On Friday, the New York Mets released second baseman Luis Castillo with a year remaining on the four-year, $25 million deal he signed after the 2007 season.
To be fair, the marriage between Castillo and New York was doomed from the get-go. Mets fans never really took to Castillo, booing him on Opening Day despite a strong 2009 season, and poor performance egged on by injury killed his career as a Met.
Here's the great part for the rest of the league: The Mets still have to pay Castillo his entire $6 million salary for 2011.
Besides proving that the Mets don't have any chance of competing in 2011, this also means any team can sign Castillo to the major league minimum.
Recently I wrote a piece on why the Cardinals should consider Barry Zito, who at the time looked to be on his way out of San Francisco. I noted that with Adam Wainwright, the Cardinals' best pitcher, out for the season, they'd have to scrap for wins any way they could.
That said, I disagree with anyone who says the Cardinals should go out and sign Castillo.
Obviously this isn't about a monetary risk. The Cardinals would have to give up next to nothing for Castillo.
This is a question of youth versus experience.
While Castillo is adequate on defense, lacks pop at the plate and is a strong veteran presence, there's only one spot left on the Cardinals roster for a position player.
Right now, that spot is up for grabs between Daniel Descalso and Matt Carpenter, although Carpenter is the heavy favorite.
So while signing Castillo would give the Cardinals a player who put up a .387 on-base percentage as recently as two years ago, it takes up a spot that could be used on a budding young starter.
As long as Tony LaRussa's fondness for veterans continues, these sorts of deals will always be linked to the Cardinals. In this case, St. Louis should pass.