Do We Want Castillo?

OK, so now the deal looks more reasonable: minor league catcher Drew Butera and outfielder Dustin Martin for Luis Castillo.

I have no qualms about the talent exchange here. Drew Butera will be lucky to reach the glorious heights of his dad Sal — who was nothing more than a mediocre third-string catcher. Martin’s future was not with the Mets, and whose ceiling may be roster filler in AAA.

However, now that it looks like the Mets will indeed get Luis Castillo, do we really want him?

Here’s the problem: Castillo is more or less guaranteed to step right in and start at second base, immediately. He is all the things that Willie Randolph craves: an experienced (aging) veteran, ideal second place (not power) hitter, who makes a lot of contact (doesn’t walk much), with a Gold Glove resume (but that was a long time ago and several knee surgeries ago), and (was) a basestealing threat.

In other words, back to the bench for Ruben Gotay, who was just starting to show how much of an impact he could make on the team.

I do like Luis Castillo as an all-around ballplayer, and I like him in the #2 spot — assuming that LoDuca will never hit there again regardless. What I don’t like is Gotay going back to the bench, which appears inevitable. It reminds me of my rage when the Mets sent Melvin Mora packing in return for Mike “I’m going back to Baltimore after the season” Bordick.

Castillo, by the way, is, like Gotay, a switch-hitter. He’s hitting .315 from the left side this year and .270 from the right (in 89 at-bats).

Braves Getting Dotel?

As if the Mark Teixeira deal weren’t enough, the Braves are also on their way to obtaining Octavio Dotel, and arm that would fit very nicely in the Mets’ bullpen. How the Braves are able to pull off both deals is a wonder, especially since the Royals seemed to be asking a king’s ransom for Dotel. There is one good thing — the Braves appear to be emptying their coffers for short-term rentals, which can only help the Mets over the next few years. My concern, however, is for this year.

Phillies Get Kyle Lohse

So the Phillies picked up eternal enigma Kyle Lohse. That could be cause for celebration by Mets fans. If he can continue to hold the New York offense to only five runs every four and a third innings, though, we can forget about ten-run-ruling the Phils before the seventh frame.

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. Micalpalyn July 30, 2007 at 4:08 pm
    Joe: Its not really about Gotay, but more about Aug, Sept and Oct. Castillo beat the Yanks a few yrs ago playing “reyes’ ball. And I still think Gotay will be in there. But Castillo is insurance.

    On Salty: I think the Braves lost a bunch, maybe overpayed. Salty has been hyped for 3 yrs and might be the 2nd coming of I-Rod I was impressed by his all round game and dreading his flashes of clutch hitting and power. Now the Braves have lost their catching depth and MccAnn must play everyday. The Braves have been raped in several trades losing alot of organizational deopth. Wilson Betemit was a huge loss, as was Meyer (albeit injured), and Adam Wainright. What that tells me based on the pending FA of Andruw, the age of Smoltz, the fragility of Hudson and chip, the Braves are playing some serious poker and going for it…..But Kelly Johnson and Willie Harris are young and as such have question marks. Franceour too has his dolldrums. Then the pitching has its issues after Smoltz and Hudson. Even with Tex, the phillies could overtake them.

  2. isuzudude July 30, 2007 at 4:18 pm
    Can’t say I really have a huge problem obtaining Castillo, considering what we’re giving up. The biggest problem is now Gotay goes to the bench, but isn’t that a good thing to have a .350 switch hitter coming off the bench? We all had no problems bringing Loretta from Houston to bat second and play second. How much of a drop-off is Castillo? Castillo’s got the better average, better speed, probably better defense, and is a switch hitter. Just less power and less versatility, which we didn’t need anyway. I’m confident Castillo will serve very well as the #2 hitter, perhaps better than LoDuca last year, and if by chance he struggles, I’m also confident Gotay can step right back in at 2B. The best part of the deal is that it doesn’t effect our plans to land a RP or OF b/c none of out first-teir, second-teir, or third-teir prospects were disrupted to get Castillo. I say good pick-up, A-
  3. sincekindergarten July 30, 2007 at 4:51 pm
    The Kansas City Star is reporting that the player going the other way for Dotel is Met-killer Kyle Davies. Gotta love that!
  4. sincekindergarten July 30, 2007 at 5:30 pm
    And, Yahoo Sports is now saying that the Braves have talked to the Reds about Bronson Arroyo.
  5. JIMMYJ723 July 30, 2007 at 6:30 pm
    I’m very happy with the Castillo trade. We finally have a solid #2 hitter. He is a contact hitter, plays solid defense, and can steal a few bases. More importantly, we gave up almost nothing to get him. Typical Omar Minaya type deal; low risk, high reward.

    I am a fan of Gotay but as good as he’s looked, he’s a question mark. Mainly due to the limited opportunity he’s had to fully establish himself (thanks Willie). He’ll provide good pop off the bench, for now.

    Worse case scenario… Castillo is a bust who leaves at the end of the season and we get a 1st round pick as compenasation. I have no problem with that.

  6. Matt Himelfarb July 30, 2007 at 6:34 pm
    To me, the Mets traded for Luis Castillo for the draft picks. Castillo is horrible defensively and a decent 2B offensively. Fortunately, the Mets gave up two roster fillers in Dustin Martin and Drew Butera and will recieve a 2nd or 3rd round pick in next year’s draft if they let him go.

