2010 Analysis: Luis Castillo

You hate Luis Castillo – I get it.

We all thought that Omar Minaya was out of his mind for bidding against himself and giving Castillo a 4-year, $25M contract. We all knew it was a bad decision before the 2008 season even started, and we continue to suffer through the frustration that Castillo will be paid by the Mets through the end of 2011 – assuming Sandy Alderson can’t find a similarly bad contract to swap with this winter.

Although Castillo had a pretty decent year in 2009 (.302 AVG, .387 OBP, 20 SB), he was nowhere near the level of “acceptable” in 2010. Dogged by injuries from the outset, Castillo finished with a career-low .235 batting average and .337 OBP. Further, his defense took another step backward.

A completely healthy Castillo – meaning, his legs are 100% — is not a terrible solution at second base. However, if Castillo doesn’t have his legs, he doesn’t have anything, and IS a terrible solution at second base. Castillo’s game is to slap or walk his way on base, then run around them toward home plate. Similarly, his legs are key to his defensive prowess, in regard to both his range and his ability to turn a double play. Without healthy legs, Castillo has nothing else to offer a Major League Baseball team. Which is a shame, because as much as you may hate him, he’s really not a bad guy, is a team player, a smart ballplayer, and a hustler. But at this point in his career, it’s hard to justify his having a job – much less paying him $6M.

2011 Projection

Despite the fact that Moneyball glorifies OBP, and that is Castillo’s traditional strength, there is no doubt that Sandy Alderson will try to either swap Castillo for another bad contract or release him outright. Either way, it probably doesn’t make a difference since the Mets are going nowhere in 2011. If by chance he can get his legs back, and the Mets manager can play him sporadically enough to stay fresh, he could play well enough in the first three months of the season to delude a playoff-contending team into giving away a prospect for his services come July. It’s not much of a risk from the Mets’ perspective, considering that 2011 is a rebuilding year and neither Ruben Tejada nor Reese Havens belong in MLB yet.

Read the 2009 Analysis of Luis Castillo

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. CatchDog November 11, 2010 at 9:48 am
    Unless Louie comes into ST in top shape and displaying some of his old form, I just don’t see him playing for the Mets.

    Trade him or cut bait. Alderson has bigger fish to fry with Ollie and Frankie’s possible option.

  2. Walnutz15 November 11, 2010 at 10:36 am
    I’m hoping that that’s the last picture I ever see of Luis Castillo in a Met uniform.

    Hated him from the time he was traded for; and the sentiment never got any better.

    Guys like him are the problem with this team’s past philosophy…….acquire overpaid, breaking-down veterans – while passing up younger-and-more-athletic options at the time.

    It literally sets them back years at certain positions.

    Glad to know that the current regime will have their eyes on more cost-effective models of productive players…..I’d absolutely hate to see this kind of mistake made again.