Monday, July 30, 2007

Looie Love

People will paint the Luis Castillo trade as the Mets responding to the Braves' trade for Mark Teixeira, and attempt at Octavio Dotel. And that's silly because I'm sure Omar Minaya was working on this long before those deals went down. It's not like Omar was watching ESPNEWS and saw that little box that said "Braves Trade For Teixeira Pending, Omar Had Better Get to Work", and all of a sudden brushed the cookie crumbs off of his Aquaman pajamas and rushed to the phone.

But knowing that the Braves were hot on the Tex trail meant the Mets had to do something...but they were going to do something anyway. And Castillo is just what they needed. I've wanted Castillo for years. Don't believe me? Comb through my blog. You will find plenty of evidence of my man crush on Castillo. I work with a Twins fan. When the Twins initially got Castillo, I cursed that guy out. He didn't deserve it, as it was a classic case of transference. But that's how much I wanted Luis Castillo.

Remember, this isn't merely an upgrade at second base. If it was solely about second base, then Ruben Gotay would hit eighth for the rest of our natural lives and we'd be finished. But this trade was about the two hole. Paul Lo Duca wasn't given a chance to be the regular two-hole hitter, and for the life of me I couldn't understand it. Lo Duca isn't the same hitter this season as he was last season, but in part I think it's because of his changed role in the lineup. Instead, Jose Reyes has had a revolving door behind him, and it's been no small coincidence that you would see Reyes stranded at third base every first inning. Castillo ends the revolving door once and for all, and once everybody gets healthy (I'm talking to you, Mr. Abdominal Strain), that lineup becomes as stable as the Rock of Gibraltar, or any old rock you want to name, for the first time since last season.

The move also strengthens the bench without trading for a bench guy, as Gotay provides versatility along with Damion Easley. And Jose Valentin can even play some outfield along with second base when he gets back. Anybody who thinks that these guys aren't going to play a big part with the Mets down the stretch just hasn't looked at the team's medical reports lately.

It may not be the last move the Mets make until tomorrow at 4PM (perhaps there's some bullpen help coming as Tampa's Al Reyes is a possibility), but it will probably be the biggest move the Mets make. And while it isn't as big as the Teixeira deal, it's big in that it may have just as much of a ripple effect on the Mets lineup as Tex will have on Atlanta's lineup. So game on.


Jaap said...

Spat up my morning's coffee over that image of Omar brushing cookie crumbs off of his Aquaman pajamas in a sudden haste. I'll send the bill for repair of my laptop to your comedy department...

The main thing about Castillo is that he isn't named Tadahito Iguchi. Can you imagine the fallout, the whisper campaigns, the outright schrie of indignation had we filled the "hole" at second base with another doomed Japanese import?

Ceetar said...

yeah, I'm pretty okay with the trade, particularly since it ddin't seem like we gave anything up for him.

Ken Dynamo said...

you dont make roster moves becasue of the batting order, that has a negligible affect on the game. you amek them becasue of holes int he position. lo duca is not batting second becasue he in fact sucks this year. castillo would be ok as a 2 guy becasue he still gets on base decently but but i'd still prefer to bat all my best hitter at the top of the order next to each other. i defintilety think castillo was about defense and the thought that we will never need david awful newhan every again. and that is a godo thot indeed. since we gave up nothing i have to give omar the thumbs up.

Metstradamus said...


Although I agree that Castillo was a great move (obviously), I disagree on Lo Duca...whole heartedly. Yes, he's not batting second. And yes, he's not the same hitter he was last season. But he wasn't taken out of the two hole because he hasn't been the same, but rather the reverse.

Lo Duca hasn't been a regular in the two hole from jump this season, and I think as a result he consciously became a different hitter, sacrificing the situational hitting that he accomplished so well in '06, to more of an RBI stroke this season from the 5-6-7 holes, which he hasn't been able to do.

Now that he's breaking down physically, and his average has been dropping, you couldn't put him back in the two hole. And if you think that making a trade because of a lineup slot has a negligible effect, think back to 2005 when Miguel Cairo and his .240 average was in that two hole, and think how many rallies he killed and tell me that adding a .300 hitter who rarely strikes out like Castillo has a negligible effect on a lineup.

Sure, this was about defense too, and it was also about the low price. If a top prospect had to be involved for Luis, then Ruben Gotay would have looked better and better. But for nothing, Castillo looks great at second, and batting second...while Gotay makes the bench look better than it did when Tom Glavine pinch hit in the ninth inning on Saturday night.

Jaap said...

hey, it's professional sports.

Broken down and etc. the what is the what and if you're not hitting when it counts you can't blame the number two spot.

That'd be skirtish and unbaseball like.