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.