I know with this post I’m not going to be very popular with our readers. I was adamant this whole off-season of unloading Luis Castillo and signing Orlando Hudson. After last season I didn’t want Luis Castillo anywhere near this team and was hoping against hope that the Mets would trade him or outright release him. Having said that I have come to accept the fact that Luis Castillo will be our everyday second baseman this season. On February 17, 2009, Luis Castillo will report to Port St. Lucie with David Wright, Jose Reyes and the rest of the 2009 New York Mets.
Last year I was in the minority of not wanting to have Luis Castillo on the the Mets. Mets fans wanted Castillo based on his performance in 2007 when he was traded to the Mets from the Twins. I argued that he was injury prone and his range in the infield had been solidly decreasing. I was aware that when Castillo bats he got most of his power from his legs which have absorbed several injuries over the years including surgery on both knees after the 2007 baseball season. The Mets went ahead and gave Castillo a four-year contract worth 25 million dollars with a signing bonus of 1 million dollars . As the 2008 season wore on I was unfortunately proven right of my assessment of Luis Castillo’s ability to perform at a satisfactory level worthy of that big contract he signed. Castillo spent time on the disabled list, he was a rally killer at the plate and could not field the way he used to.
Having said that Luis Castillo is part of the New York Mets and he will be wearing a Mets uniform for the foreseeable future. It makes no sense to boo him this season at Citi Field. Think about what Luis Castillo is dealing with:
- He signed a very big contract that constantly gets mentioned whenever he strikes out, grounds out into a double play or commits an error.
- He knows that he had a horrible year last season and the fans want him off this team.
- He knows Omar has publicly and privately defended his signing the last 2 years.
- He knows he will be under constant pressure from his teammates, manager, coaches, fans and the media this season to improve drastically from last season.
With all this pressure on him does Castillo really need to go to his home ballpark and get heckled as he steps on the diamond to play his position? Does he really need to hear the boos as he is stepping up to the batters box? Citi Field is the one place where all of our players including Luis Castillo should feel comfortable playing, knowing that their fans are going to cheer for them in every game played there this season. As the song says “root, root, root for the home team.” Luis Castillo for better or worse is part of the home team. I suggest that when attending games at Citi Field this season and Luis Castillo’s name is announced you get up, clap your hands, chant Let’s Got Mets and root, root, root for him to have a great season in 2009.