Mets drop Castillo like that pop-up

The inevitable finally occurred..

Luis Castillo, who wasn’t having a bad spring offensively, was finally released today. However, staying with the Mets, unless somebody picks him up, will be the $6 million the club owns him.

CASTILLO: The play that defined his Met career.

The Wilpons frequently have been criticized for refusing to eat bad contracts and there was speculation Castillo might stick. I thought he’d at least last the weekend.

However, in the end, the negativity Castillo brought, his declining defensive ability and the belief he wasn’t much better – if at all than his competition – were the overriding factors in ridding the organization of one of its most scorned players in its history.

Sandy Alderson made the announcement: “After a long evaluation during spring training, after consulting with [manager] Terry [Collins] and the coaching staff, I made a recommendation to ownership in the best interest of the organization and Louie that he be released. Ownership approved.’’

Indeed, the culture has changed.

Collins was never enamored with Castillo, starting for his failure to notify the manager he wouldn’t report early because of a family emergency. A simple phone call could have diffused things.

Twice Castillo reported to spring training out of shape. There were times he didn’t hustle, including this week when he failed to cover first base. His defense and range were in decline. He was injury prone. He had one good season with the bat, hardly enough to justify the four-year, $24 million contract former GM Omar Minaya awarded him.

Through it all, he moped through the clubhouse and it became clear he wasn’t buying into what Collins was selling.

Above it all, there was a negative aura surrounding him long before that dropped pop-up at Yankee Stadium. He was booed last Opening Day. He’s also been booed during spring training.

“I don’t think there’s any question that there’s some linkage between his situation and a perception of the Mets that has existed to this point,’’ Alderson said. “That’s something that was taken into account. At some point, you have to make an organizational decision that goes beyond just an ability to play or not play.

“So those things are relevant. And you try not to make them so controlling that it dictates the final decision under any circumstances. Realistically, it’s a factor.’’

Castillo, who just should have been grateful for the contract and busted his tail, in the end complained about not getting a chance during spring training.

“I said I came here to play and you didn’t give me the chance,’’ is what Castillo reportedly told Alderson at the meeting. “ You didn’t use me.’’

So, what happens now at second base?

Daniel Murphy will make the team as a left-handed bat, but has shown he can’t handle the position defensively. The Mets like Brad Emaus’ potential and have to keep him on the roster because of his Rule 5 status. That could leave them in a platoon situation with Luis Hernandez.

When Alderson took the job he said his goal was to change the culture of the franchise. To a large degree, that was accomplished today.


13 thoughts on “Mets drop Castillo like that pop-up

  1. yep. Minaya had his favorites for all the wrong reasons.
    I think we will have a much diff team.
    Now lets see if the culture works.
    decent game today.

  2. Well, hello there friends and neighbors. Its been awhile. There hasnt been much to say lately. The Castillo news and Ollie rumors have got me to the keyboard once again. first of all, kudos to JD for keeping this thing up when there hasnt been much traffic of late. Alright, lets get to it then. Cutting Castillo was stupid. Was there a better option to play second this year? Maybe he could have had a nice first half and brought back something in return at the half. six mil is pocket change but no other team will pick up the full amount off last years performance. Perez, I will remind you was a terrible mistake by omar and I was against the whole board at that time. He should be gone or else its just a joke. I like alderson so far but how could he not shine after the Minaya debacle?

  3. I was wondering what play defines the Mets since 2006: The Castillo drop or the unassisted triple play that ended a Phillies game.

    When you get down to it, Castillo had a pretty good career with one World Series ring (was injured in 1997 as well). three gold gloves, three all star games. But like Jimmy Piersall, Duke Snider, Ken Boyer, Jim Fregosi, Mickey Lolich, George Foster, Tom Glavine, Mo Vaughn, Roberto Alomar…it wasn’t with us.

  4. True, Dan but he did have one year with an almost .400 obp. The point is now who is a better candidate to play second this year. From what Ive read Murphy cant turn a DP and nobody else they have is better than Looie.

  5. Ray (3): Nice to hear from you again. I was hoping you’d stop by. … Castillo was having the best spring of all the candidates, by Alderson admitted this was greater than production. It was refreshingly honest to hear the fans’ perception of him was a factor. Normally, a GM wouldn’t concede to that, but this was so painfully obvious that a denial would seem laughable. … By the way, I appreciate the kudos. You have long been a supporter since my days at the paper, and it it is gratefully appreciated. Best.- JD

  6. Dan (4): I would say the unassisted triple play. But, I’d like to throw another choice out there. How about Ryan Church’s failure to touch third base in LA? That’s the one that stands out for me.-JD

  7. Ray(3)

    I agree that it was reported that Luis is a better defensive player than the others. Well except for the other Luis perhaps. But he has no range and reportedly had attitude issues as JD reports above.

    Also in his time here he has not played particularly well, he is a defensive liability in the field ( the team shifted to compensate for him last year ), and he is only effective batting second.

    These are a lot of issues to carry for a player who was good with another team. I do not know if any of these guys will play better than he, but I guarantee they will play with more enthusiasm.

    I predict ( as I stated on another posting ), that when we play his new team he will show us what we cut.

  8. Dan (4)

    I do not have any one play, but the disastrous fall from 1st place in September 2007. It was a long slide for a team that had many actors in the drama. Pitchers couldn’t pitch and hitters couldn’t hit. Luis had one good year for us.

    It is time for us to cut ties with him. He was never part of the solution for this team. He is past his prime and a prima donna for a team that needs a new persona. He has to bat second to be effective. He is no longer a good defensive player who all to often botches the routine play.

    He is not a terrible player, but I am glad to be rid of him just the same.

  9. john/dan,

    why do you guys insist on bring back these nightmares?

    I can remember Sybil haranguing Church for missing that plate going around the bases. I can also remember him giving Luis a pass for the same type of mistake ( dropping a routine ball). They happened. But Sybil had his favorites and he didn’t hide it. He hated Church with a passion and forgave Luis every time he screwed up.

    He also yo-yo’d Parnell, and almost ruined Jenrry. M&M were bad for this team for different reasons. I am glad they are both gone and hope the new regime is better.

    Of course Sybil as briefly our last best hope till he wore out his welcome after half a season. I can still remember him cracking jokes as our team played worse and worse. The reporters loved him because he was a clown and made them laugh.

  10. I was talking to a metsie saturday night.
    He made an observation that i half dismissed, but I figured I would share.
    He lays claim that the wilpons being true dodger fans took over the mets to kill the franchise.
    I told him where it’s possible, the fans and major league baseball would not stand for that , if discovered to be true.
    I told him they are just terrible owners.
    Also, with Alderson, I do not think his integrity will allow him to follow through with such a plan.
    For me this all started with the poor choice of how they fired willie.. it all spiraled downhill after that ..
    Delgado watching balls dribble by, not hitting and still batting low in the order and not 7th. 😉
    the lack of hustle when running out ground outs.
    SO far the 2 spring games I saw , there was hustle. so lets see

  11. i guess it could be true.

    who knows? all they have to do is say this player is too expensive. let him sign expensive players and not others. so the team is not balanced and loses.

    its a long way to go to prove a point tho.