Mets release Luis Castillo

For weeks, rumors have swirled that the New York Mets intended to release second baseman Luis Castillo. The wait is now over. Both Mets and rival scouts believed Castillo to be the best second baseman in camp, but the Mets leadership and new manager Terry Collins were probably eager to eliminate a reminder of former failures from an otherwise rebuilding roster.

As a player, Castillo probably still has the skill set to start for a second division team or as an injury patch for a better club. He’s never exhibited any power to speak of and slugged a paltry .267 in 2010 (that’s right, slugged). His defense has also drawn poor marks from scouts though the defensive metrics hint that he can still feign average with the glove in small samples. The last and biggest knock against him is his injury history. A quick peek at Corey Dawkins’ Baseball Injury Tool presents an imposing and widely varied list of injuries.

For all the knocks, there is one thing Castillo does well: He makes opposing pitchers work. He typically forces pitchers to throw more than four pitchers per plate appearance, which consistently ranks him in the top 20 at working the count. As a result, over the past three seasons he has posted walk rates ranging from 12 to 14 percent which is especially impressive given his utter dearth of power. He also strikes out around 10 to 12 percent of the time in a typical season. Castillo can be defined with the word “pesky.”

Castillo has a couple of options for a new home but the most attractive may be the Philadelphia Phillies. The reigning division champs are uncertain when Chase Utley will become available and have only one legitimate backup middle infielder in Wilson Valdez. Jimmy Rollins had a tough season with injuries in 2010 and Placido Polanco is already day to day with an elbow hyperextension. As such, the Phillies should be keen to add experienced middle infield depth. Castillo may like the opportunity to take some revenge on the Mets.

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  1. Bruce Markusen said...

    I don’t think Castillo can play anymore. He has almost no range, can’t steal bases, and doesn’t have enough bat speed to do much more than slap the ball to left field.

    I’ve heard that the Phillies might sign him, but I think that would be a mistake for a contending team. There are a number of second basemen who will play Triple-A this year that are better than Castillo.

  2. Bruce Markusen said...

    And now I see that you mentioned the Phillies in your article. The other team that seems to come up is the Marlins.

  3. Brad Johnson said...

    The Marlins really don’t make sense to me. The Phillies at least have an utter dearth of depth at the position.

  4. Bruce Markusen said...

    Now the latest rumor is that neither the Phillies or the Marlins have any real interest in Castillo. So who’s left, maybe the Cubs?

  5. Brad Johnson said...

    As a Phillies watcher, they’re particularly good at feigning non-interest in a player until the last moment.

  6. Chris Warren said...

    Bad as the Cubs’ resources are there, between Baker, DeWitt, Bobby Scales, Darwin Barney, and Crocodile Dundee, ONE of them will be better than Castillo.

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