Hot Stove Player of the Week: Luis Castillo

Hot Stove New YorkSenior Writer IJuly 31, 2009

NEW YORK - JUNE 13:  Luis Castillo #1 of the New York Mets bats against the New York Yankees on June 13, 2009 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx Borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

The Baseball Hall of Fame induction had a New York flavor to it this year: Former Yankee and Met, Rickey Henderson and former Yankee second baseman, Joe Gordon were inducted, and former Yankee shortstop Tony Kubek won the 2009 Ford C. Frick Award.

Hensderson surprised everyone with his eloquent and humble speech. It may have been more entertaining, though, if he would have just strung together some of his more famous quotes:

“Rickey don’t like it when Rickey can’t find Rickey’s limo.”

“Rickey got a big ranch. Rickey got a big bull. Rickey got horses. Rickey got chickens and everything. And Rickey got a 20-gallon hat.”

“All I’m asking for is what I want.”

And he once left a voice mail for Padres GM Kevin Towers: “Kevin, this Rickey, calling on behalf of Rickey. Rickey wants to play baseball.”

A group of Mets players have decided not to shave until they reach .500. I once vowed not to shave until Omar Minaya stopped giving me a headache and making me dizzy every time he spoke in public. I now have the longest beard on the face of the earth.

In honor of Rickey, here’s one of my favorite Omar quotes:

“ know what I’m saying?...investigate...ok?...this guy, I feel, this know? ...umm, investigate...I mean... you know what I mean?...Julio Franco...ok?”

He finally apologized to Adam Rubin, but no word yet on whether the two of them will be heading to the White House for a beer.

Winner: Luis Castillo

 The veteran second baseman is having a resurgent year, and led the Mets to a big week, giving them just a sliver of hope in the Wild Card race.

He batted .476 in the six games he played in, raising his average to .302 (and OBP to .401). Castillo scored six runs, walked six times, hit a pair of doubles and shocked everyone when he hit a ball over an outfielder’s head for a triple.

He missed the first game of yesterday’s doubleheader to be with his wife, who gave birth to their first child. He made it to the ballpark for the second game.

He didn’t get any hits, but his presence gave the team a chance to give Alex Cora a game off, who’s been playing with torn ligaments in his thumb the last few months.

We won’t make any jokes about Castillo dropping the baby after holding it with one hand.

Runners Up

Joba Chamberlain:On Friday he beat Oakland, going seven innings and only giving up one run on two hits. He topped that on Wednesday in Tampa Bay, with eight scoreless innings, striking out six and only giving up two hits. And he did it all in such an understated, classy way.

But his season will be over when the Joba Rules take effect. There’s a little known clause in his contract that states when he reaches his innings limit he’ll be done for the season. But the Yanks have set him up with a job to keep him busy. He’ll be starring in a new TV drama called Insurance!

It documents the life of a swaggering insurance salesman who screams, fist-pumps and pirouettes every time he signs up a new customer.

A.J. Burnett: The Yankee hurler pitched seven shutout innings to beat the Rays on Monday, and leads the team with a 3.53 ERA.

Robinson Cano: The Yanks second baseman blasted two homers, drove in seven and scored five runs this past week.

David Wright: Wright hit a home run this week. I repeat, he hit a home run. He also batted .416, with six RBI and six walks. He smashed a 420-foot double in Houston that would have actually been gone in Citi Field. And he hit a double off of the top of the wall, right under the Apple, in Queens. He can’t catch a break.

Jeff Francoeur: The Mets new right fielder has been an RBI machine since coming to New York. He drove in 10 runs this week in seven games. And he actually drew a walk—well, it was intentional, but still.

Fernando Tatis: The King of Double Plays morphed back into the King of Grand Slams, as his dramatic pinch-hit grand slam capped off the Mets’ circus-like Monday. He hit another long ball last night and made a diving catch out in left.

Schmuck of the Week

Omar Minaya: The angry Mets GM was out for revenge Adam Rubin, and it backfired on him. He became so enraged that he ripped off his shirt and challenged Rubin to a fight. He then called over K-Rod and screamed at him too, for good measure.

At least that’s what I saw.

Jeff Wilpon had to come out of hiding and apologize for Minaya. “Omar made a mistake,” said Wilpon. “He admitted he made a mistake and is apologetic for his mistake...Omar is our GM...He has not been reprimanded...He didn’t do the right thing...All I can do is apologize for that.”

You could also fire him, not just for the press conference fiasco but for the fiasco the last three seasons have been.


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