Omar Minaya himself announced that Luis Castillo was signed, sealed and delivered yesterday evening. There was no pulling out of negotiations this time, as had been the case with Yorvit Torrealba. Castillo, 32, joins Damion Easley, Ramon Castro, Moises Alou and Ramon Castro as the only Mets that have been retained since the season ended.
The scrappy second baseman signed a 4-year deal worth $25 million buckaroos. And while about half of the Mets fans I’ve polled seem to think it was a bad signing in terms of years, I BEG TO DIFFER!
As you may know, or not know, the Mets were seriously considering David Eckstein, who Minaya admitted a special fondness for last night. Eckstein wanted $32 million for the same four years.
"I’ve always been a very big Eckstein fan, but in the end we just felt that we were able to get a deal done with Castillo," Minaya said. "But Eckstein was one of the guys we definitely considered."
In my opinion Luis Castillo is a much better option than Eckstein. One, because he is cheaper, and two because Castillo has proven himself in a city where most collapse like a house of cards under the intense media spotlight.
The $25 million dollars Castillo will get is a bargain and at the very least fair market value. Eckstein wanted $8 million a year, if you divide Castillo’s salary by three years, you arrive at practically the same amount. So basically we are paying Castillo the same amount it would have cost for three years of Eckstein. (hopefully you grasped my point)
With regard to his bad legs, let me say it’s all overblown. What ailed Castillo was a bum knee that has now been taken care of and by all reports he will be 100% healthy by January. Even with that bad right knee, Castillo still managed to steal 10 bases in the 50 games he played with the Mets, while batting .297. He performed at a much higher level when he joined the Mets and completely stabilized the lineup when he took over at the number two spot in the line-up. Defensively, he played the position better than it had been in over a decade.
The main reason that Eckstein was even being considered, was not because the Mets thought he better offensively, or defensively for that matter. His signing was mostly based on his fiery personality. The Mets thought it would replace the "attitude" that the team lost with Lo Duca’s departure. In fact, Eckstein has only played second base ten times in his entire career, and who’s to say it wouldn’t have turned into a defensive nightmare for the Mets, like so many other position changes have for the Mets in the last 10 years?
The bottom line is that Luis Castillo was the best option for the New York Mets. We didn’t have to give up any players to get him, and for $25 million he was a lot less than anybody else the Mets were targeting. His fourth year? It’s a gimme… It’s like he’s playing for free…
At a time and season where second helpings are very popular, a second helping of Castillo was just what the Mets needed this Thanksgiving weekend.