Well, it looks like it may be a reality: Luis Castillo is reported close to signing a deal with the Philadelphia Phillies. Quite frankly, I am not sure how I feel about this. One would assume that there are some pros and some cons so let's take a look at some of them
One major pro is that he is most likely going to be very, very cheap. He is already guaranteed $6M from the NY Mets, so the Phillies would be able to sign him for his qualifying league minimum, approximately $485,000. Cheap labor of this caliber is always a good thing and of course it makes it a very low risk/high reward proposition for the Phillies. Added Bonus: how great would it be to watch Castillo play against the Mets while they are paying him? Does it get any better than that?
Another pro would be that Castillo was, at one point, a very good hitter. His last full uninjured season was as recent as 2009 and he managed a very respectable .302 avg, .387 OBP and 77 runs scored. He has a very low strike out rate which would help what is currently a very K-prone lineup. His ability to put the ball in play could come in handy on a team like the Phillies who put a lot of runners on base and often only need a ground ball out or sacrifice fly to score a run. Also, he can still run, swiping 23 bags in 2009. Whether or not he can regain that form remains to be seen, but for $485K, don't you almost have to take that shot?
He was hurt most of 2010 so any numbers from that year may be skewed but I assure you they are not good. Also, you have to take into account he was a Met and quite frankly it really seems as though most of those guys, especially the veterans, just flat out gave up.
Let’s throw in a con: Wilson Valdez won’t get the much-deserved shot he has earned at second base. Valdez has been on fire this spring playing nearly every day and hitting over .400. He is playing several positions defensively and has been really impressive at all of them. He has even played some outfield this spring and done a very fine job at it. I personally would be slightly upset if Valdez didn’t at least get the opportunity at the job. The only thing that scares me about Valdez is his propensity to hit into the double play.
Another con is no one really knows his clubhouse attitude. The Phillies are known to have one of the best clubhouses in all of baseball; just ask Cliff Lee. They have taken tremendous care in achieving this chemistry. When Pat Gillick took over the team in 2005 he made it a point of contention to trade away great talents that were disruptive clubhouse members and it’s a philosophy that appears to have really worked. There is a rumor that the Phillies grade clubhouse attitude in their scouting reports and very seriously consider that grade when deciding on a player. There are many who believe, myself among them, that this is the reason the Philles are as successful as they are, despite injuries, despite slumps, despite poor outings–the Phillies always endure.
How about a pro: he hits from both sides of the plate. He could offer a right-handed bat in what is considered a very heavily weighted left handed lineup. Similar to Shane Victorino, he hits about equally from both sides; with a career .298 as a right-handed batter and .294 as a left-handed batter. Given the fact that most of the teams in the NL East have adjusted their bullpens to deal with the Phillies left-handed attack, this could prove extremely valuable.
All in all I would have to say it’s a good move for the Phillies however it is totally dependent on what they will pay him. As Ruben Amaro has recently been quoted as saying the team is completely tapped out financially, my guess would be the only way he becomes a Phillie is at the bare minimum price. I would further assume that Castillo would take that. He is, after all, still earning his $6M from the Mets this season and he would be playing for a contender. So if it happens: Good for you Luis Castillo, and welcome to the Philadelphia Phillies.
Let me know what you think. Is signing Luis Castillo a good move? Do you have another pro or con? Leave a comment and let me know.
UPDATE: It's a done deal. Minor league contract which minimizes financial damage if t doesn't work out. Good move by Ruben Amaro as he has managed to put the team in a win/win situation.