Tag:Luis Castillo
Posted on: March 30, 2011 1:18 pm
Edited on: March 30, 2011 2:00 pm
 

Castillo released, this time by Phillies

By Matt Snyder

Less than two weeks after being released by the Mets, Luis Castillo has been released by the Phillies. (MLB.com via Twitter)

Castillo, 35, is making more than $6 million this season, but the Mets are picking up all but the league minimum ($414,000) if someone else grabs the veteran second baseman.

He had been with the Mets since coming over in a trade deadline-deal from the Twins in 2007. The following offseason, Castillo inked a four-year deal with the Mets that is set to expire at the end of the 2011 season. His productivity declined to the point of being almost unusable last season -- a 68 OPS-plus and no range at second. At one point in time, Castillo was an All-Star caliber player -- making the All-Star team three times in four seasons and winning two Gold Gloves -- but he hasn't been that guy since 2005.

Since the Phillies grabbed Castillo March 21, he hit .273 with a .385 OBP in seven spring games. His slugging percentage was just .318, however, and the club obviously saw some deficiencies in his game.

If the Phillies would cut bait prior to the regular season on a guy who cost them virtually nothing, especially considering Chase Utley's not coming back anytime soon, it's worth wondering if Castillo ever gets on a major-league field again.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: March 21, 2011 11:16 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 12:30 pm
 

3 up, 3 down for 3/21: Colon making his case

Bartolo Colon

By C. Trent Rosecrans

3 UP

1.  Bartolo Colon, Yankees -- While many scoffed at the idea of Colon coming back after a year off and joining the Yankees' rotation, he's certainly making his case. Colon, 37, had another strong outing on Monday. Colon retired 18 of the 20 batters he faced, including five strikeouts. He allowed two hits and a run.  In 15 innings this spring, he has a 2.40 ERA, with 17 strikeouts and one walk.

2. Joe Mauer, Twins -- It's not just that Mauer had two hits and an RBI against the Pirates on Monday, but he also caught six innings. It was Mauer's second start behind the plate of spring.

3. Mets second basemen -- Now that the Luis Castillo soap opera is behind us, the Mets four remaining candidates for the second base job all contributed in a four-run ninth to lead New York past Atlanta. Brad Emaus, Daniel Murphy and Luis Hernandez each had run-scoring hits, while Justin Turner was hit by a pitch.

3 DOWN

1. Arizona -- Isn't Arizona supposed to be a desert? Six Cactus League games were banged on Monday because of rain.

2. Mike Pelfrey, Mets -- The Mets' opening day starter was pounded for seven runs (four earned) and seven hits by the Braves. Pelfrey allowed six consecutive hits to start the ending and when it appeared he'd actually record an out, David Wright's error allowed another run to score. He finally retired the eight batter of the inning, only to be lifted due to a high pitch count.

3. Some fans -- Rays manager Joe Maddon had a fan tossed from Sunday's game after the fan made racial comments toward outfielder B.J. Upton. Upton said Monday that he heard the comments, but was more worried about his game. Upton said it's not the first time he's heard such comments (via MLB.com) -- "A lot of times, it happens when I'm in the outfield of a visiting stadium. Even I've heard it at home, too. I think it was just a situation where everyone heard it. Put it this way -- it's not too far-fetched to hear it." That's not surprising, but it's still sad.

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Posted on: March 20, 2011 7:59 pm
Edited on: March 20, 2011 10:25 pm
 

Luis Castillo to join Phillies

By Evan Brunell

CastilloLuis Castillo will join his third NL East club by agreeing to terms with the Phillies, as a baseball source informs Adam Rubin of ESPN New York.

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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Category: MLB
Posted on: March 19, 2011 1:04 pm
Edited on: March 19, 2011 1:11 pm
 

Report: Three teams after Castillo

By Matt Snyder

Related
Luis Castillo was cut by the Mets Friday. Considering the Mets were still on the hook for his $6 million salary for the season and any team acquiring Castillo would only have to pay the league minimum ($414,000), he figured to be relatively sought after.

And he is, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports .

