Luis Castillo Rumors

Rosenthal On Tigers, Castillo, Astros

Blue Jays' rookie third baseman Brett Lawrie has been raking this spring but the 21-year-old might not start the year in the majors, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  The club might send him to the minors to work on his defense – and to prevent him from becoming eligible for a fourth year of arbitration.  Here's more from Rosenthal..

  • One scout following the Tigers says the team is deep enough in young outfielders to possibly move one for a starting pitcher.  Right now, Brennan Boesch, Clete Thomas, Casper Wells, and Andy Dirks are all vying for reserve spots.  Wells appears to be a lock to make the big league roster as he is the only right-handed hitter of the bunch and plays all three outfield positions.
  • The Marlins are talking about signing second baseman Luis Castillo once he clears waivers, but they also have in-house options.  The club could decide to go with Emilio Bonifacio at second and Omar Infante at third if they choose to demote rookie third baseman Matt Dominguez.
  • If the Astros go with Carlos Lee over Brett Wallace at first base they would like to add a left-handed hitting outfielder to platoon with Jason Michaels.  However, the club is at the payroll limit and the team's greater need is a replacement for catcher Jason Castro.

Quick Hits: Putz, Castillo, Varitek, Pirates, Ortiz

Links for Saturday evening..


Luis Castillo Close To Joining Phillies

Former Mets second baseman Luis Castillo is close to joining the Phillies, a source told ESPN New York's Adam Rubin. Castillo was scheduled to clear waivers at 1pm ET today, and Philadelphia will only have to pay him the league minimum.

The Phillies have a bit of a question mark at second base right now given Chase Utley's knee injury, and Castillo would give them a veteran stopgap. Although he hit just .235/.337/.267 in 299 plate appearances last season, Castillo is only a year removed from a .387 OBP. The Mets are on the hook for the 35-year-old's $6MM salary, less whatever Philadelphia pays him.

More than 2,500 MLBTR readers predicted that Castillo would join the Phillies.

This post was originally published on March 20th, 2011.



Poll: Luis Castillo’s Next Team

The Mets finally went ahead and did what seemed inevitable yesterday, cutting ties with Luis Castillo. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports said late last night that he expects Castillo to sign with a new team shortly after clearing waivers on Sunday, when it would only require the league minimum to bring him aboard. Let’s look at some potential suitors, then vote on his next destination…

  • Phillies: Chase Utley is out indefinitely with knee problems, and Castillo’s low cost would surely be attractive to a team pushing the limits on payroll.
  • Marlins: They’re currently scheduled to begin the season with Omar Infante at second and top prospect Matt Dominguez at third. Castillo, who originally broke in with Florida, would allow them to slide Infante to third and take it slow with Dominguez, who has yet to play above Double-A.
  • Dodgers: It’s possible that Casey Blake will miss the start of the regular season with back trouble, and Castillo could step in at second with Juan Uribe sliding over to third.
  • Rockies: They’ve been connected to Michael Young basically all offseason, but Castillo would be a much more affordable second base option as well as less risky since there’s no long-term commitment. Rosenthal mentioned that Colorado was not in the mix, however.
  • Orioles: Brian Roberts is dealing with back issues, and although he’s getting closer to game action, Castillo would provide insurance at second and in the leadoff spot.
  • Cubs: The second base job is still up for grabs on Chicago’s north side according to Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago, so Castillo could push Blake DeWitt, Jeff Baker, Darwin Barney, and Augie Ojeda.
  • Cardinals: Nick Punto is recovering from a hernia, leaving a little bit of an opening on the roster.

Castillo has never played a position other than second base in his Major League career (not even DH), so his ability to serve as a utility infielder is far from a given.



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Luis Castillo Rumors: Friday

The Mets released Luis Castillo this morning, which means they're responsible for $6MM less the MLB minimum if he signs with another team. That's exactly what the second baseman intends to do, so we're going to keep track of which teams have potential interest right here:

  • The Cubs are interested in Castillo, a source told Enrique Rojas of ESPNdeportes.com.
  • The Orioles have "zero" interest in Castillo at this point, according to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun (on Twitter).
  • The Marlins have spoken internally about re-acquiring Castillo, according to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald. Castillo would be a candidate to play second base in case Matt Dominguez doesn't make the team and Omar Infante shifts to third base.
  • The Dodgers have no interest in Castillo, according to Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times (on Twitter).
  • Asked about potential interest, Phillies assistant GM Scott Proefrock said "that remains to be seen," according to MLB.com's Todd Zolecki (on Twitter).
  • Dave Cameron of FanGraphs argues that Castillo could hold down Philadelphia's second base job while Chase Utley recovers. Castillo isn't a long-term answer, but he could do enough to help the Phillies.
  • Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports expects that Castillo will sign shortly after clearning waivers on Sunday, and he confirmed that the Phillies, Marlins and Cubs are thought to be in on the veteran second baseman. Rosenthal added that the O's could be interested, depending on how Brian Roberts progresses with his back injury, and he tweeted that the Rockies are not in the mix.

