Castillo for Lowell?

mike-lowell-bosoxSo Jerry Crasnick of ESPN claims he heard about the Mets and Red Sox discussing a swap of Luis Castillo and Mike Lowell.

Really?

Because it doesn’t make much sense from any angle whatsoever.

First of all, the Red Sox are set at second base with Dustin Pedroia. And they didn’t sign Marco Scutaro to a $12.5M deal to be a backup to Pedroia at shortstop. And Luis Castillo is not going to push David Ortiz out of the DH spot, no matter how bad Ortiz hits.

The only thing that might make sense is the Red Sox quickly flipping Castillo to a third team for someone who better fits into their plan. A possibility, for sure.

As for the Mets going after Lowell … though I did mention Mike Lowell in a frightening hypothetical trade of David Wright to Boston, and do believe he could be worthwhile as a platoon partner / backup plan to Dan Murphy at 1B, I don’t see the Mets as being that creative and bold. The truth is, Lowell might be able to handle SECOND BASE adequately, and provide enough punch to counteract defensive deficiencies — but again, the Mets are neither that bold nor that creative.

Could it be a four-team deal with players and bad contracts flying all over the place?

Anything is possible. But in this case, I’m guessing it’s pure bunk.

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 January 5, 2010 at 10:23 am
    Though I wouldn’t agree that a Lowell for Castillo swap “doesn’t make much sense from any angle whatsoever,” I concede that the probability of the trade is slim to none. But I do think the trade could be to the benefit of both sides.

    The rationale from the Mets’ point of view is much clearer. They finally rid themselves of Castillo, opening up 2B for the signing of O-Dog, and allowing them to use Lowell in the same way they used Fernando Tatis the last 2 seasons, sans the OF work. Lowell would presumably platoon w/Murphy at 1B, and spell Wright at 3B on rare occasions. I’m not saying I’m in agreement with these moves, since I don’t see Hudson as a clear upgrade over Castillo. And who knows how much of Castillo’s contract the Mets would have to eat, on top of the $12M salary Lowell is set to make in 2010. That’s potentially a lot of money to be spending to get Hudson to replace Castillo and to take on a 36 year old part time infielder coming off thumb surgery. I’m just saying that I could see how it makes sense for the Mets to develop this plan.

    As for the Red Sox, the deal makes sense for them from the angle of percieved value. With the signing of Adrian Beltre, the Red Sox need Mike Lowell now just as much as if they were to trade for Castillo. So the view point of ‘which player do the Red Sox need more’ is moot, because they need neither. However, I think the Red Sox can look at the swap and say that Castillo is coming off a great rebound year in which he stayed healthy and reestablished his role as an OBP machine, whereas Lowell has just gone under the knife, is now getting into the twilight of his career at 36, and is no longer worth paying $12M a season for, especially to be a backup. In other words, Castillo is the lesser of the two evils, and more than likely the easier of the 2 to trade – especially if the Sox can get the Mets to pay off some of Castillo’s remaining contract. Essentially, the Sox would be trading one really-hard-to-trade player for one somewhat-hard-to-trade player. I realize the Mets have had the darndest time trying to trade Castillo, but I think that has more to do with the Mets asking for a higher return than what the Red Sox would settle for. Worst come to worst, the Sox are stuck with Castillo and he’ll be a $6M per year backup, which is still better than the $12M pricetag Lowell carries. From that angle, I can see a reason why the Sox could be interested in the trade.

    Like I said, it’s likely a longshot. But, T/F: stranger things have happened.

  2. Harry Chiti January 7, 2010 at 9:10 am
    Lowell as a first base platoon mate for Murphy. Based on what? Based on your observations of him at first?? Based on scouting reports of him at first?? Based on his career of ZERO games at first?? There is nothoing in his history to make any evaluation on….
  3. isuzudude January 7, 2010 at 9:57 am
    Harry, sometimes when your back is up against the wall and you’re trying to construct a winning ballclub, it requires you to think outside the box a little bit. No, Lowell has never played 1B in the majors before, but what are you basing his inevitable failure at the position on? His gold glove caliber play at 3B? The incredibly high level of talent that’s needed to man 1B?

    The only time prior to 2009 Dan Murphy donned a firstbaseman’s mitt as a pro was for 13 games at AA in ’08. But, after the Mets threw him into the fire at 1B last season due to injury, now you look at him as the starting 1B, despite his obvious struggles at the position. So, why are you so accepting to pencil Murphy in as the starting 1B regardless of his defensive inabilities which we have all witnessed first hand, but are completely unaccepting to give Lowell a platoon job at 1B even though he comes with the reputation of being a defensive asset?

    When the Mets signed Todd Zeile in 2000 he was a 3B with very little 1B experience, but he handled the transition fine and the Mets made it to the world series that year. Miguel Cabrera never played 1B prior to 2008 when the Tigers stuck him in at the position, and no one in Detroit is crying over his defense. Citing those 2 examples, why is it unacceptable to believe Lowell is also defensively capable enough to move from 3B to 1B as well?

    There is no evaluation here of Lowell’s play at 1B. All we are doing is projecting what role Lowell would have if traded to the Mets. Perhaps you can’t see Lowell adjusting well to a transition to 1B, which is fine, but don’t elude that players can’t handle a switch to a position which they’ve never played before, because history has shown it’s been done before. And I’d say the odds are in Lowell’s favor of handling the transition quite well.

  4. joejanish January 7, 2010 at 6:01 pm
    Harry, I have to agree with ‘dude here in defending myself. If the Mets can put an historically BAD defensive infielder (in minors and college) at 1B (Murphy) and expect it to work out, why wouldn’t they think an OUTSTANDING and proven MLB infielder could handle the position?

    Further, the idea is not necessarily mine — it’s something that’s been reported in the media as being considered by teams other than the Mets (such as the Rangers, who traded for him despite having Michael Young at 3B).

    Now, if you got on me for suggesting Jermaine Dye, Bengie Molina, or someone else who has never fielded a ground ball in MLB, I might be more inclined to change my tune.