Reportedly, at least three teams are after Castillo -- the Phillies, Cubs and Marlins. Rosenthal also mentions the Orioles as a team that might enter the mix, considering the back issues of Brian Roberts.

Castillo, 35, only played 86 games last season due to injuries and ineffectiveness. In 2009, though, he played 142 games and hit .302 with a .387 OBP, scoring 77 runs and stealing 20 bases. He's a three-time All-Star and Gold Glove winner, though neither has happened since 2005.

Expect him to be signed rather quickly when he clears waivers Sunday. It's not a question of if, it's a question of by whom.

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Posted on: March 19, 2011 11:21 am
Edited on: March 19, 2011 11:49 am
 

Pepper: Live from my mother's basement!

By Matt Snyder

It just won't go away, this petty little feud.

I speak, of course, of the "old school" baseball people who hate blogging -- yet blog themselves, which is weird -- and despise anyone who dares to disagree with their beliefs, especially when it comes to "newer" statistics (though OBP is hardly new). Check out this really awesome paragraph from Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle :
It won't be long before we get the first wave of nonsense from stat-crazed dunces claiming there's nothing to be learned from a batting average, won-loss record or RBI total. Listen, just go back to bed, OK? Strip down to those fourth-day undies, head downstairs (to "your mother's basement and your mother's computer," as Chipper Jones so aptly describes it) and churn out some more crap. For more than a century, .220 meant something. So did .278, .301, .350, an 18-4 record, or 118 RBIs. Now it all means nothing because a bunch of nonathletes are trying to reinvent the game?
Now, I'm not gonna go nuts. Several people already have across the 'net, though the great Joe Posnanski already took care of the heavy lifting in the most rational post possible -- and came back for a little more .

I'll just add that my personal feeling is that it's always dangerous to side with someone who attacks people for simply disagreeing. I prefer on-base percentage over batting average because not making outs is a much better measure of a good baseball player than disregarding walks and hit-by-pitches and figuring a hit percentage. In fact, I don't understand how it's not obvious -- seriously, a walk doesn't even count in batting average! -- but I'm not about to attack the character of someone who disagrees. If you feel compelled to freak out and use a decade-old joke that makes no sense, maybe you are the one with the problem? Just a thought.

As for the "non-athlete" thing, I have a short anecdote to illustrate my point. I realized I hated batting average as compared to OBP one time when I went 0-1 with three walks and three runs scored -- noticing it was a .000 batting average for the day, yet a pretty damn good day of helping my team win.

And the game wasn't even in my mother's basement. Seriously!

Honestly, though, don't you think guys in a similar situation in the bigs would feel the same way? What about a pitcher who throws a complete game and only allows one unearned run, yet loses 1-0. And he goes home and sees on MLB Network that a pitcher for the Yankees allowed seven earned runs in five innings and got the win because the Bombers' offense went nuts. Judging pitchers on wins and losses would have us believe the latter performed better. Really?

Again, I don't understand how it's not obvious these stats aren't the best ones. If this was elementary school you'd get an F for disagreeing. Maybe I should start making lame jokes in return instead of having an actual, meaningful conversation. Apparently that's the best way to plead your case when it comes to the old school.

MORNEAU AT NIGHT: Justin Morneau played his first night game in a long, long time Friday night, and things went well. "It's just different. For the most part, the stuff has come on later in the day. So I wanted to see, because we usually play night games during the season, I wanted to see where I was at, and I felt pretty good." That "stuff" to which he is referring, in case you've been asleep since last July, would be lingering symptoms from his concussion. (MLB.com )

STOREN STRUGGLES: Second-year pitcher Drew Storen was supposed to be the Nationals' closer this season. He still very well may be eventually, as he has the highest upside of any of the candidates. But he's had a pretty disastrous spring and might be in jeopardy of being optioned to the minors. It's not likely, but possible. (Washington Post )

DON'T DOUBT DAVIS: Doug Davis has worked out for four teams in Arizona and is looking to catch on somewhere (MLB Trade Rumors ). It's uncertain that he'll definitely be able to grab a job in a rotation at some point this year, but I don't plan on wagering against the veteran. He's already kicked cancer's butt.

