Daily Mets Poll: Castillo or Tejada?
Who should be the Mets 2B?
- Ruben Tejada, regardless of Castillo's health (75%, 160 Votes)
- Luis Castillo, once he's healthy (19%, 40 Votes)
- Trade for a 2B (specify in comments section) (6%, 13 Votes)
Total Voters: 213
Last week, it was reported that Luis Castillo will start at second base when he returns to the team. What do you think?
If you can’t unload him, he needs to play. Not because of his contract, but because he is experienced and a better player than Tejada.
That said, it is probably a good idea to rotate Tejada into the SS/2B positions to keep both Reyes and Castillo off the DL.
If you can trade Castillo, fine. But keep in mind a Tejada/Cora 2B tandem won’t be much better than what Castillo would provide (although cheaper). If you’re looking for outside help, may I please steer you away from Kelly Johnson. As I wrote on another thread last month, with a few minor updates:
“It seems like a popular thought these days is to encourage the Mets to find a 2B (either to replace Castillo or compete with him), and Kelly Johnson’s name has come up in many places. However, I am no fan of Mr. Johnson. That may seem weird to say about a guy who’d be 2nd on the team in home runs if he played for the Mets and is having an excellent comeback season for Arizona. But please allow me to reveal his home/away splits:
Home – .314 avg, 9 HR, 27 RBI, .428 OBP, 1.063 OPS in 137 AB
Away – .221 avg, 4 HR, 11 RBI, .309 OBP, .659 OPS in 154 AB
Knowing how Arizona’s home field tends to bring out the best in batters, while CitiField tends to bring out the worst, I would have to assume that, if acquired by the Mets, Johnson would be due for one HUGE drop off in production. Not to mention he’s hit only about .250 with 4 homers since the end of April. Johnson is also a poor defensive player with little versatility. In my opinion, Johnson would be a terrible match for the Mets, and should be no one of whom the team is considering trading for.”
Meantime, how do you justify keeping Tejada on the roster when Castillo comes back? You will then have 4 middle infielders on the team, along with Reyes and Cora. As a preemptive warning: don’t suggest dropping Cora, because the Mets won’t do it. The easy answer to squeeze Tejada on the team is to DFA Jesus Feliciano when Castillo and Beltran come back, which gives you a Pagan/Carter/Tejada/Cora/Blanco bench (assuming Thole goes back to the minors). But wouldn’t you rather your 20-year old getting everyday playing time at AAA honing his .217 average rather than playing 3 times a week at the majors, getting random at bats? Feliciano has at least proven (so far) he can get on base at the major league level, so right away his presence on the bench becomes much more valuable than Tejada’s.
The ideal scenario is that Castillo gets dumped on some other team before the deadline, and the Mets cheaply acquire a new 2B for 2010. But this is not going to happen. And so the realistic and responsible scenario is for Castillo to start when he returns to health, and Tejada goes back to AAA. If Castillo re-injures himself or proves to be no longer productive, Tejada can come back and inherit the position; but Castillo deserves the shot based on who he is, how much he makes, and what he’s done in the not-so-distant past.
So if Tejada stays, so must Thole to catch everyday. I believe, however, that Tejada really needs more time in AAA to develop as a hitter. You can see the potential there, but no way is he ready to face quality ML pitching on a daily basis.
Besides, some of that split differential can be attributed to pitchers who have terrible home/road splits. If they throw a mistake and Johnson crushes it, you can’t blame him for that. It’s not like his home runs are wind-aided.
We didn’t blame the Mets for beating up on Cleveland and Baltimore and we don’t discount them for being a great home team that can’t beat a good team on the road.
That said, I don’t really like Johnson. But he’s better than Castillo.
Bring back Argenis “In the Middle of Everything” Reyes and let Tejada continue to develop in A or AA where he belongs.
Your other arguments don’t really apply to the debate, either. Good for Johnson that he takes advantage of bad pitching at home. The point is that his balls that are flying out in Arizona are dying in the OF at CitiField. His .221 average away from Arizona suggest he can’t get hits in ballparks where the dimensions are less in his favor. Hence, CitiField would be his worst kryptonite.
Nobody is blaming Johnson for taking advantage of his environment, just like no one blames the Mets for winning alot at home or beating weaker competition. All I’m saying is that if you take Johnson away from his friendly confines (just like if you were to take the Mets way from Citi, or put them against stronger competition), the chances of failure are much greater. And his stats this season prove this point.
I have one comment and that is that I like Tejada’s defense better than Castillo’s. I believe you can bury Tejada in the 8 hole and go with his better defense whereas everyone says Castillo should not bat anywhere but 2 and is wasted batting 8th, plus his defense is solid but slow due to his injuries. So I just think Tejada is a better fit right now for this team. I want Pagan batting 2 as long as he is in the lineup.