Check with Eck

So the “buzz” surrounding the Mets today is David Eckstein.

Now, before we go nutty about the possibilities, understand that there has been no talk from anyone inside the Mets’ organization regarding Eckstein. Rather, it is pure speculation tossed out by Ken Rosenthal and Joel Sherman. (Actually, Rosenthal might have come up with the idea after reading Sherman’s column.)

Here’s the irony: Paul LoDuca is to Jason Kendall as Luis Castillo is to Eckstein. In other words, Eckstein is essentially the same player as Castillo, so if you’re on board with bringing Castillo back, but he doesn’t return, then you’re probably cool with Eckstein coming to New York.

David Eckstein is 32, the same age as Castillo. They’re both scrappy, heady ballplayers who play hard, can bunt well, run the bases intelligently and with good speed — they’re fairly equal in doing “all the little things”. They both have World Series rings, so they “know how to win”. They’d both fit nicely in the #2 hole, and they both play above-average defense. They also both are punch and judy hitters who spray the ball to all shallow areas of the outfield — but they make consistent contact and are good hit-and-run men. Additionally, they’re both tenacious and annoying little pests, always fighting and seeming to come up with the bloop hit or diving play to break their opponent’s back — the kind of guy you want on your team, but not playing against you.

If there are any differences between the two, Castillo will probably walk more often and have a higher OBP. He also has more experience turning the DP from the second base side. Further, Castillo can hit from both sides of the plate. If (a big if at that) Castillo’s knees are healthy, he might steal a few more bases. Otherwise, they’re basically the same player.

What I like about having either Eckstein or Castillo — in addition to the above — is that they both hit well from the right side, which means Ruben Gotay could have an opportunity to stick around another year and get some ABs on Thursday afternoons against righthanders (assuming the planets line up according to Willie Randolph’s master plan).

Now, if there is any truth at all to Ed Coleman’s remark that Luis Castillo is a “bad influence”, I’d think the Mets would consider Eckstein a top candidate for second base. However, I get the feeling — at this point in time — that they’re leaning toward Castillo as their #1 choice.

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. julie October 10, 2007 at 4:23 pm
    Inquiring minds would love to know what the bad influence thing is all about!! 😉
  2. joe October 10, 2007 at 4:32 pm
    Yeah I agree that knocked me off my chair when I heard it. It was Ed Coleman talking to Mike and the Mad Dog on WFAN at the end of the season. Coleman said something to the effect of Castillo being one who sulks and pouts and that the Mets didn’t like that influence around Reyes.

    Crazy, as Castillo would seem to be a guy who you’d think would have a positive influence on a kid like Jose.

  3. isuzudude October 10, 2007 at 5:52 pm

    I wouldn’t mind either one. Eckstein’s lack of experience playing 2B worries me, but I don’t think it would take a rocket scientist for him to figure it out.

  4. Matt Himelfarb October 10, 2007 at 8:27 pm
    Only one problem with the gritty, scrappy Eckstein- he sucks.
  5. isuzudude October 10, 2007 at 8:48 pm
    If hitting .309 with only 22 K’s in 434 ABs sucks, then I say let’s re-name the team the New York Suckers.
  6. joe October 10, 2007 at 9:49 pm
    Ah, this is the fun part of the Eckstein argument. There is absolutely no middle ground — people are either for it, or against it.

    And predictably, the statheads are against it while the old schoolers are for it.

    Ding ding ding! Round two!

  7. sincekindergarten October 11, 2007 at 4:50 am
    Im in for Eck. As I said in the thread about Aaron Rowand, the attitude that the Mets took in September cost them the division almost as much, if not more, than the bullpen collapse, IMO. Eck may “inhale sharply” (.309 over 434 ABs and 22Ks doesn’t “suck”), but he’s got a no-nonsense, get-it-done attitude that the Mets dearly need. If the Mets got him and Rowand, I’m not sure if LMillz could stand the influx of blue-collar attitudes.
  8. isuzudude October 11, 2007 at 6:00 am
    I haven’t heard anything about the Mets getting Rowand…and I wouldn’t be getting my hopes up either. He’ll easily command $10-mil a year over at least 4 years coming off the season he had and seeing what Gary Matthews Jr got from the Angels last offseason. And then you sign him, where do you put him? I doubt he wants to play corner OF, and I don’t see Beltran moving from CF any time soon.
  9. Walnutz15 October 11, 2007 at 6:33 am
    I’d love to see if Eckstein would play 2nd base for the Mets.

    Especially if they were able to do the right thing, and work in a reasonable way of playing:

    * Reyes at SS

    * Eckstein at 2Bag; while Gotay is there in the backdrop.

    * Reyes needs a day? — Eckstein shifts over to SS.

    * Eckstein needs a day off at 2nd? — Gotay is there as the left-handed stick.

    That way, no one gets “fatigued” down the stretch — (as everybody’s been so quick to point as “validation” for Reyes’ struggles.)

    This makes alot of sense; especially since Castillo’s already been rumored as a “bad influence” on Reyes (true or not — it’s been speculated) and basically runs like a wounded thoroughbred on the basepaths.

    It also gets Gotay some reps at either 2nd or SS, without having to “worry” about him as a primary defensive 2nd baseman — something that’s totally overblown anyway.

    I think Eckstein could be an intriguing pickup. Probably the most annoying player in the world to watch, but he’s a “gamer”, and that’s translated over the years into “winner” as well.

    Can’t argue with a guy who has 2 world series rings, and the God-given ability of a 14-year old. He made the best of it, and it’s worked out for the teams he’s played on in Anaheim and St. Louis.

    Check with Eck is right — it couldn’t hurt!