Mets Release Luis Castillo

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.


Castillo Hopes To Sign With Another Team

Luis Castillo told Newsday's Jim Baumbach that he intends to play Major League Baseball in 2011 (all Twitter links). The Mets released him this morning, but he plans to sign elswhere.

"I'm going to wait, go home and hope to catch on with another team," Castillo said.

Castillo told Baumbach that he's frustrated the Mets didn't use him more. However, Castillo says he'll be "fine," since he has accomplished a lot as a major leaguer. The Phillies and Tigers have dealt with injuries at second base this spring, but there's no indication that either team is interested in Castillo.


Heyman On Wainwright, McLouth, Marlins, Mets

The Orioles don’t look like contenders to Jon Heyman of SI.com, who suggests yesterday's 10-0 loss to the Yankees could be a sign of things to come. Here are Heyman's latest rumors…

  • Three rival GMs tell Heyman that they expect the Cardinals to exercise Adam Wainwright’s $21MM option for 2012-13 after the season. Wainwright is recovering from Tommy John surgery and won't pitch in 2011, but has pitched at a Cy Young level for the past two seasons.
  • However, Cardinals GM John Mozeliak says he “hasn’t thought about” Wainwright's option yet.
  • Matt Holliday and Heyman agree that it’s a no-brainer for St. Louis to pick it up. To see what $21MM buys on the free agent market, click here.
  • Some people in the Braves organization are referring to Nate McLouth as "Pittsburgh Nate,'' since they’ve been impressed with his performance this spring. McLouth posted an .801 OPS in Pittsburgh and has just a .709 mark with the Braves.
  • Braves GM Frank Wren says Craig Kimbrel’s slow start doesn’t worry him.
  • One NL scout expects the Marlins to “surprise some people” despite their current spring losing streak.
  • Luis Castillo remains a “slight favorite” to win the Mets’ second base job.

Quick Hits: Rays, Wainwright, Lubanski, Eckstein

We wish Luis Salazar the best as he recovers from eye surgery. Doctors were unable to prevent the Braves minor league manager from losing his eye after a line drive hit him in the face. Here are today's links…

  • Braves outfielder Nate McLouth leads off Steve Henson's list of rebound candidates in 2011 at Yahoo Sports. As MLBTR's Mike Axisa has pointed out, it's a make or break year for McLouth.
  • Tyler Kepner of the New York Times examines the Rays' remade bullpen.
  • Adam Wainwright tells B.J. Rains of FOX Sports Midwest that he hasn’t talked to the Cardinals about his two-year, $21MM option for 2012-13. But as the rehabbing right-hander suggests, somebody will pick him up if the Cards don’t.
  • The Marlins released outfielder Chris Lubanski, according to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald (on Twitter). The Marlins signed the 2003 first rounder to a minor league deal in December after he posted an .899 OPS for Toronto's Triple-A affiliate in 2010.
  • The Mets have made it clear to free agent infielder David Eckstein that they have no interest in him, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com. One person familiar with the Mets tells Heyman that it's about "fifty-fifty" whether Luis Castillo opens the season as the team's second baseman.
  • Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic explains how after a name change and a suspension, Juan Paniagua got a $1.1MM bonus from the Yankees instead of a $17K bonus from the D'Backs (link at USA Today).
  • Tim Dierkes breaks down the closing situation for all 30 MLB teams in a must-read piece at RotoAuthority

Stark On Nationals, Red Sox, Jay, Phillies

Jayson Werth told ESPN.com's Jayson Stark that he doesn’t hate the Phillies at all and hopes for a warm reception when he returns to Philadelphia for the first time since signing with the division rival Nationals as a free agent. Here’s the latest on Werth's new team plus other rumors from around the league…

  • The Nationals would like to add a veteran to the back of their bullpen.
  • When teams ask about Nationals backstop Wilson Ramos, they’re hearing that the Nats don’t want to deal him because they believe he’s nearly ready to be a regular catcher.
  • The Red Sox have been “quietly poking around” to determine which catchers could become available.
  • The Phillies are looking for an affordable backup outfielder who can play center field and they have targeted Cardinals outfielder Jon Jay.
  • There are no indications that the Phillies plan to deal for a second baseman to replace the injured Chase Utley, however.
  • Though the Mets don’t appear to want Luis Castillo to win the second base job, scouts say he’s their best option by far.
  • The Twins are open to adding relief depth.