Tag: luis castillo

Why the Mets Want to Trade Luis Castillo

castilloThere is an excellent column written by Ben Shpigel in The New York Times explaining why the Mets want to trade Luis Castillo.

Shpigel lists a number of statistics supporting the desire to move Castillo, but it’s doubtful anyone in the Mets front office would understand the ones cited, much less use them in decision-making. So we’ll focus on the real reasons Omar Minaya and co. are hell-bent on trading the second baseman.

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Would You Want Pat Burrell?

pat-the-batThere have been a few rumors floating that the Mets could obtain Pat Burrell from the Rays — possibly as part of a three-team deal that would send Luis Castillo to the Cubs and Milton Bradley to Tampa Bay.

Such a trade may not come to fruition, but “Pat the Bat” is definitely on the trading block, and he fits the description of “power hitting left fielder” that the Mets are so desperate to acquire.

But would you, as a Mets fan, want him?

Forget that his name is Pat Burrell for a moment, and consider whether you would want a left fielder who averaged 31 HRs, 99 RBI, and an .890 OPS in the last four seasons he played in the NL East. Would you take on his one year and $9M in return for a marginal player, in a salary dump deal (from the Rays’ perspective)? Be sure to factor in the player’s motivation — in that he’ll be playing for a 2011 contract.

Granted, Burrell had a poor year in 2009, but it was his first time in the American League, his first time as a DH, and he spent the entire season fighting a neck injury. If the neck is fully healed — and yes it’s a big “if” — and he returns to the comfort and knowledge of NL opponents, there’s a decent possibility he returns to the 30-HR threat he was from 2005-2008.

Before you say “whoa, a lot of his homers came from playing in that bandbox known as Citizens Bank Park”, go check the stats — he hit 21 of his 2008 HRs away from CBP. In 2007 the split was about even (14 away, 16 in CBP) and in 2006 it was 17 away, 12 at home. There is no question he has the strength to hit the ball out of any park (18 in 334 career ABs in pitcher-friendly Shea Stadium helps support that argument).

In addition to his homerun power, Burrell hits the ball into gaps, takes a ton of pitches, and usually walks close to 100 times a year. When he’s on a hot streak, he can put a team on his back and carry it.

On the negative side, his fielding has gotten worse as he’s aged, he is a poor baserunner, and when he slumps, he slumps like no one else — they are massive, horrendous slumps that make him look like he’d be better off serving hot dogs for a living. I doubt the average Mets fan would be able to handle a lengthy Pat Burrell slump without sending a blunt object through the TV set.

Additionally, Burrell has proven to be less than savvy with the media, and often comes off as condescending or bitter when he’s quoted. Combine a bad slump with NYC reporters, and Pat Burrell could quickly become the target of angry Mets fans. Oh, and then there’s that whole history with him mashing homeruns in Shea while wearing a Phillies uniform — he’d be coming in with a reputation not unlike when Tom Glavine first arrived in Flushing.

How do you feel about the possibility of Pat Burrell joining the Mets?

*** UPDATE 11:30am ***

Andrew Vazzano of TheRopolitans has posted a rumor that Burrell has been traded to the Mets.

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2009 Analysis: Luis Castillo

luis-castillo-popupExcept for that one matter of a dropped popup in the bottom of the ninth inning of a Yankees game, Luis Castillo played as well as anyone could have expected — and far beyond the expectations of most Mets fans.

Anyone who was reading MetsToday back in early April might remember my “Wild Mets Predictions“. Most of them were off, but one of them was:

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The Mets and Milton Bradley

Ken Rosenthal’s recent column reports that the Mets, among other teams, have been inquiring about the Cubs’ outfielder Milton Bradley.

Wow … where do we start?

Never mind Bradley’s troubled past. We’ve already learned that nice guys finish second-to-last, so stirring up the pot with a perennial malcontent won’t necessarily make things any worse. Let’s pretend Bradley is a model citizen and analyze him only according to the numbers.

Doing that, what you have is a 10-year veteran of MLB who managed 400 at-bats or more in a season only twice. Despite the fact that he supposedly has (or had) a world of talent with a rare combination of speed and power, he’s hit as many as 20 HRs in a season only once — as a Texas Ranger — and has never stolen more than 17 bases (in fact he hasn’t stolen more than 5 since 2006). His career batting average is a ho-hum .277. The statheads like his career OBP (.371) and his OPS (.821) and I have to agree he does have an ability to get on base. His fielding was at one time a strength, but as he’s aged that facet of his game has regressed (due in part to injuries collected over the years).

Now add in the fact that he is owed $21M over the next two years of a back-loaded contract. Is that money worth a guy who likely will play as often as Moises Alou, be a liability in the field, and hit like Dan Murphy (but with more walks) ? Wouldn’t the Mets be better off picking up someone like Eric Hinske or Austin Kearns on a one-year, $600,000 deal instead?

If you’re on the fence, then it’s time to consider the intangible issues. The old-school crowd likes his passion and enthusiasm, but shakes its head at his well-publicized temper tantrums, arguments with umpires, occasional lapses in focus, and similar bouts of self-destruction. You may be OK with taking on all that baggage if you believed that Bradley was the type of guy who was a game-changer, or could carry a team on his back. There might have been a time in his career when that was true, but if so those days are long gone. And again, even if you’re OK with the baggage because you think you need what he can provide offensively, why wouldn’t you just rescue Carl Everett from independent ball? He’d probably play for the league minimum, and give you a similar package. Or bring back Gary Sheffield, who actually WAS a model citizen in 2009 (and has appeared in more games over the past three years).

The only thing that could justify the Mets talking to the Cubs about Milton Bradley is a more elaborate, diabolical plan to drastically change the current roster. For example, perhaps Bradley is necessary part of a salary dumping deal that would also send Carlos Zambrano and Derrek Lee to Flushing, in return for a package that includes one of the Mets’ underperforming but comparatively inexpensive starting pitchers and Luis Castillo — which in turn would clear the way for Orlando Hudson to sign on as a free agent. If nothing else, it would be a splash, and proof the Mets were committed to making significant changes to their ballclub.

But if the buzz between the teams is a simpler matter of Bradley heading to New York by himself, I’m not sure what sense it makes.

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