Luis Castillo and Juan Pierre

juan-pierreOne of the rumors floating around is that the Mets and Dodgers are talking about swapping Luis Castillo and Juan Pierre. But how can that help the Mets, who need a slugger? There’s at least one scenario where it can make sense …

As MetsToday reader isuzudude points out, we discussed a Castillo – Pierre trade right here last winter. Though, my proposal — which was just for fun — was a bit more elaborate, and included Carlos Beltran and Russell Martin, among others. Funny though, how the more things change, the more they stay the same.

But how do you feel about such a swap now?

Juan Pierre is essentially the same player as Luis Castillo, except he hits from only one side and plays the outfield instead of 2B. Also, his ability to get on base is directly tied to his batting average, and he’s a fairly aggressive hitter. That said, he’s probably a better fit in the #8 spot in the order than at the top.

At first, swapping Castillo for Pierre doesn’t seem to make much sense, since the Mets need to find a power bat, but the more I think about it, the more it could work — IF the Mets made other moves to bring in sluggers.

First, they would absolutely have to get a big-time power bat for 1B. We’re talking Prince Fielder, Adam Dunn, Adrian Gonzalez, monster-type power. No matter which way you slice it, the Mets need a cleanup hitter for 2010, and they have either LF or 1B open. You can live with a Pierre / Angel Pagan platoon in LF if you have a monster at 1B AND you get a combination of offense and defense at 2B. But who would be the man for 2B?

A lot of fans are clamoring for Orlando Hudson. That could work, as could the other suggestions of Placido Polanco or Adam Kennedy that are making the rounds. The Mets must get better defense at 2B, and ideally, that second baseman is someone who can hit at the top of the lineup, behind Jose Reyes. Hudson and Polanco both fit that mold, and Kennedy might. I’ve always liked Kennedy, but he’s been wildly inconsistent from year to year with the bat, and though always been highly regarded with the glove, his defensive skills are slipping with age. Of these three, Polanco most likely has the edge on defense — but you never know, since Polanco is not getting any younger, either. Next year, all three could be at the same level defensively.

What also could work is getting that monster slugger for 1B and bringing in Dan Uggla to play 2B. With the slugger and the 25-30 bombs Uggla will provide, you can absolutely live with Juan Pierre in LF and the 8 hole.

One more idea is to sign a RH-hitter left fielder with some pop, to either platoon with Pierre or compete for the starting job. Fan favorite Xavier Nady comes to mind.

And we likely will see a new catcher in 2010. If it’s Bengie Molina or Ramon Hernandez, there’s your #7 hitter in front of Pierre.

No matter what, though, the Mets have to find that cleanup hitter — it’s the key to everything in 2010.


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. Harry Chiti November 13, 2009 at 1:32 pm
    If the Mets make the trade they need to find a clean up hitter and if the Mets don’t make the trade they need to find a clean up hitter. if they make the trade they have one less place to put the clean up hitter since LF will be taken and they also need to find a new 2B man since they don’t have one ready in the minors. If they don’t make the trade they have more options to find a clean up hitter and they don’t have that immediate need to find a new 2B and they could try something smart like having Tejada play 2B in Buffalo for a full year and groom him to replace Caastillo in a year. The trade is a loser.
  2. Andy November 13, 2009 at 1:44 pm
    Does nobody else like Felipe Lopez?
  3. gary s. November 13, 2009 at 1:58 pm
    if we can only replace castillo with a polanco or adam kennedy or a possibly fading orlando hudson, there is not much upside to moving castillo.however if that is the case, murphy has to go.U cannot start the season with both of these very flawed players on the right side of the infield!!!!!!!!!
  4. Mic November 13, 2009 at 2:04 pm
    You and I both suggested that trade. It was SHOT down because of Blake Dewitt….

    anyway it does make more sense now. However let me stoke the stove because with rumors of Brandon Phillips being available AND the Mets in on Lackey…I’d propse a trade that alleviates Cincy of the $$$ burden of Phillips and Arroyo, sending them a package centered around Omir Santos and Mike Pelfrey. Isuzu…stranger things have happened.

