Like It Or Not, Castillo Is As Good As Gone

An article by posted on November 12, 2009

Deal with it Mets fans. They say where there’s smoke there’s fire, and right now there is an inferno raging where Luis Castillo is concerned.

Debating whether Luis Castillo should stay or go has been a fun and interesting exercise for Mets fans lately, but the fact of the matter is we have no say in determining Castillo’s home field next season. Those who do have a say have made it perfectly clear by their actions and the information they are intentionally leaking to the press.

Since last week, the buzz from the rumor mill has been that the Mets have their sights set on free agents Orlando Hudson and Chone Figgins.

Regarding Figgins, Joel Sherman of the NY Post wrote,

Though they are fixated on adding a power bat such as Matt Holliday or Jason Bay, the Mets are in the words of an involved party “absolutely in” on free agent Chone Figgins.

Jerry Manuel is a huge supporter of going after Figgins. He sees Figgins’ speed as a huge asset, specifically at big Citi Field. He thinks Figgins’ versatility would help the Mets if they had another spate of injuries. And he believes that Figgins could serve as a top-of-the-order influence on Reyes.

Today, Adam Rubin of the Daily News adds more clarity to the matter of trading Luis Castillo.

Trying to rid themselves of an ill-advised contract, the Mets shopped Luis Castillo during the GM Meetings that concluded Wednesday. Still, despite the veteran second baseman hitting .302 this season and staying healthy, GM Omar Minaya may have a difficult time moving Castillo.

The Chicago Tribune reported the Cubs are interested in Castillo and are attempting to rope in a third team such as Tampa Bay or Texas as a way of finding a landing spot for Milton Bradley. Moving Castillo would open second base to Hudson, who again is a free agent. The Mets also have expressed interest in Chone Figgins, who is represented by the same agents as Castillo and David Wright. Figgins would provide solid defense in left field, although he wouldn’t address the team’s power deficiency. The Mets reportedly may be interested in using Figgins at second base.

The talk about who the Mets should get to replace Luis Castillo is valid. Last off season, Omar Minaya on several occasions adamantly stated that Luis Castillo would not be traded. This offseason however, he has made no such assurances to his second baseman. The fact that Castillo was nearly close to becoming a Cub is now no surprise, and there’s still a chance that it may get done sooner rather than later.

The question now becomes who will play second base for the New York Mets in 2010?

We now know that Orlando Hudson and Chone Figgins are clearly in the mix, and yesterday fellow MMO writer Phil Hoops, mentioned the Reds’ Brandon Phillips who could be part of a major housecleaning and payroll trimming in Cincinnati. Another option could include Detroit’s Placido Polanco. Interestingly, both Polanco and Hudson won gold gloves for their stellar defense at second base.

What I find to be most curious about this entire situation is this,

With all the other areas of concern this team needs to address, isn’t it peculiar that they would begin the off season by focusing on the one area that was actually pretty good in 2009? In fact, another of our writers, Jessep, wrote an appropriately titled post, “Quit Focusing on 2B!” Unfortunately, Omar Minaya has never looked to a blog for advice, and he’ll go on doing whatever he and his trimmed down posse of advisers want to do.

All we can do is debate the merits of it.

If I had to rank the options in my order of preference, I would do so like this:

1. Chone Figgins  2. Brandon Phillips  3. Placido Polanco  4. Orlando Hudson

It’s not that I don’t like Orlando Hudson, it’s that I no longer see him as that much of an upgrade to Castillo. As for my first three choices, they would appear to be major weapons in their own right and significant upgrades to Castillo. Figgins plays a several different defensive positions and his offense is unquestioned. He led the league in walks last season, batted .298 with a .398 OBP, scored 114 runs, and stole 42 bases.

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