By Evan Brunell
This comes as a mild surprise as the Phillies denied any interest in Castillo, but the fit was too logical. With Chase Utley out for an undetermined period of time, Wilson Valdez was slated to fill in.
However, that would have left the club without its primary backup infielder and Brian Bocock does not exactly set the world on fire. By signing Castillo, the Phillies don't necessarily have to turn to the veteran to start extensively, but now has someone who can fill in at second and free up Valdez to back up other positions. In addition, the club can go in a different direction (such as Josh Barfield) if necessary -- bringing in Castillo doesn't necessarily mean he'll make the team, although the odds are high he will.
Assuming Castillo makes the team, it's not yet clear how much Castillo will play, but he certainly wouldn't have joined the team just to sit exclusively on the bench, so bank on a platoon at the very least.
Castillo finished 2010 with a .235/.337/.267 line in 299 plate appearances, but did hit .302 the year prior. His legs may not be able to stand up to swiping 62 bags as he once did in 2000, but is still capable of cracking double digits without much difficulty if given regular playing time.
Castillo will sign for the major-league minimum as the Mets absorbed the entirety of his $6 million salary minus the league-minimum by releasing Castillo earlier in the week. New York is expected to follow Castillo's release up by jettisoning Oliver Perez on Monday.
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