It was never Luis Castillo‘s fault that he was offered a contract that was four times the length it should have been, nor was it his fault that the organization that offered that deal couldn’t or wouldn’t find a better second baseman long after it was clear that it didn’t possess the kind of dynamic offense that could afford to carry an everyday player with such limited usefulness. And even now that we know Castillo has been released, it’s not even clear there’s a vastly superior option to replace him. So even if the Mets are doing the right thing today by cutting Castillo loose, there’s something profoundly sad about the whole thing.
Aside from a creaky first year and one really, really, really bad error, Castillo gave the Mets almost exactly what they should have expected from a slap-hitting, low-power, chubby, aging middle infielder with good on-base skills: Slap hits, little power, declining range and baserunning, and good on-base skills. As for Andy Martino’s provocative piece in the Daily News this morning, I’m glad he’s out there asking those questions, because he’s right about one thing: Fans have a bad habit of assigning character flaws to players whose performance disappoints, and the amount of fan abuse and media attention Castillo drew was way out of proportion to his crimes. He should not have ridden the pine last year so that a player who was so over his head offensively that he’s not even in the conversation as a starter this year could have played, much less while the Mets still had at least a prayer.
I’m sure we’ll see Mookie Wilson back wearing No. 1 again soon.