- 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.
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.
Links for Saturday evening..
- New to Arizona, J.J. Putz tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that he's a perfect fit for the Diamondbacks.
- Second baseman Josh Barfield is competing for a utility spot on the Phillies but isn't concerned with talk of Luis Castillo, writes Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com.
- Brian MacPherson and Tim Britton of The Providence Journal wonder how much longer Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek will continue to play. Varitek could be asked to backup Jarrod Saltalamacchia in 2011 but could still be given plenty of playing time in a platoon. McPherson set the over/under at 2.5 years but Britton takes the under, pointing out that the list of catchers who have played the most games is chock full of players who retired before reaching 40-years-old. The team captain will celebrate his 39th birthday in less than a month.
- Pirates left-hander Joe Beimel was scratched again due to elbow pain today, which seems to contradict what GM Neal Huntington said yesterday after picking up Garrett Olson off of waivers, tweets Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Huntington insisted yesterday that the addition of Olson was not motivated by concern about Beimel or Scott Olsen.
- Pittsburgh right-hander Kevin Hart was on the bubble for a roster spot with the club and out of options for 2011, but the club will now have more time to consider him after a shoulder injury sent him to the 60-day DL, writes Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com.
- Dave Cameron of Fangraphs rallies against the tyranny of the corner label.
- Red Sox veteran David Ortiz told Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com that the pressure isn't off, even with the new additions.
- ESPN's Buster Olney (Insider req'd) hears from a talent evaluator that the best way for Kevin Millwood to get back to the big leagues is by signing with a team and pitching in games. "That's no way to win a job — sitting at home," said the source. Millwood's fastball was clocked at 85 mph during a recent workout.
- The Rangers ackowledge that Chris Davis has opened some eyes with his strong Spring Training, writes MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan. He's under consideration for a roster spot, though teams have inquired about his availability.
- Now without star second baseman Dan Uggla, the Marlins are once again in a transitional phase, writes Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com.
- While he really enjoyed his time in Houston, Lance Berkman is happy to be with the Cardinals, writes MLB.com's Brian McTaggart.
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.