Luis Castillo Released

In case you are just crawling out from under your rock, Luis Castillo was released by the Mets on Friday afternoon. Soon after, Mets fans were dancing in the streets.

What I don’t get is why Castillo hung around this long. Further, why he was asked to report to Port St. Lucie in the first place, taking reps and at-bats from Brad Emaus, Dan Murphy, and Justin Turner. Further,why was Castillo the one dismissed from auditions first?

Here’s my point: if Castillo was being seriously considered for the 2B job, then what was it that the Mets were looking for him to do, and what was it that caused him to be cut? None of the other candidates have shown themselves to be anything special, and although Castillo hasn’t been particularly outstanding either, he also hasn’t been awful — in fact, it could be argued that he has been the top all-around second baseman this spring. That’s not saying much, but it is the truth. Only Turner has come as close to looking like he can capably play the position. But that’s not even the point. The point is, if Castillo was given the opportunity to regain his job, one would imagine he would have to have proven he was 100% healthy and able to perform at the same level he did in 2010. And in these past four weeks, Castillo did exactly that: he proved to be healthy, to have limited range but fairly reliable hands, to turn the double play as smoothly as ever, to take a bunch of pitches, to make contact without hitting for power, and to run the bases with intelligence and above-average speed. In short, he did exactly what his ceiling is at this point in his career. It’s not a high ceiling, but again, that’s not the point — because if the Mets weren’t satisfied with what Luis Castillo is capable of doing, then allowing him to be in Port St. Lucie was a complete waste of everyone’s time. Did they think that he would juice up on undetectable PEDs and start running like he did 5 years ago, and hit the ball with more authority than he ever has in his life?

I’m not arguing that the Mets should have kept Castillo. Rather, I’d like to know why they didn’t cut him loose before spring training began. Perhaps it was a courtesy extended to a longtime veteran who — despite the perspective of the typical Mets fan — was a good soldier and teammate? That would make sense: the team had no interest in keeping Castillo, but gave him the opportunity to show other MLB teams that he was healthy and still capable of playing at the MLB level. Maybe the Phillies will pick him up to play 2B while Chase Utley is on the mend.

What’s your thought? Why did the Mets audition Castillo this spring, rather than cut him loose before camp opened?

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. NormE March 19, 2011 at 11:41 am
    We don’t/won’t know the reason for bringing him to camp, but we can guess.
    Was it to give him a chance to showcase for other teams? Or insurance in case of injuries to the other
    candidates? Or to convince themselves that he wasn’t going to blow the competition out of the water? Or to show fans/players that they are being open-minded? Or laying the groundwork for Ollie to be released?
    Or………….I don’t know and it really doesn’t matter anymore.
    He did a professional job, and his time has passed, just as it does for all players. That’s the game—-it can be cruel.
  2. KH March 19, 2011 at 4:45 pm
    If Castillo had gotten of to a hot start in ST, then maybe he could have been traded to Philly or anyone looking for a backup 2B. If the other team would have contributed more to his salary or provided a crate’s worth of baseballs, then it’s win-win for the Mets.