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Phillies sign Mets castoff Luis Castillo to minor league deal

Mar 20, 2011, 10:49 PM EDT

New York Mets v Atlanta Braves Getty Images

Cut loose by the Mets last week despite still being owed $6 million for this season, Luis Castillo has reportedly signed a minor-league contract with the Phillies.

World-renowned Castillo hater Jon Heyman naturally hates the move and an awful lot of Phillies fans seem to agree, but given the injuries to Chase Utley and Placido Polanco they can certainly use some infield depth and as non-guaranteed, $400,000 investments go Castillo is a perfectly reasonable pickup.

He’s a shell of the player Omar Minaya traded for and then signed to a four-year, $25 million deal and the deterioration of Castillo’s once-excellent speed has magnified his career-long lack of power, but last season he drew more walks (39) than strikeouts (25) while posting a .337 on-base percentage that was solidly above the NL average of .328 and got on base at a .366 clip during his entire four-year run with the Mets.

There are far worse backup infielders and the Phillies currently have Wilson Valdez penciled into the Opening Day lineup despite his career-high offensive numbers being no better than Castillo’s worst. If the Phillies deem Castillo washed up they can cut bait and essentially be out nothing while the Mets pay him $1 million a month. And if he still has a little gas left in the tank, they added some solid infield depth at basically no cost.

  1. Glenn - Mar 20, 2011 at 11:08 PM

    What’s wrong with this move by the Phils?

    • jetersusedjersey - Mar 20, 2011 at 11:32 PM

      I agree! It seems like a sound, smart move. Would it be better if the gave up a prospect and paid Michale Young 16 mil (or however much his dumb deal is) a sesaon to be a utility infielder?

    • Utley's Hair - Mar 21, 2011 at 11:56 AM

      I have no problem with it. Low risk with the potential for midsize to high reward. Valdez was a solid placeholder last season, but I’d rather have some extra insurance—and a switch hitter at that.

  2. aronmantoo - Mar 20, 2011 at 11:32 PM

    Lets see Louis Castillo for Chase Utley…MMMM, For Mets fans? Life is good

  3. cur68 - Mar 21, 2011 at 12:09 AM

    This is a good move. Louis will be motivated to play well; if only to show the Mets they made a big mistake. He lacks Utley’s natural athleticism, instincts and conditioning (Chase was IBSOHL), but he’s scrappy, experienced and a gamer when motivated. He’s almost certainly better than WiVal.

    • marinersnate - Mar 21, 2011 at 1:39 AM

      “but he’s scrappy”

      Oh. Now I feel a lot better about this move.

    • Matt - Mar 21, 2011 at 8:52 AM

      Scrappy?!? A Gamer?!? When did Louis Castillo become a short white guy?

      • cur68 - Mar 21, 2011 at 11:05 AM

        Oh yeah? Well I also said Utley had “natural athleticism, instincts” & was “IBSOHL”. No outrage for that? Next to Frank Thomas or André René Roussimoff Castillo’s short, so stop being sizist. Also I bet he’s got more game that you or I. Or Heyman. Sheesh, brother can’t catch a break…

  4. henryd3rd - Mar 21, 2011 at 4:52 AM

    Now Met fans ask yourselves is this move going to make the Mets a contender? No way; however it gives the Phillies a cheap back up at 2nd base for 400 G’s. Did you forget that the Mets are on the hook for 6 million to Castillo? In the event that Utley can’t go you Met fans get to see Luis Castillo come Citi Field and play 2nd base for the Phillies. Stomach churning yet?

    How sweet would it be to see Castillo excel for the Phillies? Can you imagine how you are going to feel seeing Castillo performing in the World Series. Here bottom of the 9th, seventh game, tied score, bases loaded, A-Rod pops up to second with the game on the line and Castillo is parked under that pop up and the World Series hinges on that one play. No matter how it ends Met fans all over the World will be sick.

    Life has never been fair for Met fans and Thank God I am a Yankee fan.

    • trevorb06 - Mar 21, 2011 at 10:58 AM

      This opens up a spot on the Mets 40 man roster to bring in new talent that has more upside than Castillo. It also shows that Sandy ain’t effing around and intends to bring this team around.

      • henryd3rd - Mar 21, 2011 at 1:55 PM

        The Mets are broke! How can they afford to bring in new talent when they are on the hook to MLB for over 50Million plus they had to dip into their share of TV revenue before opening day to pay debt service on their stadium loan. Look for the Mets to have a “fire sale” before the trading deadline in an attempt to dump salary. Then look for the team to be put on the market before the end of the year.

        Mark Cuban and Donald trump are you guys listening and watching?

  5. macjacmccoy - Mar 21, 2011 at 8:42 AM

    I dont see how having the Mets pay for a guy to compete for backup and/or bench position on the Phillies is a bad thing. If he works out fine if he doesnt o well its no worse the giving Pryor or Matt Anderson a shot to make a major league team. Dozens of players are giving minor league contracts each year that never make it into the news and never hurts the team that gave them the contract. The only reason this is given any play is because of his name but just like all the other minor league contracts given out each year it will have no effect on the Phillies if it doesnt work out.

  6. Jonny 5 - Mar 21, 2011 at 8:55 AM

    This is a no brainer for the Phillies at that price. I still tend to think, “What were the Mets thinking by releasing him?” Why put someone else, who isn’t as good on second base when you still have to pay Castillo anyway? What’s the deal Mets fans? Why did this have to go down like this? Please explain to a Phillies fan (who isn’t complaining in the least) why the Mets had to release this guy?

    • Utley's Hair - Mar 21, 2011 at 11:13 AM

      Jonny, the Mutts fans are busy dousing each other with champagne after the Phightins’ soon-to-be batboy, Ollie Perez (based solely on his effect on hitting), was jettisoned. You’ll have to wait for a response for a while.

  7. purnellmeagrejr - Mar 21, 2011 at 8:56 AM

    What’s with the Jon Heyman snidery? He must be getting successful for there to be so much of what sounds to me like jealousy.

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