Unable to delay the inevitable any longer, the Mets have released Luis Castillo. The team has confirmed the move via press release.
“This was [a] baseball decision,” GM Sandy Alderson said. “I met with Terry [Collins] and made a recommendation to Jeff [Wilpon] and Jeff approved on behalf of ownership.”
Luis Hernandez, Daniel Murphy and Brad Emaus remain in competition for the Mets' second base job. Earlier in the week it appeared that manager Terry Collins preferred Hernandez, but there's no clear-cut favorite.
Castillo hit .235/.337/.267 in 299 plate appearances last year and spent 47 days on the DL recovering from a left foot injury. The 35-year-old is entering the final season of the four-year, $25MM deal he signed after the 2007 season. Castillo impressed after the Mets acquired him in a mid-2007 trade with the Twins, hitting .296 and stealing 10 bases in a third of a season. That strong finish led to a $25MM guarantee from then-GM Omar Minaya.
Now a free agent, Castillo is available for the league minimum. The Mets will be responsible for his entire $6MM salary if he remains a free agent and they'll save just over $400K if he signs elsewhere.