Is Now The Time To Move Luis Castillo?

An article by posted on September 11, 2009

Yesterday, Jon Heyman of SI.com wrote on his Twitter account,

Mets might try to trade Luis Castillo this winter and take a look at Orlando Hudson. When have we heard this before?

I was hoping to read a follow-up from him today before I weighed in, but haven’t come across anything as of yet. I will update this post later today if necessary. What I was curious in knowing was if he heard this through one of his sources on the Mets or just through the grapevine.

After the incredible season that Luis Castillo has had this year, believe it or not, I’m not as adamant about trading him as I was a just a few months ago.

Whereas the thought of paying him $6 million dollars a year simply repulsed me, now I find myself wondering if we got a bargain this year, especially when I look at the batting leaders and see him ranked in the top five with names like Pujols and Helton who make three times as much, albeit power hitters get paid the big bucks.

It seems to me that with all the other problems this team has, getting rid of the one constant we do have at second base would seem like an error in judgment. Before we even tackle the perceived but unverified problem at second base, shouldn’t we first address the situations at left field, first base, setup man, a number two starter, and possibly a number three starter as well?

The one good thing that has come out of this season is how well Castillo has performed at the top of the order in Reyes’ absence. A .401 OBP ranks right up their with the elite, and lets not forget that he is not only one of the toughest batters to strikeout in the game, but also one of the best two strike hitters as well. All qualities you would want from your number one or two hitter.

What are the odds that his replacement turns in a season as good as the one Castillo has delivered this year?

And even if we did trade him, to which team, and for what? And would the Mets have to eat some or most of his remaining $12 million dollar salary?

Back in December, when expectations and enthusiasm was much higher, the thought of trading Castillo was more of a tweak and adding an Orlando Hudson was merely a luxury item. Who knew what fate had waiting for us around the corner?

Now things have changed. The landscape is completely different… Instead of fixing a few things here and there on a championship caliber club, we are left wondering if this club is even capable of playing .500 baseball. The needs are more glaring and apparent. Is it wise to add to this dilemma by vacating our second base position, a position that most other teams would probably consider to be a plus? 

At 33-years old, Castillo is still capable of 2-3 more productive seasons on par with the one he just delivered. As his knees got stronger, so did his bat. After hitting a solid .285 in the first half, Castillo has turned it on and hit .348 in the second half. Only Albert Pujols has hit higher. He has hit .346 when he leads off an inning, and leads the team with a .429 batting average with the bases loaded.

What a costly blunder it could be if the Mets were to move Castillo, and his replacement failed to do as much…

We’ve already bitten off half of that $24 million dollar contract. If Castillo produces at this pace for the next two years, this hotly debated contract (a contract I opposed), may just turnout to be a boom instead of a bust.

About the Author ()

I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73 and '00, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction and interact with other passionate Met fans like you. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.

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