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Revisiting the Castillo for Byrnes Hypothetical Trade

TUCSON, AZ - FEBRUARY 19:  Eric Byrnes of the Arizona Diamondbacks poses during photo day at the Diamondbacks spring training complex on February 19, 2009 in Tuscon, Arizona.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
Josh LevittSenior Analyst IDecember 28, 2009

A few weeks back, I profiled why a swap of Eric Byrnes for Luis Castillo would make sense for both the Arizona Diamondbacks and the New York Mets.

The Mets would finally complete their never ending quest to get rid of Luis Castillo while the Diamondbacks would fill their need at second base, make their offense better, and save money in 2010. This deal would be a classic salary dump for both sides just like the Milton Bradley-Carlos Silva swap was for the Cubs and Mariners, just minus the crazy aspect.

As we sit here on Dec. 28, this deal still makes far too much sense from both perspectives not to happen.

As Nick Cafardo wrote in yesterday's Boston Globe:

Orlando Hudson , 2B, free agent—seems he was the hot name for a long time, but that has quieted. The Mets remain the most interested, but until they are able to move Luis Castillo —a big if—the Mets may only be able to dream about a Jose Reyes -Hudson double play combo.

Seems like a fair enough point given how little interest the league has in Castillo. But it's clear that for whatever reason, the Mets' love for Orlando Hudson is still strong.

How can the Mets finally satisfy their urge for Orlando Hudson?

Answer: Trade Eric Brynes for Luis Castillo

I know taking on Byrnes' contract (or at least most of it) is not something the Mets should be fond of doing, but if they want to get rid of Luis Castillo that badly, then this is one of the only ways they can do it. There is a chance that Byrnes can be a useful player on the Mets, but I don't think he has quite the upside that Castillo has at this stage in his career.

On the plus side, if/when the Mets go after Hudson, they would not have to give up a draft pick for his services. They might even be Hudson's only serious suitor at this point, which means his price is destined to come down.

******* *******

As for the Diamondbacks, the most interesting new development of their offseason is their interest in Jose Valverde, whose market has crashed around him despite his tremendous ability. As Nick Piecoro writes:


The club had been monitoring closer Jose Valverde's availability, and though Howry's signing makes a Valverde reunion somewhat less likely, team sources say they will continue to track Valverde and theoretically could stretch their budget for him if the cost makes sense.

The Diamondbacks would have to give up a second-round draft pick to sign him, but the savings on signing the pick (about $750,000) could help off-set the cost of Valverde. The number of teams looking for closers and able to afford a big-ticket acquisition seems to be limited.


Bringing Valverde on board would give the Diamondbacks one of the best bullpens in the National League and could spring board them towards contention in 2010. If they have the chance to sign Valverde to a one year contract, that's a move they have to make. The deal offers them virtually no risk and greatly improves their team in 2010.

But given the Diamondbacks payroll restrictions, how can they safely fit Valverde in their budget?

Answer: Trade Eric Brynes for Luis Castillo

Byrnes is making $11 million in 2010, which is an enormous amount of money for a player who won't be starting and for a team that only has a $70-80 million dollar payroll. By unloading Byrnes' salary (or even most of it), the Diamondbacks would be giving themselves more payroll flexibility for 2010, which should allow them to go after Jose Valverde.

At the same time, the Diamondbacks would be acquiring a potentially valuable asset, who would start at second base and offer a consistent presence in their lineup.

What's not to like?

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