Post by Taryn “The Coop” Cooper
This whole offseason it’s been a total soap opera, from All My Teammates to Days of our Mets. You wanted headlines, you got it. From money and investment issues, to change in management and speculation, there was no shortage of drama.
Then it came to two contracts that perhaps have the most vitriol associated amongst Mets fans. That’s Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez. I say “contracts” and not “players” because at this point, that’s all the fans and media alike see those two as the sum of their parts (meaning: what’s their paycheck) versus what they could do for the team. That’s not much though, what they could do or can do. Castillo didn’t earn the nickname amongst Mets circles “Gimpy” for nothin’. And well, Oliver Perez is just a headcase.
We learned that Friday morning was going to have a round of cuts that we discussed ad nauseum on the Kult of Mets Personalities podcast with blog legend Steve Keane from the Kranepool Society. Keane theorized that if he had to guess, Castillo would be cut on Friday. Well, he was (Luis Castillo being cut that is).
You’d think we’d all be breaking bread on this news. After all, we’ve been discussing that if the Mets didn’t or couldn’t add any flashy players via free agency, Sandy Alderson could earn tons of goodwill with the fanbase by cutting one or both of those contracts. Again, it’s the contracts that we hate, not the players. The contracts we boo. Remember, we don’t like booing laundry. I can boo $6 million, whether I see it on CitiField’s diamond or whether it’s dropping pop-ups for another team.
Now? It’s mind boggling to me just how much negativity this news was met with. Negativity regarding that he was cut even though he was showing up for his job, he *was* playing hard, the Mets didn’t give him a chance to compete (which was so not true since he played in most games and at the same time he probably took at-bats and game appearances away from some of the other players competing for the same role). Truth is, Castillo has become a distraction. He’s become a distraction on the field, a distraction on the team and a distraction by the fans. It’s bad enough that it looks like Oliver Perez will make the trip back up north, as a “lefty specialist” (aka “whatever”). He was routinely booed on Opening Day that is supposed to be a day of hope and light around baseball. And he stays while Castillo goes.
I may sound like I’m apologizing for Castillo, but I’m not. I want them BOTH gone, I want them BOTH off the team. But as I told On The Black a few weeks ago, Castillo is the odd man out of them both. Meaning, he’s replaceable and he’s not owed as much money as Perez.
Yet, all the Castillopologists have come out of the woodwork here. I am no fan of calling people’s opinions out because hey, at the end of the day we are all bloggers and therefore, opinionated, and justified in our thinking. But some of these were just so crazy, I had to shake my head at them.
“The Mets barely let him play.” FACT: he played in nearly every spring training game, jeopardizing others (like Brad Emaus) who may have needed more work, just to see if it was worth keeping Castillo around. You’d think a guy who played in less than 90 games two out of the last three years would have something to play for. Bigger FACT: a guy getting $24 million over 4 years needs to play more than 90 freaking games a year. End of story.
“But…but…he hit over .300 in 2009.” FACT: Ok, so Castillo hitting .300 on a team that a) was decimated by injuries, 2) several games below .500 and D) showcasing their D-list every day doesn’t tell me much. Let’s say I told you I just bought a mansion…BUT it was in the crappiest part of town that NO ONE wants to live in or visit for that matter. I may have a nice house…but it’s not necessarily in an area I’d want to live. Castillo was the best option we had at second base in 2009…then again, Jeff Francoeur was also the best option we had at RF and what exactly does that say?
“I never saw him mope or complain.” Uh, ok. FACT: All he did was just that in 2010 WHEN HE WASN’T EVEN AVAILABLE TO F’ING PLAY! When he only played 87 games the ENTIRE YEAR!! And even the games he did play, I remember there was a walk-off that the team ran up to him at first base, and his look was just as excited as Mike Hampton’s after winning the NLCS in 2000. Oh and don’t get me started on how he felt he was an everyday player BUT WAS HURT ALL THE DAMN TIME!!!!! Not scowling, moping or complaining, my ass. Oh and by the way, just because YOU personally did not see him mope or complain…doesn’t mean it wasn’t seen by his manager or teammates. Not saying that is so but…you don’t know what goes on in the clubhouse all the time.
My personal favorite? ”The Mets are weaker by letting him go.” FACT: Oh…COME ON ALREADY!!
You cannot be serious!!!!
It’s not like we let Jose Reyes go for pennies on the dollar; it’s not like David Wright demanded to be traded and we couldn’t do it so he was just cut; it’s not like we gave away Jon Niese for scrap iron at one of the Iron Triangle’s proprietary businesses. This was Luis F. Castillo. He was good in 2003, he was good for like 15 minutes after he was traded to the Mets in 2007 (and if we want to look at the bigger picture with the issues at second base, let’s remember that Omar Minaya played musical 2Bs and traded Jeff Keppinger for no good damn reason, who would have been a formidable place holder and not to mention would have given you his money’s worth by playing in over 100 games the last three years). Castillo would be someone who constantly reminds us of the inefficiencies set forth by the previous regimes, hamstrung payrolls with overbloated contracts that nobody wants and lack of foresight at all set forth by the Mets.
I am just shocked that anybody would even think that this team would ever be worse off without Castillo. After this team’s performance in the last two years (not to mention 2007 and 2008), I somehow doubt that simply by releasing Castillo will trump those scenarios. I would venture to say that a) they stay the same or b) may be marginally better without him on the roster. Now, if I release someone and say the “worst case scenario” would be that the team stayed the course, I doubt they are therefore weaker. I think it’s more of an indictment on the Mets if anything. But on the good side, Alderson decided it was time to cut ties. For once, the Mets are being guided by baseball moves, and not money, and understand the concept of sunken costs.
If there’s anything I can be upset about this disclosure is that Oliver Perez wasn’t given his walking papers as well. Otherwise, this is exactly the move people have been clamoring for all offseason, and now that it happens people are finding fault with it.
I really cannot wait until this season starts so the infighting can stop. Oh wait, I forgot. That will happen as soon as the first pitch is thrown via Twitter.
Overall this is a good move. It shows the baseball people are making the baseball decisions, and that even though they are not in a position to let $6 million, let alone a total $18 million, walk out the door, that they do have a commitment to putting the best team forth.
Let Castillo go. It’s for the best.