UBALDO GETS NOD: We've been posting the announcements of opening day starters as stand-alone pieces, but Ubaldo Jimenez as the Rockies' opening day starter is far too obvious. It would have been shocking if he wasn't handed that responsibility. Just a heads-up, don't expect posts on CC Sabathia, Roy Halladay or Felix Hernandez on this subject either. (MLB.com )

ELVIS MUSCLES UP:
Elvis Andrus hit a home run Friday. He hasn't done so in a regular-season game since September 2 ... of 2009. (ESPN Dallas )

FANS HAVE CLOUT?
You always wonder if teams take these sort of things under consideration, but it's incredibly rare -- if not unprecedented -- for a team to admit fan venom played into a move. But the Mets did so with Luis Castillo (ESPN New York ). Manager Terry Collins and general manager Sandy Alderson both admitted that the Mets' fans' collective hatred of Castillo played a role in the team cutting him.

WESTY'S ROAD BACK: Red Sox prospect Ryan Westmoreland has stared death in the eyes and survived. Now he's on the comeback trail. I won't even attempt to do this lengthy feature justice, instead I'll just say please go read it. It's great stuff. (Boston.com )

RETURN TO DODGERTOWN? The Dodgers' spring training games are not drawing well. In fact, attedance is down 42.3 percent from last season in Camelback Ranch. The average draw per game is barely over half the capacity. (Los Angeles Times )

A QUESTION OF DURABILITY:
Scott Rolen hasn't played more than 140 games since 2006 and not more than 150 since 2003. He's 36. He faltered in a big way in the second half last season. But he's saying all the right things and preaching accountability. (MLB.com )

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Posted on: March 18, 2011 1:25 pm
Edited on: March 18, 2011 4:17 pm
 

Looking at possible landing spots for Castillo

By Matt Snyder

Now that Luis Castillo has been given his walking papers , there's a veteran second baseman on the market who could fill a void toward the end of the lineup for someone else.

He's obviously not an overly attractive player in the present, but he has good pedigree and would be dirt-cheap -- the Mets are paying his salary for this season, so someone else could swoop him up for the league minimum. He did hit .302 with 20 stolen bases and play decent enough defense in 2009.

Thus far, the only team that has reportedly expressed interest is the Dodgers (Los Angeles Times via Twitter), but we can expect that list to grow soon, even if only marginally. For the Dodgers, it looks like Casey Blake might be starting the season on the disabled list, which would mean they'll need to use Juan Uribe at third and Jamey Carroll at second -- a situation that cripples the bench depth. Adding Castillo would ease that situation.

Here are some other teams where Castillo might fit:

Cubs: They do have Blake DeWitt and Jeff Baker fighting for the starting job, but neither are going to blow your socks off. With an aging lineup in some spots, the Cubs might feel like seeing if he can bring something to the team a la Jim Edmonds in 2008 (who was picked up after the Padres cut him).

Rockies: I'm not sure they'd want to add to the logjam, but the Rockies are currently sitting with Jose Lopez, Ty Wigginton and Eric Young Jr. in the spot.

Tigers: Carlos Guillen isn't healthy and Jim Leyland has been talking about moving Ryan Raburn into the infield to fill the void. Simply snagging Castillo and giving him a chance would make a good amount of sense.

Marlins: It's pretty unlikely, but Castillo did play there for a decade. Plus, the Fish don't really have a third baseman. Adding Castillo could allow them to use Omar Infante at third. Plus, we know the Marlins love the price tag on Castillo.

Phillies: Assuming the Chase Utley health situation doesn't come to a close soon -- and it really doesn't feel like it will -- Castillo could be a nice stop-gap until Utley returns. Plus, with the whole rivalry and Castillo's likely bitterness toward the Mets, he'll be motivated to stick it to the Phillies' rivals.

Cardinals: With the injury to Nick Punto, the Cards are lacking some depth up the middle. Ryan Theriot and Skip Schumaker are slated to start with Tyler Greene backing them up. Adding Castillo would probably be a good mutual fit, as many middling middle infielders seem to thrive under Tony La Russa (Aaron Miles, for example).

