Jose Castillo Rumors

Marlins Waive Jose Castillo

The Marlins put infielder Jose Castillo on waivers today, though they have the option of pulling him back.  It seems like a way to gauge interest.  The Marlins may prefer to let Jorge Cantu play third regularly, as he’s had a strong spring and has a decent track record (insert obligatory 117 RBI season mention here).  The Marlins also have Dallas McPherson in the mix if he can get healthy.

Castillo could make sense for the Dodgers given his versatility, though he’s never hit much.

Marlins Sign Jose Castillo

The Marlins signed infielder Jose Castillo yesterday.  Castillo turns 27 in March.  The Fish are slotting him into their third base vacancy, though second base with an accompanying Dan Uggla shift is a possibility.

I took an in-depth look at Castillo here.  I believe skipping Triple A threw off his development; a return to that level might be wise.  Castillo currently doesn’t have the bat of an average second baseman, so he’s definitely not worthy of the hot corner.

Odds and Ends: Castillo, Marte

Some random rumorage as the mill slows down a bit…

  • RotoWorld reports that the Pirates have released infielder Jose Castillo.  Castillo has had flashes of brilliance, for example his 7 HR month in ’06.  But he’s been a disappointment overall and doesn’t figure to be anyone’s starting second baseman.
  • The Yankees and Bucs are discussing a Damaso Marte deal.  At the same link a failed Jack Wilson for Chris Duncan rumor is mentioned.

Pirates Looking To Ditch Nady

29 year-old outfielder Xavier Nady .278/.330/.476 as the Pirates’ right fielder, knocking 20 home runs.  However, he’s a Scott Boras client and definitely doesn’t fit into the team’s long-term plans.  He’s arbitration-eligible, but his salary will still be reasonable after that.  If Neal Huntington can’t find a trade partner for Nady, he may even non-tender him.

It probably won’t come to that, as Nady is a solid .800 OPS guy at a reasonable price.  There’s bound to be trade interest.  Nady can handle first base or the outfield corners.  If he was left-handed, he’d be a good target for the Rays.

Kovacevic also notes that Jose Castillo is "a virtual lock to be non-tendered."  So add him to the second base market, if you think he’s capable.

Mets Mulling Options At Second Base

Jose Valentin‘s fractured tibia on Friday should knock him out about six weeks.  Unfortunately for Valentin, this injury and a previous one will stop him from reaching 400 plate appearances this year.  That means his $4.3MM option for 2008 will not vest. 

The Mets have a number of internal options: Anderson Hernandez, Marlon Anderson, Ruben Gotay, and Damion Easley can all handle second base and offer different skills.  Willie Randolph didn’t seem thrilled with the idea of Gotay as the everyday guy, though Omar Minaya expects him to play the most. 

Minaya’s not actively looking to trade for a second baseman, but he will listen.  Jose de Jesus Ortiz believes Minaya covets Mark Loretta, even speculating on expanded deals involving Chad Qualls or Wandy Rodriguez.  I had not previously known that Wandy was on Omar’s radar last winter.  Still, it doesn’t make much sense for the Astros to give him up in the midst of a possible breakout season.

Dejan Kovacevic mentions Jose Castillo as another option, though there’s no indication the Mets are after him.  Two other options for the Mets are impending free agents Luis Castillo and Tadahito IguchiThere’s been speculation that the Mets will sign Castillo this winter.

Mets Don’t Want Castillo

Though he and others have suggested a good fit, today Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes that the Mets are not interested in Pirate utility man Jose Castillo.  Castillo recently requested a trade.

When you think about it, why would they be interested? Castillo hasn’t done anything in the Majors outside of May 2006, and he may have a bit of an attitude problem.  Damion Easley, on the other hand, has five homers in 56 ABs.  True, he won’t slug .571 all year, but he’s every bit as good as Castillo and he’s already on the team.  The Mets don’t need a second baseman.  They have the best offense in the National League.  I’m not sure the Mets need much of anything.

Jose Castillo Requests Trade

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 26 year-old second baseman Jose Castillo had his agent ask the Pirates for a trade.  Devan Kovacevic says Castillo was widely available this winter but generated little interest.  He names the Mets as a possible suitor given Jose Valentin‘s injury. 

As I mentioned in my Castillo Let’s Make A Deal post, outside of a single month (May ’06), Castillo hasn’t really done anything to justify a starting job. He skipped Triple A, and might benefit from playing every day at that level.   

Let’s Make A Deal: Jose Castillo

26 year-old Pirates infielder Jose Castillo hasn’t exactly asked for a trade, but you get the impression he would welcome one.  He doesn’t have a position with the Bucs after Freddy Sanchez returned from the DL Sunday.

Castillo has played mostly second base in his Major League career.  While he’s played outfield in winter ball, his bat doesn’t play there unless he’s an above-average center field glove.  That seems very doubtful.  He was raised a shortstop in the minors, but started playing second base in Double A in ’03 when Pokey Reese got injured.  His work at short had been lousy, and soon he was to be the Bucs’ Second Baseman of the Future.

I asked Jake at Bucco Blog about Castillo’s defense.  His description: "He’s a natural shortstop without the range anymore. Soft hands, better than average arm, lightning quick pivots, and better than average 2B range."  Jake mentioned that Castillo plays hard and could win a Gold Glove one day.  This is not a starry-eyed Bucs fan speaking, as Jake has been plenty critical of the Pirates. 

In 2004 Castillo was able to make the jump from Double A to the bigs and break camp with the team, albeit in a second-base timeshare with Bobby Hill.  Soon enough, he was playing every day.  Castillo didn’t hit much in his rookie season but finished strong.  Skipping Triple A may have stunted his development, however.

He was the starting 2B to begin 2005, but a strained oblique cut into his season initially.  As a sophomore, he improved his SLG to .416 but a torn knee ligament in August ended his season. 

The knee was fine to start 2006.  After a weak April, Castillo had the best month of his life in May, hitting .366/.413/.634 with 7 home runs.  He never managed to slug .400 in any other month last year.  Castillo was benched in August, apparently because he threw his arms up in disgust when a runner failed to score from second on his single.

This winter, shortstop Jack Wilson called Castillo out, saying he’d rather partner with Freddy Sanchez at second.  Castillo lost some weight before the season but also lost the third base job to Jose Bautista.

At this point, Castillo’s stock might be even lower than Jorge Cantu‘s.  At least Cantu has translated his potential into results for one season.  I named the Braves, Mets, and Rockies as reasonable fits for Cantu earlier.  Castillo is probably in the same boat, and the Braves did express interest in him when working out the Mike Gonzalez deal.

Castillo is still young enough to step it up to his 75th percentile PECOTA projection – .275/.329/.440.  But that’s still not much better than Ron Belliard, who was freely available this winter.  Either Littlefield will send him off for a pittance just to get him off the team, or he’ll continue to warm the bench for the Bucs.  Outside of a single month, he hasn’t really justified a starting role.