, so there’s cause for concern as to whether Millwood is smoke or mirrors. I’m not putting all my eggs into the FIP basket, to use an analogy, but I’m certainly not relying on his ERA either. Millwood was valued at $10.9 million, so right off the bat there is an easy answer to the question as to who is more valuable.

When you think about it, too, isn’t it obvious that Millwood is more valuable?

Let’s toss out some comparisons.

Castillo has 2 years and $12 million remaining on his contract. He plays second base, a position where offense is not particularly relied on, and will enter his age 34 season. At this point in his career, all Castillo has going for him is his plate discipline and an ability to hit for an average hovering in the .280-.300 range. He’s not adept defensively according to UZR. If I had to select Castillo or Chris Getz to be my second baseman next year, I’d select Getz. (All else NOT equal.)

My point here is that Castillo and his production — with his contract heavily factored in — is rather replaceable. The only thing Luis has going for him at the moment is that his bad contract can be swapped for another bad contract. (Give me Milton Bradley any day of the week over Castillo, Carl Everett attitude be damned.)

Millwood will be 35 and can hit 200 innings pitched a season. He’s a solid, if erratic pitcher who will keep a team in the game and will make $12 million in the final year of his contract. He is best used as a No. 3-4, although the Rangers currently cast him as their ace. Millwood is not replaceable. While you might be able to get away with calling up a AAAA player and having him perform to or over Castillo’s abilities, you can’t say the same of an AAAA pitcher with respect to Millwood.

That’s where this trade breaks down. A Bradley for Millwood swap makes more sense talent-wise, but Castillo being considered on the level of these two players is fallacy at its finest. If true that Mets GM Omar Minaya overvalues him — even when trying to trade him — then you can bet on Castillo being the Mets’ second baseman in 2010.

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