    I wouldn’t be shocked if that was the only reason Omar pulled off the deal.

  7. fafhrd316 July 30, 2007 at 6:40 pm
    Does anyone here pay attention to Castillo and Gotay? First, Castillo’s a 3 time Gold Glover. Let’s put the “he’s a horrid defender” line to rest, folks. Second, he’s 31. He’s not old. Let’s put that to rest, as well. And third, he’s got something the Mets don’t have: a World Series Ring from the 2003 Marlins.

    Secondly, I like Gotay, but he only hits right handers well (.371 BA). He’s also got a (.222 BA), and he only has 123 at bats this year. His .350 BA is a mirage, folks. Castillo’s .300 BA isn’t. He’s a perfect #2 hitter for the Mets- and they got him for nothing.

  8. Matt Himelfarb July 30, 2007 at 7:00 pm
    Haven’t you figured out that gold gloves mean nothing???

    Castillo’s zone rating was the second worst in the aL this year. His FRAA last year was a -9. That’s pitifl. Again, it’s a good deal because of the draft picks.

  9. JIMMYJ723 July 30, 2007 at 7:36 pm
    Zone Rating? Sounds like something a bunch of number crunchers at ESPN came up with to waste everyone’s time. I prefer just watching baseball and making assessments for myself. Is Castillo the Gold Glover he was with the Marlins… absolutlely not… but he’s still a very good defensive player. He might not have the range he used to but he makes the plays he needs to and doesn’t make a lot of mistakes. I would say he’s still an above-average defensive player. What more could we expect for a couple of AA players?
  10. joe July 30, 2007 at 9:33 pm
    I like Castillo from the standpoint of he’s a veteran, winning guy who should rise to the occasion come the heat of September and the postseason. However, if I feel that way about Castillo then I have to feel the same way about Shawn Green and Moises Alou, right? So in other words, we’d rather see Green and Castillo in the lineup than Milledge and Gotay …. right? Or wrong?

    I’m with Matt on this one — not sure that Castillo is the Gold Glover he used to be, especially with his knee problems. The guy’s been hobbling around all year, affecting not only his fielding but his baserunning too — so don’t expect him to be zipping around the bases and stealing like he used to. On the one hand, he’s nearly guaranteed to give the Mets sure-handed defense in regard to the balls he gets to, he’ll consistently turn the DP, he’ll get the bat on the ball at around a .295 clip, and he won’t make rookie mistakes. On the other hand, Gotay’s development gets stunted, and we’ll never know if his extra-base power will make a difference playing every day. In the end, the Mets chose the safest, most reliable option — and if Gotay really is all that, then they have a second baseman of the future.

    If you didn’t get what I just stated, it goes like this: I’m sad that Gotay goes to the bench, but OK with Castillo taking over for now — mainly because the cost was cheap and Castillo is a solid, dependable gamer.

    Unfortunately, this deal doesn’t have the sex appeal of Teixeira or even Dotel. Hopefully Omar has something else up his sleeve (I’d be happy with it being as simple as sending Pelfrey to the pen).

  11. sincekindergarten July 31, 2007 at 4:44 am
    One thing you overlooked, Joe–Castillo may not get around the bases as well as he used to, and he might be injury-prone, but isn’t the Metrodome still using some sort of Astroturf, or “fieldturf,” or whatever artificial surface passes for a playing surface these days? Going back to natural grass has got to count for something, if that’s in fewer injuries, or a slower ball through the infield. I know that some stat guy out there, with far too much time on their hands, can answer this. (Or, maybe it’s the stat guy’s job to come up with stuff like this, in which case I appreciate his dedication.)

    Yeah, it’s not as “sexy” as Teixeira. Oh– is saying that the Dotel “deal” wasn’t a deal, but an offer. JS isn’t even in on the negotiations yet.

  12. joe July 31, 2007 at 10:23 am
    Good point re: the grass vs. turf … though the Metrodome has something called “field turf” which isn’t nearly as hard as the plastic carpets laid atop cement in the parks of the 1970s and 80s.

    Castillo has better hands, there’s no doubt, and has been turning DPs ten years longer than Gotay, so those two skills should make up for the lack of range.

  13. isuzudude July 31, 2007 at 10:51 am
    The ‘grass vs turf’ argument goes both ways. Although it may be easier on the body and more beneficial for defenders, how much of Castillo’s .304 average you think is because he squirted a grounder through the hole on carpet that doesn’t get through on grass? Or he chops a ball off the carpet and over a thirdbaseman’s head, where on grass it’s a routine grounder? so whereas his defense could improve because of the playing field at Shea, his offensive numbers (what small amount there are, anyway) may also take a hit.

    Then again, he was hitting .297 at the Metrodome this year and .311 on the road…so I suppose he’s figured out how to hit away from the turf.

    Anybody know if there are any other teams that have two switch-hitting .300 hitters at the top of their lineup?

  14. Micalpalyn July 31, 2007 at 11:46 am
    Better yet if Gotay plays he also is a SH .300 hitter. Then if CB hits 3rd there is yet another SH.
  15. isuzudude July 31, 2007 at 1:45 pm
    Very true…makes it very tough on the opposition late in ballgames when the Mets have 3 switch hitters back to back to back in the lineup, all capable of hitting around .300.