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And Now, Victory!


A lot of Mets fans seem to be thrilled that the Mets are going to replace Luis Castillo with a second baseman who’s even worse that Luis Castillo.    As Neyer says, it doesn’t really matter, but since I understand the concept of sunk costs I don’t understand either the fixation on Castillo or the general belief that fans seem to have that getting rid of people solves problems whether or not there’s a viable alternative.   The Mets were a bad team yesterday and they’re a slightly worse one today.   Goody.

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  • Joe

    Fans like scapegoats and Castillo was a bad contract that was hurt a lot and doesn’t help his cause sometimes. The replacement might actually have a future on the team and especially given the likely year ahead is surely at least “viable” for the job. If “worse,” not by much, and the bad vibe of the past would be gone, so better in that respect. Perez is the guy I want long gone a lot more, but this isn’t really surprising.

  • Socraticsilence

    Since there isn’t a tourney thread up I feel compelled to note that I’ve just discovered a new way for the country to get out of debt– let Obama bet the first round- he’s 14-2 so far this year and apparently was much the same in 2009 and 2010.

  • John F

    In Castillo’s absence, the position will be filled by one or more personages from the following group: Daniel Murphy, Brad Emaus, Justin Turner, and Luis Hernandez, with the unheralded Hernandez supposedly in the lead because he’s got the best glove.

    Only Hernandez out of that group figures to be worse than Castillo…
    and I refuse to believe that Hernandez is going to win the job.
    Castillo USED to be a good player, but as a Met his range has evaporated and aside from a dead cat bounce in 2009 his bat has evaporated as well..
    He’s also 35 now, and sunk cost or not there is absolutely no reason for the Mets to play him in 2011…
    Of course Luis Hernandez is the oldest of the 4 “candidates”- is not now and almost certainly never will be a starting caliber MLB player- so if the plan is to cut Castillo and play Hernandez that is an actually more useless plan than playing Castillo would have been

    • Scott Lemieux

      I disagree. Murphy, in particular, isn’t much better offensively and can’t play second base at all. None of these guys projects as even an acceptable 2B.

      • Joe

        For one season, you are in a minority in thinking they couldn’t manage with even one of those guys. None of them might have any future, but for a season (or even less if they trade someone mid-season and get someone who is at least a journeyman as part of the deal), at least one is “acceptable.” Unless you are defining that some special way.

        • Scott Lemieux

          Well, sure, they’re “acceptable” in the sense that someone has to play second, so you have to accept below-replacement level performance. It’s not acceptable if you actually care about winning games.

          • Joe

            I’m sure the season will be ruined now. Come on.

      • John F

        You obviously didn’t watch Castillo play last year or the 2 years before that, he’s been below average himself defensively and isn’t going to get any better. Castillo’s offensive projections for 2011 are uniformly ugly – his ZiPS projection is comfortably below Murphy’s, Turner’s and Emaus’…

        • Scott Lemieux

          Uh, I’m perfectly well aware that Castillo’s range is in serious decline. He’s still a better defensive option than a guy with little experience at second who was an unspeakably atrocious corner outfielder. The point isn’t that Castillo is good — at this point, he isn’t — but that the alternatives could well be even worse.

          • John F

            I saw Murphy play a few games in the minors at 3B (3B being his “natural” position) and he handled that well- and he was good at 1b in the majors.

            Which doesn’t mean I think he’d be a good 2B- but I do not think it is impossible that he just might be acceptable at 2b in a Neil Walker kind of way.

            • Scott Lemieux

              If you can name 2 successful 3B-to-2B transitions that’s 2 more than me.

              I’ve said this before, but the torch that many Mets fans carry for Murphy is very strange. His defense is OK at first base and terrible everywhere else, and as a hitter he’s Castillo without the walks and a little more power.

              • calling all toasters

                If you can name 2 successful 3B-to-2B transitions that’s 2 more than me.

                Um, I came up with one on the Mets in about 5 seconds of thought..

              • Scott Lemieux

                Except that in the minors Alfonzo played 377 games at SS, 153 games at 2B and only 99 games at 3B, so your example proves my point, not yours. Sandberg, similarly, is an example of my point; he was almost exclusively a SS in the minors. Basically, rightward shifts on the defensive spectrum work an extremely small percentage of the time.

              • Chone Figgins? Oh wait.

              • mpowell

                Obviously people are missing the point here, which is that the Mets are going to be paying Castillo one way or another. Even if he wasn’t the starter, you need to fill a 25 man roster and whoever is playing 2B for you is unlikely to play 162 games.

                Let me also comment on the non-2B playing 2B thing. You don’t have to have played much baseball to understand that 2B and SS are much more difficult to play than any other defensive position. C is also difficult, but in a different way. Especially for a guy who is not very nimble, the potential for sucking at 2B is astronomically high. So don’t suppose that because Castillo is well below average that there don’t exist significantly worse options. Don’t take this as an opinion on Murphy, but Castillo generated a lot of outs that another MLB caliber player could miss out on. This is almost different from hitting in that it is difficult to do much worse than a .230 hitter among the pool of players typically available at the MLB level.

              • prufrock

                Aki Iwamura, 2008 Rays.

              • Well, the thing is, Castillo is a pretty worthless player unless he’s going to to play 2B on a regular basis. He can’t field any other position and his anemic bat isn’t worth much off the bench, so if he’s not your everyday second baseman, he’s pretty much a waste of a roster spot.

                There’s an argument to be made that Castillo is still the best combined offense and defense package at second for the Mets. I’d disagree with it, since PECOTA projects him as a -0.9 WARP, but it’s at least arguable.

                But, so what? The Mets aren’t contending this year and he’s not a part of their future, so why retard your evaluation of possible second base options down the road for marginally better performance from that position this year.

                And I think you really undervalue Murphy who brings the potential of a more offense from that position than the Mets have seen in a good, long time.

              • Scott Lemieux

                And I think you really undervalue Murphy who brings the potential of a more offense from that position than the Mets have seen in a good, long time.

                Yeah, and if the Mets had signed Adam Dunn, he’s be a Hall-of-Fame caliber hitter for a second baseman! Since there’s no evidence whatsoever that he can actually play the position, it’s completely beside the point.

  • c u n d gulag

    Mets fans had it in for Castillo even before he dropped that pop-up against the Yankees. Talk radio will be a happy place today.
    Now, if they can get rid of Ollie Perez, the fans will get as close to a winning the World Series feeling that they’ll have in a long time.

    And it’s too bad about Murphy, who seems like a decent kid. But he ain’t a 2nd baseman. Maybe if he hit like Cano, you could put up with his defense, but he isn’t a pimple on Cano’s butt.
    And his bat, though good, isn’t good enough to put up with his glove at most other positions. He was an outrage against the sport in the outfield. He was sooooooooo bad, you actually felt really, really sorry for him. You actully watched games and prayed he didn’t get killed when a batter skyed one.
    Then, he seemed ok at 1st, but sadly for him, got hurt, and the Mets called up Davis is who is a much, much better bat and glove, and will be for at least a decade.

    The Mets seem to come up with a lot of players like Murph over the last 20+ years. OK at bat, but not great, with little real pop, bad with a glove, and little speed.

  • steven c.

    Successful 3b to 2b conversion #1: ryne sandberg.

    One down, one to go…

    • calling all toasters


  • The only thing Luis Castillo knows how to do anymore is take a walk. He can’t really hit or run any more, and although his fielding is not as bad as that one Buckner-esque error would indicate, he’s not very mobile out there either.

    I never thought he was a malignancy on the level of Ollie Perez (who somehow manages to keep saving his own bacon), and I actually feel kind of bad for him personally, because he seems to be a good guy and a hard worker. But some things you just can’t live down. Just ask poor Billy Bucks.

    • Scott Lemieux

      The only thing Luis Castillo knows how to do anymore is take a walk.

      This is true. But what’s sad is that with the possible exception of Eamus, that’s one more quality major league skill than the rest of the lot put together.

      • Murphy brings a league average bat to the table. That’s a pretty quality, major league skill.

  • LosGatosCA

    I think the Mets missed their best chance to have happy fans when they replaced Shea Stadium.

    They should have moved the fences in 10-20 feet and given the fans heroes like Sandberg who would hit a ton at home, nothing on the road, lose every year, say for the next 100, and they could all overlook that even though their guys scored 5 a game at home, the visitors score 6. It’s a triumph of branding over reality that Wrigley Field is called the Friendly Confines. Proof that fans can be content with losing as long as their players have inflated offensive stats and make the HoF as allowances are made for their ‘hard luck’ losing.

  • LosGatosCA

    If Bobby Bonilla had been given a shot at second, I’m 1000 per cent sure he would have been the most outstanding example of a switch from third to second. Alas, we can only be secure in that knowledge in hindsight, since the Mets never attempted that move.

    But wait, the Mets still have him on the payroll for over a million a year I believe. He might still be The Answer for the Mets. Get him down to spring training and whip him into shape. Geez, do we have to do all thinking for their club management?

  • SEK

    Murphy at second base would constitute a return to the glory days of Mets baseball — yes, I mean 1986. That’s no misprint, there, Davey liked to sport a left-side-of-the-infield consisting of Kevin Mitchell and Howard Johnson. Salad days are here again, my friends!

  • You could easily argue, though, that whoever it is, is just keeping it warm for Reese Havens, who’d probably be the frontrunner for the job if he hadn’t gotten hurt last year. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Havens tore up AAA and got a mid-season callup. Or maybe even sooner than that, if Murphy and/or Emaus (Turner will probably be sent down because he has options) can’t cut it as an everyday player.

    Murph is a hard-luck case. Last year, the poor guy got named the starting 1B in the spring, got hurt, got replaced by Mike Freaking Jacobs so they didn’t have to start Ikey Dikey’s option clock right away, then Jacobs laid an egg and two weeks later, Ikey moved in to stay for the next 15 years. So once Danny was better, they asked him to learn a whole new position in the minors, which he did without complaint, then got taken out for the season on a dirty-ass, sub-Pete Rose slide.

    And during that hideous team-wide power outage in ’09, he did lead the team in homers; granted, it was only 12, but he outhomered Wright. Castillo has ONE homer in the last TWO years, and he’s 35. He’s not going to improve.

    • