Luis Castillo Rumors
Condolences go out to the family of Hall of Fame catcher Gary Carter, who passed away today following a long bout with cancer. He was 57. Carter hit .262/.335/.439 and made eleven All-Star Games in his 19 seasons, 12 of which came with the Expos. He backstopped the Mets to the 1986 World Championship. Here is some news from around the league...
- The 142 players who filed for arbitration last month averaged a 112% raise reports the AP (via ESPN). That's down from 123% last offseason and the lowest average raise since 106% in 2007. Check out our Arbitration Tracker for the answers to all of your arbitration questions.
- Rangers GM Jon Daniels reiterated that contract extension talks with Josh Hamilton are on hold, reports Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas. "The priority needs to be his recovery and his family and, secondarily, getting ready for the season," said the GM. "We're not going to get in the way of those things with contract talk.
- The Diamondbacks have signed 16-year-old Dominican right-hander Luis Castillo for $80K according to a release, which said his fastball sits 84-87 mph. He also throws a curveball and a changeup.
- The trade market is likely to heat up as the season progresses, writes MLB.com's Richard Justice. As he explains, most GMs feel confident in their team this time of year and prefer to take their time evaluating needs.
- Scott Kazmir, who had been scheduled to pitch in front of scouts yesterday, won’t audition until Friday, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney tweets. The left-handed free agent is feeling well, Olney writes.
- Brandon Webb is throwing painlessly off of flat ground, agent Jonathan Maurer told Olney. Webb will throw in front of scouts at some point, Olney tweets.
- Newsday’s Ken Davidoff adds up teams’ payroll commitments for 2015 and beyond and finds that nine clubs -- the Orioles, Cubs, Indians, Astros, Royals, Mets, Padres, Giants and Mariners -- haven’t committed a thing for ’15 or beyond.
- Yahoo’s Jeff Passan examines the market for the top remaining free agents, including Roy Oswalt, Mike Gonzalez and a crowd of designated hitters.
- Joe Jordan, the Phillies' new director of player development, breaks down a number of the team's top prospects with Joe Berkery of the Philadelphia Daily News.
Mike Axisa contributed to this post.
Eating money in trades or by releasing players is far from an ideal business practice, but sometimes it's a necessary evil. The Mets believe they are better off paying Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo a combined $18MM not to be on their team this year, and released the two just last month. David Wharton of The Los Angeles Times wrote about the concept of "dead money" today, speaking to Dodgers GM Ned Colletti, sports economist J.C. Bradbury, and Scott Boras.
With some help from Cot's Baseball Contracts, let's look at the teams that are paying players to be anywhere but on their roster this season...
- Angels: Gary Matthews Jr. ($11.4MM)
- Astros: Roy Oswalt ($7MM)
- Blue Jays: Vernon Wells ($5MM)
- Cubs: Carlos Silva ($7.25MM, plus $2MM in 2012)
- Diamondbacks: Chris Snyder ($3MM)
- Dodgers: Manny Ramirez ($8.33MM per year through 2013), Andruw Jones ($3.2MM per year through 2014), Juan Pierre ($3.5MM)
- Mariners: Carlos Silva ($5.5MM), Yuniesky Betancourt ($1MM), Josh Wilson ($179K)
- Mets: Oliver Perez ($4MM), Luis Castillo ($6MM), Gary Matthews Jr. ($1MM)
- Rockies: Manny Corpas ($3.55MM, $250K in 2012)
- Royals: Yuniesky Betancourt ($2MM)
- Twins: Brendan Harris ($500K)
- White Sox: Scott Linebrink ($3.5MM)
This doesn't include money the Braves owe Kenshin Kawakami ($7.4MM) or the Yankees owe Kei Igawa ($4MM). Both Japanese imports remain in the organization, but they've since been banished to the minor leagues. It also doesn't include all the money the Mets famously owe Bobby Bonilla for the next two decades.
Yuniesky Betancourt is the only player collecting paychecks from three different big league teams at the moment, but Carlos Silva could join him if he's called up by the Yankees. Gary Matthews Jr. could also be in that mix if he catches on somewhere this summer.
The Phillies released second baseman Luis Castillo, tweets Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. It was a brief trial for Castillo, who was picked up nine days ago after the Mets released him on March 18th. All along, the understanding was that Castillo would make the Phillies out of Spring Training or be released.
Phillies second baseman Chase Utley is dealing with chronic knee pain, and hasn't offered a timetable aside from saying he aims to be back before the All-Star break. GM Ruben Amaro Jr. currently isn't thinking about putting Utley on the 60-day DL. While he's out, the Phillies will apparently go with Wilson Valdez and some combination of Michael Martinez, Pete Orr, and Delwyn Young. The Phillies opened a spot on the 40-man roster yesterday by outrighting Matt Rizzotti, which according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer means a spot is open for either Young or Mike Stutes (Twitter link).
- Speaking to Jack Curry of the YES Network, Yankees ace C.C. Sabathia stuck to his vow to avoid commenting on his opt-out clause until after the season. However, he added "I'm a Yankee" and said he can't see himself "playing anywhere else" (Twitter link).
- Rodrigo Lopez says he has no regrets about signing with the Braves, despite not earning a spot in the rotation, according to MLB.com's Mark Bowman and Alden Gonzalez.
- We heard earlier in the week that the Braves were looking to deal Lopez, with MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith running through some potential suitors. Although Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says the Braves are more likely to trade Lopez than Kenshin Kawakami before Opening Day, he cautions that there's no rush for Atlanta - Lopez has an out in his contract, but not until June.
- Within Rosenthal's piece, a scout expresses doubt about Luis Castillo's chances of making the Phillies. MLB.com's Todd Zolecki says time is running out on Castillo's spring audition.
- Endy Chavez and Esteban German are among the players the Rangers sent to the minors today, tweets Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Meanwhile, with Tommy Hunter likely sidelined until May, Alexi Ogando could re-enter the Rangers' rotation mix, according to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com.
Mets GM Sandy Alderson held a blogger conference call today, and Metsblog.com's Michael Baron has the transcript. Here are some of the hot stove-related notes...
- Fan sentiment "came into play" in Luis Castillo's release, Alderson said. The Mets "became aware about the sentiment in New York for [Castillo and Oliver Perez]....It's difficult to overcome that, so you evaluate player performance against presumption in the minds of the fans." In Perez's case, Alderson said the southpaw just didn't pitch well enough to make the roster, so the fans' thoughts were moot.
- Alderson says if the Mets are in contention, the club will have the money available to add a player if necessary.
- Alderson thinks his team's farm system is underrated but he says the Mets "need to be more aggressive and successful in developing players out of the draft."
- "There is a very good possibility we will keep both our Rule 5 picks" Alderson said, in regards to Pedro Beato and Brad Emaus. The GM said that Emaus' Rule 5 status was a major reason the team gave him every chance to win the second base job this spring. "If he was not a Rule 5 draftee, he wouldn’t have presented the immediacy that he does," Alderson said. "If he’s not the starting second baseman, I’m not sure how much he helps us in a bench role. At least at the outset, you’re going to give him every opportunity."
- If the Mets have a reduced payroll next season, they should still be able to re-sign Jose Reyes if they wish, given the number of contracts the team has coming off the books this winter.
- After some confusion, Luis Castillo arrived in Phillies camp, according to MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki.
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post de-bunks the notion that the Mets could have built up trade value for Castillo instead of releasing him.
- Mets exec Paul DePodesta said in a chat at Baseball Prospectus that he likes to be aggressive in the draft and take occasional "shots where it's appropriate." However, DePodesta cautioned that it's possible to overspend on amateurs, since there is a finite number of future big leaguers out there (hat tip MetsBlog).
- Joe Pawlikowski of FanGraphs predicts that the Braves will get something in exchange for Kenshin Kawakami, even if they have to eat some of his $6.67MM salary.
- For the latest on the Nationals, click here.
The Phillies officially signed Luis Castillo to a minor league deal, the team announced today. He'd been released by the Mets on Friday. The Mets are on the hook for the 35-year-old's $6MM salary, less the league minimum that Philadelphia will pay him. Castillo will either make the team or be released, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. told reporters this morning.
The Phillies have a question mark at second base right now given Chase Utley's knee injury, and Castillo gives 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. More than 2,500 MLBTR readers predicted that Castillo would join the Phillies, and Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com was first to tweet the agreement.
Some Mets-related items...
- Andy Martino of The New York Daily News says that GM Sandy Alderson and manager Terry Collins are scheduled to meet with Oliver Perez on Monday morning, and an announcement that the left-hander has been released could come shortly thereafter.
- ESPN New York's Adam Rubin passes along a press release issued by the Wilpons answering the $1 billion lawsuit filed against them in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.
- Perez left the Mets complex this morning and says no one has told him what's next, tweets Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal. Costa says to expect a decision by tomorrow.
- Pitching coach Dan Warthen says that no decision has been reached on Perez yet and he doubts that anything will happen today, Costa tweets.
- Warthen's assessment is supported by a team official who told Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com that the Mets are not expected to make any roster moves today.
- Only an injury would prevent Jason Isringhausen from breaking camp with the Mets, tweets Anthony DiComo of MLB.com. The 38-year-old said earlier this month that he would retire before accepting a minor league assignment.
- Second baseman Luis Castillo will almost certainly have a new job within 24 hours after he clears waivers today at 1pm EST, writes Buster Olney of ESPN. Olney points out that it's worth remembering Castillo's history and relationship with the Marlins. When owner Jeffrey Loria visited the Vatican in 2002, he brought back a blessed cross for Castillo.
Links for Sunday afternoon..
- ESPN's Jerry Crasnick says (via Stephen Goff of Examiner.com) it's unlikely the Astros will attend Doug Davis' upcoming workout. Zachary Levine of the Houston Chronicle reported earlier that the race for Houston's fifth starter was down to Jordan Lyles and Nelson Figueroa, with Ryan Rowland-Smith now vying for a bullpen job.
- Kelsie Smith of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets that the Twins aren't adding anyone to their 40-man roster in light of San Diego's claim of Pat Neshek, suggesting that the team was clearly trying to trade the right-hander but failed.
- David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News writes that the Phillies may not be able to add to their $165MM payroll but believes that they could make personnel moves to create payroll flexibility.
- The White Sox have informed rookie Brent Morel that he's won the starting job at third base, according to Jerry Crasnick (via Twitter). This means less playing time for Mark Teahen, whom the club is open to trading.
The Phillies and Marlins have both been linked to free agent second baseman Luis Castillo, but neither team appears to be serious about signing the veteran. Castillo was scheduled to officially clear waivers at 1pm EST today.
The Phillies are not high on the idea of signing Castillo to fill-in for Chase Utley at second base, writes David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News. Murphy gets the sense that the Phillies would be willing to take a look at him on a non-guaranteed deal, but there should be other suitors willing to give the veteran more playing time.
Meanwhile, the Marlins haven't completely closed the door on the idea of signing Castillo but they're also not in hot pursuit of him, writes Joe Frisaro of MLB.com. The club was considering Castillo to play second base if they decide that Matt Dominguez's bat isn't up to snuff for the big league roster.
The Marlins would have shifted Omar Infante to third base and put someone else - possibly Emilio Bonifacio - at second. Dominguez still may not make the cut out of Spring Training, but the Marlins are not presently searching for a third baseman on the trade market.