Dumping Castillo

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.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. isuzudude October 21, 2008 at 5:40 am
    The point on Guillen’s personality is a valid one. However, Castillo hasn’t won any awards for Mr Congeniality either. He may not be a trouble maker or instigator like Guillen is known for, but he is entirely too passive and unpassionate for NY fans to ever give him their full support. And aren’t we looking for someone who plays with a bit of a chip on their shoulder? Guillen might be the personality this team needs to fire them up from time to time. We all wanted Willie to get thrown out of games more often. We all wanted Delgado and Beltran to show more emotion on the field. Well, Guillen might be the type of guy to get it out of them.

    Are there better LF options for the Mets? Most likely. But when you dangle the notion of trading Castillo for a guy who fits a need for us, you definitely spark my interest. It’s a trade the Mets have to at least consider.

  2. joe October 21, 2008 at 9:23 am
    A good point there, Isuzu, and I’m with you. The problem is I don’t see how the Mets can bring in Guillen after “cleansing” their organization of Milledge and refusing to make a play for Manny. The upper management would seem to be too uptight and protective of their brand to take any chances with a hothead like Guillen.
  3. Schmidtxc October 21, 2008 at 10:29 am
    I’d gladly take guillen for castillo. While guillen may be a headache, he certainly plays the game at a higher level. If I recall correctly, he got claimed on waivers when kc tried to pass him through, and I’m sure the mets could find a taker for guillen much easier than they could find a taker for castillo. At this point, I’d take just about any short term commitment with upside if it meant we could dump luis. I think he may still be a useful player, but he probably will have a hard time being that with this team and these fans.