Free and Uneasy

1It 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.


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One comment

  1. Jon Springer says:

    Submitted by Dave Mackey (not verified) on Sat, 03/19/2011 – 5:27am.
    Mookie Wilson should have the #1, not a mere coach’s number.

    I don’t get it

    Submitted by 9thstringcatcher (not verified) on Sat, 03/19/2011 – 9:47am.
    I don’t think anything the Mets do ever makes sense to me. Did we need the roster spot that badly? Is there no chance that we could have dealt him to the Phillies or Marlins or into the AL and got something out of it, even if we ate most of the salary? Do we even have a second baseman for opening day? I’m no Castillo fan, but you go with who gives you the best chance to win – to me Castillo was that guy. I guess we’ll see – maybe it’s a clubhouse thing?

    #1 has come home!

    Submitted by Hoov (not verified) on Sat, 03/19/2011 – 1:38pm.
    Awesome to hear the beat reporters mention that Mookie is already back where he belongs…#1 in our programs, #1 in our hearts 🙂

    2nd base

    Submitted by Jon Springer on Sat, 03/19/2011 – 6:14pm.
    I think a case could be made for keeping Castillo (most-realized of the candidates, does a few things well) but also for dumping him (getting more O from the position, a head start on moving on, confidence in numbers and/or the ability to promote or pick up down the road).

    As I said, it’s sad that his career here will be remembered as some kind of nightmare when all it really was was a lengthy gamble.

    This would be easier to argue for had Murphy played defensively well enough to justify his bat, or Emaus hit enough to force the issue.

    9th string catcher

    Submitted by gored82 on Sat, 03/19/2011 – 9:07pm.
    When an MLB team makes a transaction to move a player, it generally makes the most favorable deal possible at that moment. I trust that if Alderson could have gotten anything for Castillo, he would have.

    One would hope

    Submitted by 9thstringcatcher (not verified) on Sun, 03/20/2011 – 12:25pm.
    Though these are the Mets, one of the most tranactionally challenged team in MLB history.

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