By Justin Adkins:
The Phillies have apparently signed second baseman Luis Castillo to a minor league deal, per csnphilly’s Jim Salisbury.
And that sound you hear is the collective puke of Phillies fans everywhere (who are hopefully nowhere near any 11-year old girls).
The 35 year-old waste of space was released by the Mets last Friday, who despite their ongoing Madoff scam-fueled financial trouble decided to eat Castillo’s $6 million contract rather than keep him in the clubhouse this season.
With Chase Utley’s knee a ginormous question mark and the Phillies dealing with the scary reality of a Chase-less 2011, depth is needed. Unfortunately, they’ve decided that the washed up Castillo could be a potential option.
The good news is that Castillo only signed a minor league deal, which is non-guaranteed. Depending on how the competition, Castillo can be let go with no further financial commitment necessary. If Castillo makes the team, the Phillies will only be on the hook for the major league minimum of $414,000.
It would be hard to imagine any scenario that doesn’t involve Wilson Valdez starting the season at second, and it’s also hard to imagine that Castillo can bring any more to the table than guys like Josh Barfield, Michael Martinez, Pete Orr, or Delwyn Young, who have all played decent enough this spring.
Hell, Chase Utley taking the field with his little folding chair probably has better range at this point than the bumbling Castillo. Once a decent on-base guy with a competent glove, age and injury have robbed Castillo of anything resembling major league skill. Worse, he’s an obvious mental midget, a guy who plays with his head squarely placed where the sun don’t shine.
This was never more clear than the laugh-out-loud worthy play against the Yankees a few years back, when Castillo turned a routine pop-up by A-Rod into a clown show in short rightfield. And worse than that was the horrible lack of effort displayed after the fact, his lazy throw to second allowing Mark Texeira to score the winning run in the last inning of a game the Mets otherwise had locked up.
He’s basically the anti-Chase Utley.
That said, it’s really a no-risk move. In the unlikely event he demonstrates anything resembling his old talent level, Castillo still only makes the league minimum. And if he plays like most fans expect the rest of the spring, he can be cut loose, no strings attached. Who knows, maybe playing for a real franchise after playing for and with a collection of losers will re-invigorate Castillo’s career.
But I doubt it.
UPDATE: Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. has confirmed the signing.
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