Year-by-year Cubs fans are faced with one particular rumor. Whether be it through a mainstream media outlet or a blog like Cubbies Crib, the rumor of Luis Castillo always seems to pop up. General manager Jim Hendry has always appeared to be interested in Castillo throughout his tenure with the Cubs. Most recently, Hendry tried to acquire Luis Castillo last off-season by offering the Mets disgruntled outfielder Milton Bradley. Obviously, no such trade ever materialized. However, now may be the best chance for Hendry to nab the player he has long had an interest in–Luis Castillo.
The New York Mets announced today that they have released Luis Castillo, who is owed $6 million for the 2011 season. However, assuming Castillo signs with another team, the Mets will be on the hook for the $6 million owed to Castillo this season.
Enter the Chicago Cubs where one of the biggest holes on their projected 25 man roster is at the second base position. The combination of Blake DeWitt and Jeff Baker has not really appealed to any within the Cubs’ front office, who appear to be willing to tread water at the position until some of their prospects are ready for the major leagues. However with Hendry’s apparent liking of Castillo and the fact that Castillo is probably going to get the major league minimum, Bruce Levine was the first to suggest that the Cubs may make a play for Luis Castillo.
Before going into what Castillo could provide on the field, there are multiple red flags going up in my head because of how Castillo is portrayed off the field. For one, according to all reports from the Mets’ Spring Training camp, the Mets grew very concerned with Castillo’s attitude. The Cubs already have their fair share of headaches in Carlos Zambrano, and Carlos Silva. Not to mention it is not too long ago that Milton Bradley was still wreaking havoc within the Cubs’ clubhouse. So, excuse for being concerned about the Cubs being interested in another headache.
Another warning sign is that the Mets, of all teams, were the ones that released Castillo. The same Mets that have Oliver Perez on their payroll, and that were one of the many victims of the Bernie Madoff scheme. Yet despite their payroll flexibility-or lack thereof- they decided to release the highly priced Castillo. To compare, the Cubs are skeptical to release Carlos Silva–who they owe $6.5 million to this season.
Not to mention that at age 35, Castillo’s best days are clearly behind him. Last season was just a terrible year for Castillo no matter how you look at it. In 247 at bats he hit .235/.337/.267, and he looked lost defensively. While I have not been singing the praises of Blake DeWitt, I would take him any day over Luis Castillo.
So, if I were Jim Hendry and Castillo’s agent came calling, I would just simply say no. Besides, the future could be this season as Darwin Barney should be able to take over the second base position at some point this season.