It would appear the Mets are in quite a fix if they intend to deal away Luis Castillo. The most recent rumor is that the Diamondbacks have no interest in trading Eric Byrnes for Castillo — and who can blame them?
According to Joel Sherman at the New York Post:
… the Diamondbacks considered shipping diminished righty-hitting outfielder Eric Byrnes (two years left at $22 million) for Castillo, but determined they just don’t like Castillo at all.
Later in the article, Sherman reports:
The Post has learned that the Mets and Royals had discussions in July about swapping expensive malcontent outfielder Jose Guillen for Castillo. An executive who was aware of those talks said he thought it was possible the clubs could revisit negotiations this offseason.
OK, let’s re-read that last sentence and remind ourselves that ANYTHING is possible, so we shouldn’t assume that a Castillo for Guillen deal is something that will definitely be discussed. It’s nice kindling for the hot stove, but in my mind it makes little sense for either team.
First of all, why would the Royals want to take on a bad contract for an overaged second baseman with questionable health? There’s no chance of them “pulling a Tampa Bay” in 2009, and we’d assume they’re looking toward 2010 and beyond — so why bring in a 32-year-old? Wouldn’t a team like KC want to get younger? Then again, Castillo WOULD be younger, considering they played 38-year-old Mark Grudzielanek at the position last year. Which begs the question — why not simply bring back Grudzielanek on a cheap two-year deal? The fans love him, he’s fairly productive, and he seems to enjoy playing in Kansas City. So it’s hard for me to understand why the Royals would be so quick to part with anyone for Luis Castillo.
Now from the Mets’ side of things: why in the world would they want to bring in Jose Guillen? I do realize they need a righthanded, power-hitting corner outfielder — and Guillen certainly fits the bill. But this is the same franchise that felt it necessary to rid themselves of Lastings Milledge mainly because of his attitude and “questionable” character. And it’s the same organization that refused to make a serious play for Manny Ramirez at the deadline for the same character issues. There’s zero truth to the “there wasn’t a match” epithet that Omar Minaya keeps repeating (the Pirates were willing to deal Jason Bay for a package of “touchables”), so the only other thing we can assume is that someone in the hierarchy didn’t want the baggage that came with Manny.
So if a team is unwilling to take on Manny Ramirez for free, why in the world would that same team want to bring in Guillen — who comes with similar baggage plus two more years and who will never have the impact of Ramirez?
If the Byrnes report is true, and if it’s also true that the Royals weren’t interested in parting with Guillen, it may take a miracle to move Luis Castillo. In fact, it probably makes more sense to hold onto him and hope like heck that he can be healthy again. Because I stick to my belief that Castillo on healthy wheels can be productive. Not an All-Star, but productive.
The Mets may have no other choice.