The overwhelming majority of this is idle speculation and the smart money is on the Dodgers, Tigers or Phillies (dependent upon Utley). Just keep in mind the most likely destination is a place where they're expecting to win now, but has a hole due to injury or weak competition at the position.

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Posted on: March 18, 2011 11:05 am
Edited on: March 18, 2011 4:50 pm
 

Mets release Luis Castillo

By Matt Snyder

Luis Castillo's time with the New York Mets has concluded, the team announced via press release Friday.

"This was baseball decision,” said Mets general manager Sandy Alderson in the release. "I met with Terry (Collins) and made a recommendation to Jeff (Wilpon) and Jeff approved on behalf of ownership."

Castillo, 35, has been with the Mets since a trade deadline deal in 2007. He then signed a four-year deal that following offseason with the Mets. He's due to make $6.25 million this season and was to become a free agent after 2011. Plagued by injuries and inconsistency, Castillo played just 315 games the past three seasons for the Mets. He hit .235 with a terrible .604 OPS last season, but was somewhat productive in 2009 (.732 OPS, 20 steals, 77 runs).

While he seemed at peace with the decision, Castillo clearly wasn't happy with the Mets. "I said I came here to play and you didn't give me the chance," he told Newsday . "You didn't use me." (Newsday via Twitter )

He did say he was hoping to catch on with another team, saying, "I'm fine, man. I've done a lot of things in baseball."

Related
His now-former double-play partner Jose Reyes was "surprised" by the news.

"He’s a very god friend of mine. He’s close to me," Reyes told the New York Daily News . "When you see somebody go, it’s going to hurt."

"He was playing good," Reyes continued. "It’s not like he was playing terrible. I didn’t even have the chance to say goodbye. I’m surprised a little bit, because he was playing good baseball. But I don’t make that decision. Everybody loves Castillo in the clubhouse. I’m very close to him, so it’s hard to see him go." (Daily News )

The Mets' vacant second baseman job now appears to be in the hands of either Brad Emaus or Luis Hernandez.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: March 15, 2011 10:22 am
Edited on: March 15, 2011 11:52 am
 

Pepper: Injury bug biting Brewers



By Matt Snyder


Whether it's Zack Greinke's rib injury, Yuniesky Betancourt's quad or Carlos Gomez's back, things generally haven't been feeling physically well at Brewers camp. They seem to have at least a minor malady for everyone on the team -- even two guys with an intercostal injury, which I didn't even know was a thing. Apparently they are muscles on the rib cage that help contract the chest.

Chris Dickerson is someone who has that issue. He hurt his Monday against the Giants, when he had an ugly collision with Pablo Sandoval. It wasn't exactly a Casey-level beatdown, but Dickerson seemed to have lost. The collision prompted a somewhat humorous/somewhat realistic quote from Randy Wolf.

"Thank God Sandoval lost 30 pounds or that might have been a decapitation," Wolf told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel . "I thought he dislocated his shoulder. It sounded bad."

Wolf later added he's afraid to walk to his car, and he may not have been kidding.

The Brewers can take solace in the fact that it's only spring and they haven't lost anyone for the season yet, like their division-mate Cardinals.

DREW'S MOOD HATS: Potential Nationals closer Drew Storen had struggled this spring, but put together a solid outing Monday. If you peered inside the brim of his hat, you'd have seen: "Down." "Precise." "Focus through the target." The youngster followed his own advice, setting the Tigers down in order in his one inning of work. Writing reminder messages in his hats isn't new for Storen, as he's already cycled through four this spring and has countless left from last year.

"It's kind of like a mood ring, it's a mood hat," he told the Washington Times . "I keep them all. Since there's so much going on, I'll be the first to admit, you get caught up in thinking about throwing things and try to do too much. It's just a nice, easy way to bring your mind back into it."

If a quirk like this seems weird, you've never been around a baseball locker room. In fact, this is relatively normal. Hey, whatever works.

STRASBURG PROGRESSING: Speaking of Nationals pitchers drafted in the first round in 2009, Stephen Strasburg is reportedly making good progress as he rehabs from Tommy John surgery. He's now throwing 90 feet off flat ground and eyes a September return. As you might remember, he had the surgery last September and the normal recovery period is 12-18 months. But just because he has high expectations doesn't mean he's impatient.

"I have to no choice [but to be patient]. I can't just wake up the next morning expecting to get on the mound. It's a slow gradual process. It's about the slow steady progress. It has to take its time and let the body heal naturally." (MLB.com )

IN OR OUT? Luis Castillo might win the second base job for the Mets out of camp because they have no better options. But manager Terry Collins reportedly doesn't really want Castillo around -- only he hasn't officially said as much. Some believe the higher-ups on the Mets would rather Castillo start, but J.P. Ricciardi backs Brad Emaus. Basically, no one really knows what is going on. (ESPN New York )

BELTRE BACK:
Monday, Adrian Beltre made his spring debut, and it went off without a hitch. The third baseman -- who had been sidelined with a strained calf -- played five innings, going 1-3. His only issue had nothing to do with his calf and should be completely expected under the circumstances. "I felt a little bit rusty," he told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram .

PLAY IT AGAIN, RICH: In the least surprising news of the spring, Rich Harden needs to see a doctor. He hasn't thrown a bullpen since February 15, but felt an issue in his lat muscle Sunday and it looks like he's going to be shut down again. (MLB.com ) It's sad to say, but even at age 29, it's hard to see him ever regaining form for an extended period of time. That sparkling 2008 season -- 10-2, 2.07 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 181 K in 148 innings -- will likely go down as his best. With the kind of stuff he has, when healthy, that's a shame. UPDATE: Susan Slusser reports Harden will throw Wednesday and he hasn't suffered a setback.

WHAT IF ... : MLB Trade Rumors has put together a list of what the free agent class might look like at the end of this season if no one had signed extensions. It's worth a look for entertainment purposes.

IT'S ONLY SPRING, BUT ... : ... the Diamondbacks suck. The always-great Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic points out the Snakes would have a record of 4-13-3 if you only count the first five innings of every game this spring -- which is when the major-league starters are still in the game. Perhaps nothing could be more telling than a quote from manager Kirk Gibson: "I'm ready to be impressed, I can tell you that." Such a statement in the spring is troubling, because most of the time optimism is in the air.

BARTMAN MOVIE OUT SOON: Catching Hell , an ESPN 30-for-30 documentary about the infamous Steve Bartman foul ball (Cubs, Moises Alou, Marlins, 2003 NLCS, Game 6 ... c'mon, you know this) will debut at the Tribeca Film Festival, which takes place April 20-May 1 in New York City. The one thing that's amazing to me in the years since that inning is how much people -- non-Cubs fans, to be specific -- seem to enjoy pointing out the loss wasn't Bartman's fault. The insinuation behind this is that all Cubs fans blame the loss on Bartman, which couldn't be further from the truth. Go talk to a group of educated Cubs fans and Alex Gonzalez's name is much more blasphemous. I'll reserve judgment on the movie until it comes out, but I can't help but think some myths are going to be further perpetuated because a few jerk fans threw things at Bartman -- which was reprehensible. In fact, expect a further rant from me on the subject when the movie is released. (Chicago Tribune )

"BEST SHAPE OF MY LIFE!" We've all heard it in spring training. We've all mocked it. But a sample of players the past few years who have declared they are in the best shape of their life have actually outperformed expectations more than players who didn't make such a declaration in the spring. It doesn't mean there's always merit behind the claim, but it's certainly an interesting query. (Baseball Prospectus )

THE GREEK GOD OF JOKES:
Kevin Youkilis walked and then struck out to Yankees 20-year-old prospect Manny Banuelos Monday night. So, naturally, Banuelos is a stud, right? "He's going to be a Hall of Famer," Youkilis told reporters (New York Times ). He made it clear he was kidding, but didn't want to go overboard. When he got serious about the potential phenom, he was respectful.

"He's got three pitches he can throw pretty good, now he has to learn how to pitch," said Youkilis, adding: "If he figures it out, he'll be all right. Being left-handed and throwing hard, if you throw three good pitches and you're left-handed, you don't even have to throw 90."

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