  5. isuzudude November 13, 2009 at 2:14 pm
    The reason for shedding Castillo would be to get rid of his albatross-like contract, and to find someone with more pop in their bat. The problem with trading Castillo for Pierre is that Pierre is due to make $19M over the next 2 years, opposed to $12M for Castillo, and that Pierre has no more pop than Castillo to boot. This would be like trading Castillo for a more expensive Castillo, but instead of playing a position where limited power is tolerable at 2B, Pierre would be playing LF, where teams usually derive much of their power from. And if memory serves me, Pierre has no throwing arm. We might as well call him Mr Blow Pop because of all the lollipops he’ll be heaving back into the infield all year.

    If this is the type of deal Omar settles for in order to jettison Castillo out of town, I’d grade him very poorly. This is not a worthwhile transaction in my opinion.

  6. Harry Chiti November 13, 2009 at 5:00 pm
    mic: You say “anyway it does make more sense now”, yet you do not give even one small reason for your statement. So, how does a trade of Castillo for Pierre make sense. I understand fully how it benefits the dodgers. Is that what you are saying?
  7. Mic November 13, 2009 at 5:18 pm
    To qualify; last yr castillo’s stock was worst than Enron. It was obvious that he was untradeable…for anyone. Last yr while we might have proposed it (as bloggers) no GM was going to take Luis and Omar knew he had to throw money away to shed the contract. NOW Omar could do this deal (and others) and actually not have to give any money in the transaction.

    The reason I’m less inclined to get Juan Pierre is because his value is as a leadoff hitter..and nothing else. I dont think the Mets need an expensive 2nd leadoff man. If you get Pierre it most likely would be for a future deal or as part of a 3-way with $$ changing hands. Maybe Pirre goes to Toronto to leadoff, and the Mets get Overbay…..who knows.

  8. astromets November 13, 2009 at 5:33 pm
    Yeah I like Felipe Lopez, but he is not as much a certainty offensively as Polanco is in my mind.
    We simply can’t do this trade because Pierre would be a $9mil fourth outfielder, and now our outfielders would be Beltran, Francouer, Pagan, Pierre and Carter. Those last two seem a bit redundant, and I would much rather have the young kid who maybe just needs a shot than the aging veteran whose only tool, speed, is diminishing. Trading Castillo makes sense, but we won’t get too much and so we should only look to address small needs. We should either pick up a bullpen piece or a Catcher or a prospect.
  9. […] more about this trade possibility here. Tags: carlos beltran, dodgers, jeff francoeur, juan pierre luis castillo, mets Teams […]
  10. Harry Chiti November 13, 2009 at 8:31 pm
    Mic: In other words you just want to trade Castillo for anything and given the fact that the Dodgers couldn’t unload his contract which is twice as bloated as Castillo’s you’d make a bad deal on the hope you find a sucker who’s a bigger sucker than Omar would be if he made this deal. Thanks for proving that Castillo for Pierre is a bad deal for the Mets.
  11. Mike November 13, 2009 at 10:53 pm
    Forget about Pierre, we need more power.. Let’s trade for Brandon Phillips of the Reds for 2nd, sign Bay or get Nady for Left field, anybody but Schneider at catcher…Wolf and another solid 200 inning starter, and get a solid 8th inning guy, and we’re good to go for 2010.

    Not an easy task, but Minaya has to do it or he’ll be working at Wal Mart in 2011. Nothin’s a guarantee, but we would contend in 2010 with these upgrades.. In NY, it’s posssible..Hey Omar, get it done!!!

  12. Mike November 13, 2009 at 10:57 pm
    Oh..and by the way, signing Delgado for one more year would be ideal for 1st base. He plays 120 games, and Murphy works his way into the other 40+ games… We would be straight! Lookin forward to 2010.. Come on Omar…get it straight!
  13. CatchDog November 14, 2009 at 11:03 am
    If Pagan winds up being the left fielder next season (adding Phillips or Uggla at second and Fielder or AGonz at first), I’d be inclined to bat Angel as the lead off hitter.

