Today, the New York Mets did what teams like the Chicago Cubs generally lack the balls to do: they released a guy, despite his multimillion dollar contract, because he simply wasn’t worth a roster spot. The guy in question was second baseman Luis Castillo, who is owed $6 million in the final year of his contract. Castillo, whom you may recall was the subject of frequent Cubs rumors as recently as last season, is now free to sign with any team.

Sigh. You know where this is going, don’t you?

According to Enrique Rojas, a source says that the Cubs, among other teams, are looking at signing Castillo. Although he would cost very little – the ML minimum of $414,000 – the question is whether he’s worth a roster spot at all.

Yes, Blake DeWitt has been very disappointing both offensively and defensively this Spring. Yes, Jeff Baker is probably not a full-time starter on a good team. And yes, Darwin Barney is probably not going to have the bat of a ML starter. But is Castillo any better?

Castillo, who turns 36 this year, is coming off the worst season of his career, where he put up a hilarious .235/.337/.267 line in a part-time role. His OPS+ was just 68, and, in fact, has been below 100 (average) every year since 2005. Age and bum legs have sapped him of his formerly excellent defensive ability, too. So, why exactly would the Cubs consider giving him a roster spot over Barney, Baker or DeWitt?

  • TWC

    So I read this today and immediately (OK, well, after I calculated the Luis Castillo:Koyie Hill ratio) thought, “When will the Cubs sign him?”

    I always thought that Chicago Cubs Charities was one of those feel-good things that the organization did, not the purpose of the roster.

    • Ace

      Ha. Nice.

  • Hogan

    They better not…I swear to God…they better not

  • Dan0mite

    If they pay him the league minimum and he comes aboard why would it be bad? I’m actually asking because I know nothing about him.

    • Ace

      Because he will be less effective, IMO, than any of DeWitt, Baker and Barney, each of whom the Cubs already have to pay. I’d rather those three were on the roster.

  • KB

    Ace’s question: So, why exactly would the Cubs consider giving him a roster spot over Barney, Baker or DeWitt?

    Obvious answer: Because the team is run by people who don’t understand aging curves or OPS+, and vastly overrate “veteran leadership.”

    Ain’t it grand bein’ a Cubs fan?

  • jeff

    I’m not saying I want this guy on the Cubs by any means, but I do think he has been given a lot of grief and a lot of that is probably because of how bad the Mets are. His numbers were bad last year, not Koyie Hill bad, but bad enough. He only played in 80 some games and had 250 at bats though. If he is healthy, and plays full time, he produces decent, some would say passable numbers. I don’t see much difference in the numbers he’s going to put up and what DeWitt/Barney are going to do in reserve roles this year, so there isn’t really a point in signing him.

    • Ace

      He’s also reportedly not much of a positive veteran presence in the clubhouse – he’s been a complainer all Winter this year.

      • PFK

        Does the name Milton Bradley ring a bell? Castillo is Bradleyesque

  • Steve

    Well, I wouldn’t say he’s anything near Bradley. With that said, I want no part of him at 2nd base…low cost, or not.
    I, to disagree with another poster, think that a Barney/Dewitt platoon will produce much better numbers (with Baker playing on occasion) than Castillo would at 2nd base.
    Ultimately, I favore Barney getting a full-time shot. Although, I’m sure Cubs management will give the majority of playing time to Dewitt, as he is another lefty bat. I also believe that this line of thinking will backfire, and I will get my wish by the middle of May.

  • Hogan

    Does anyone know how many at bats Baker has against righties this spring? It seems like they have been using him in that role a little more. I only aks because he is hitting over .400 and nobody seems to even discuss the possibility of him as the majority starter. A few years ago the Rockies were pretty high on this guy.

  • ed

    Start Baker, trade Dewitt, give Barney a chance as the utility guy and let Scott Moore start the season on the roster for the love of pete!