In Jayson Stark's recent column, he examines the mess that is the New York Mets. Stark declares:
"So the logical solution is: Trade one or two of those stars. Re-stir the mix. And help heal the scars left by three straight seasons that turned out all wrong.
OK, that sounds logical. But now figure out which of those stars to trade. Good luck.
Santana? No way. K-Rod? They just signed him. Luis Castillo? Untradeable."
I completely agree with Stark about Santana and K-Rod, but I take issue with the notion that Castillo in untradeable. I know the Castillo has become a popular whipping boy because of his terrible 2008 season and the famous "dropped ball" at Yankee Stadium this season.
But if you look past that, you'll see that Castillo has put together a phenomenal 2009 season.
Here are his 2009 numbers: .308, 1 HR, 34 RBI, .397 OBP, 15 SB
Now say what you want about the horrific 2009 Mets, but the bottom line is this: even though Castillo was surrounded by a supporting cast littered with injured stars, struggling players, and AAAA players; Castillo's performance has been fantastic this season.
So why does Stark think that the soon to be 34 year old Castillo is untradeable? Two words: the contract. GM Omar Minaya signed Castillo to a 4 year/$26 million dollar contract after the Mets' collapse in 2007. The deal seemed excessive at the time because how many GMs would commit to a 32 year old slap happy second baseman for four years? Not many.
But at this point, it's hard to say that Castillo's contract makes him untradeable. He is owed $12 million over the next two years, which is not a horrible by any stretch of the imagination.
Is Castillo still somewhat overpaid? Sure, you can say that. But in the right situation, he could be a very valuable piece for a contending team. The Mets might have to pick up some of the tab, but calling Luis Castillo "untradeable" after the season he just put together is unfair.