    Pagan, Reyes, Wright, AGonz/Fielder, Beltran, Uggla/Phillips, Frenchy, Santos/Thole, pitcher.

    Pagan had great numbers when in the 1 hole. In addition, the lineup would have decent speed, is balanced and has some pop.

    Since the (2) positional players would be acquired thru trades, fill the pitching needs thru free agency (Lackey, Wolf, Sheets, Pavano or Harden).

  14. isuzudude November 14, 2009 at 11:48 am
    Mike & Catchdog:
    I’m curious to find out who you plan on giving up to acquire Phillips, Uggla, Gonzalez, or Fielder, considering you’d want 2 out of the 4. Do you think disassembling the minor leagues would be worth it for 2 players?
    Additionally, do you think it is a feasible or responsible for the Mets to outbid the 29 other teams in baseball for the likes of Bay, Lackey, Wolf, and an 8th inning setup man? I know the Wilpons have stated money is not an issue, but the payroll you’re looking to add would put the Mets in the stratosphere of the Yankees, and I’m not so sure the Wilpons are capable of going that high. I think you’re both going to need to be a little bit more creative in finding a way to fix this team.
  15. Justin B November 14, 2009 at 2:49 pm
    Last week everyone was up for the idea of trading castillo for bradley and bradley for overbay. Toronto didn’t say they didn’t want an OF they said they don’t want Bradley. Switch Bradley for Pierre. Now the Dodgers get Castillo, we get Overbay, and Toronto gets Pierre
  16. joejanish November 14, 2009 at 3:04 pm
    Justin – that’s a great idea.

    However it makes sense, therefore it won’t happen, LOL!

  17. Anthony November 14, 2009 at 3:09 pm
    I say it is a good idea, they trade Castillo for Pierre, pierre plays LF, they sign Hudson to play 2b, they sign Glaus to play 1b, they sign Molina to C, they trade Pelfrey, Martinez, Mejjia and either Flores or Tejada for Halliday, they sign Brad Penny or Smoltz as the other starter as well. They sign Biemel as the other lefty out of the pen. There building this thing on pitching, defense and grinders and based on their ballpark, they have 30 mil to spend. There’s ur 30 million.
  18. Justin B November 14, 2009 at 3:22 pm
    Thanks Joe. I am just surprised no one has thought about it. I mean last week there was all this conversation of a 3 team deal and now there is still a Castill for OF trade in the works… why not a tie in to that it could still happen? It would be a win/win for all teams involved. We get a 1B to platoon with Murph, give us our opening to sign a 2B, dodgers get their 2B, and Toronto gets a legitimate leadoff man who can hold down the LF position that saw 7 guys play there last year.
  19. CatchDog November 14, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    I’m inclined to believe that Uggla would be an easier get from the Marlins than Phillips from the Reds, as the Fish previously haven’t been shy about trading with the Mets and they’re actively looking to dump Uggla’s payroll.

    That said, Dan Uggla would cost the Mets Brian Stokes, Brad Holt and Ruben Tejada. The Marlins are looking for help in the pen. Both Stokes and Holt would help fill that need. Stokes slots in right now. Holt, who is projecting to be more of a setup/closer due to a lack of secondary pitches, would also be a good acquisition for the young Fish, although he’s still a good season away. Tejada’s the future at short as Hanley Ramirez will eventually move over to third base.

    We’ve previously discussed AGonz so I’m assuming Fielder would require the same package. I’m giving up Ike, Niese, FMart and Familia.

    I opine that Uggla should be paired with AGonz (weak defense at second to AGonz Gold Glove at first) OR Phillips with Fielder (strong D at second paired with Fielders not so nimble ability at first).

    I agree that the Mets would be giving up some decent prospects but the bottom line is they’d be adding proven players with solid power to the roster. Plus, AGonz and Uggla would still be very affordable this season (combined 12 mil). For a fan base that has suffered immeasurably the last three seasons, I don’t see these trades as being bad moves for the team.

    As for signing a couple of pitchers, Lackey would cost serious bucks. That’s why I mentioned Wolf, Pavano, Sheets and Harden. Any combination of those four added to Santana, Pelf, Perez, Maine, Nieve, Misch and perhaps Figgy (assuming Niese is traded), would not raise the payroll higher than 150. That’s 25 percent less than Yankeeville and in my opinion makes a serious commitment to winning in 2010.

  20. isuzudude November 14, 2009 at 3:47 pm
    Actually, our very own Mic suggested a Pierre-to-Toronto-for-Overbay swap in the 7th comment of this post.
    However, though the Dodgers get a 2B and the Jays get a leadoff man, I’m not sure the deal really benefits the Mets. As discussed before, Overbay and Dan Murphy are virtually identical at the plate – lefty hitters who struggle against LHP with a 15-20 HR maximum. So a platoon wouldn’t work because both have the same strengths and weaknesses. Also, from the Mets perspective, why trade for Overbay (who will cost $7M in ’10) when Murph will be making close to league minimum and both will wind up with close to identical numbers by season’s end?

    I had a thought, which might sound crazy, but if the Mets can swap Castillo for Pierre, and Toronto is interested in Pierre, how about taking Vernon Wells off the Jays hands? I realize it would be a gutsy move, but the Jays have made it clear they are more than willing to shed Wells’ massive contract, and may be willing to pick up some of his salary to move him out of town (see: Alex Rios). Either Wells or Beltran would play LF, both of the gold glove caliber with abilities up to the task of CitiField’s dimensions. Wells could also become the #5 hitter in the lineup. I know it’s a hige risk because Wells’ power numbers have been in steep decline recently, but he’s shown the ability to hit .300+ w/30 homers before, and at just 30 years of age should still have plenty in the tank. As we saw with Francoeur this past year, sometimes it just takes a change of scenery to get a guy going again. I know it’s a huge gamble, but it might be one worth looking into. Just a thought and a topic for debate.

  21. Justin B November 14, 2009 at 4:02 pm
    You’re right, totally missed that Isuzu. I see what you are saying, but I think the real key to the deal is the Mets shedding Castillo. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them do a move for minimal in return. The Vernon Wells idea is not a bad one, but I would think if you have to spend mega bucks on a LF, you might as well do it with a guy that is going to have less questions like Holliday. With Wells, you are hoping for lightning in a bottle again like we got with Frenchy.

    It might be an option if they miss out of Holliday, and I have a feeling no real deals or trades are going to happen until that contest is completed.

  22. isuzudude November 14, 2009 at 4:04 pm
    Sounds like you have a solid plan and you’re sticking to your guns, which is admirable. However, I’m just not seeing the Mets in the frame of mind to go all 2003 and ravage the farm system. Plus, though I can see the Uggla proposal as acceptable, I really think San Diego is going to demand more than the 4 prospects you mention; none of whom has succeeded at the major league level with any regularity yet. How about just going after Uggla and re-signing Delgado to a 1-yr, incentive laiden contract? That way you save money in the longterm AND you’re keeping Ike David around as the 1B heir apparent. Who knows, Delgado may have one more Gonzalez-like season left.
  23. […] a post to Mets Today, Joe Janish wonders how swapping Juan Pierre for Luis Castillo would help the […]
  24. CatchDog November 15, 2009 at 10:22 am

    I like your thinking. Ike looks closer and closer to being the real deal. A solid season in Buffalo could be the ticket to Citi in September. Barring a trade, what could be better for the organization and fans then seeing a healthy homegrown group of exciting young players like Davis, Niese, Thole, and FMart join “veterans” Reyes, Wright, Pelfrey, Parnell and Murphy? And the possibility of Mejia, Holt, Havens, Tejada and Nieuwenhuis following Ike and company in 2011. There’s a lot to be said for league minimum wages and club control.

    Sure, not all of these players are going to impact the roster but in my opinion this could be an exciting and pivotal year for the Mets farm system.

    I also agree with the possibility of Delgado returning with 1 year 2 mil + incentive contract. Apparently Omar is intrigued with the idea too as he’s scheduled a trip to see the Uncola man play in Puerto Rico.

  25. […] a post to Mets Today, Joe Janish wonders how swapping Juan Pierre for Luis Castillo would help the […]