Castillo Stays – Now What?

A bevy of sources are reporting that the Associated Press is reporting that Luis Castillo has signed a 4-year, $25M deal with the Mets.

Funny, isn’t it, what a Yorvit Torrealba deal gone bad can do to a media outlet? Now instead of being “first to the scoop” when it comes to Mets news, everyone is “reporting” what someone else is reporting. Or something like that.

Usually, we can trust the AP with things like this. Of course, we thought we could trust the website, too, but found that to be not the case. Although, IS reporting the same deal.

For the moment, we will temporarily accept this turn of events as factual, for the purpose of filling our afternoon with useless blogging.

Four years seems like a long commitment for a 32-year-old second baseman with a bad knee. And considering that he’s from the Dominican Republic, there’s at least some reason to believe he could be a few years older than 32. But we won’t go there.

The funny thing is, in 2003, the Mets likely would have balked at a 4-year deal for the then-27 year-old second baseman with a healthy set of knees. Now though, the Mets had to overpay — there really wasn’t much of a choice. It was either 4/25 for Castillo or 4/25 for David Eckstein, and which would YOU prefer?

Luis Castillo proved he could handle playing in New York, and that counts for something. He proved that he still has a great glove and can turn a double play with the best of them, even if his range is now severely limited. And he proved he could still put the bat on the ball, as well as take a walk, and made an ideal #2 hitter — those are not so easy to find. And even with a bad wheel, he proved he could still steal a base. And he played hard and focused. Further, there is some hope that he’ll regain some of his Gold Glove range and his basestealing speed after knee surgery. Compare all that to Eckstein, who has always played in small markets, has never had the speed of Castillo, never takes a walk, hit .300 for the first time in his career last year (Castillo has done it 7 times), would have to change his position (with no guarantee he’d turn a DP well from the second base side), and has had two consecutive injury-marred seasons.

The Eckstein consideration, in fact, looks worse and worse the more you examine it. He’s been a leadoff hitter the last few years, despite an average OBP and little speed. With Albert Pujols hitting third, you’d think a leadoff batter would score 100+ runs on an annual basis, yet Eckstein hasn’t done that since 2002 with the Angels. Because he doesn’t walk very often — strange, you’d think that he did — his OBP is directly reliant on his batting average, which makes him, effectively, a shorter and quicker version of Paul LoDuca. The idea that he would easily transition to second base was taken all too easily — the double play turn is completely different, as are the throws. Yes, he can probably do it, and probably will be required to make the move eventually, but there’s no guarantee he’ll be a defensive whiz at the position. Jose Reyes didn’t look so great on the right side back in ’04, did he? And Reyes is much more athletically gifted than Eckstein.

Considering the alternative options, the Luis Castillo signing looks good. Three years would have been more comfortable but hey, sometimes you have to overpay. Now that second base and the #2 spot in the order is settled, Omar Minaya can get back to the plan of finding a catcher and a few pitchers.

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. isuzudude November 19, 2007 at 1:35 pm
    Castillo is the academic choice at 2B. He’s the perfect #2 hitter behind Reyes. And now, for at least the next 4 years, we’ll likely have back-to-back-to-back .300 hitters at the top of our lineup, hoping Reyes re-finds himself and Wright continues his progress. The only better choice would have been Roberts, and he would have cost the world to acquire. Balky knees and all, $25-mil is worth it. The overall value he provides the Mets justifies $6-7-mil per year. Chump change when you consider Yorvit was going to make close to $5-mil a year for simply putting down fingers and blocking balls.

    Now, let’s just hope the media has this one right. By the way, considering how the circumstances played out, will the Torrealba fiasco fall under “buzz bologna” or something else?

  2. skibolton November 19, 2007 at 1:36 pm
    He looked pretty hobbled toward the end of last season, I don’t know how much spped or range he can lose. I think the surgery can only help, but if he comes back exactly the same I’m fine with that. I don’t tink I’d expect castillo to decline much over the next four years past the point he is already at. Much better than eckstein.
  3. Micalpalyn November 19, 2007 at 1:49 pm
    ‘The funny thing is, in 2003, the Mets likely would have balked at a 4-year deal for the then-27 year-old second baseman with a healthy set of knees. Now though, the Mets had to overpay ……………….’

    I cant believe that isu let that slide! I believe the previous GM Jim Duquette offered Castillo 4yrs/32M + to leave Fla and Luis rolled that offer into a deal from the Fish. Please correct me.

  4. skibolton November 19, 2007 at 1:54 pm
    You are correct
  5. joe November 19, 2007 at 2:03 pm
    Wow! I got caught!

    Can someone confirm the Mets offered a four-year guaranteed contract, and not a 3-year + option as the Twins gave him? Everything I can find in the internet archives stated the Mets offered 3/$15M … and then signed Kaz for 3/$20 instead.

  6. joe November 19, 2007 at 2:05 pm
    Ack! I meant the Marlins, not the Twins. duh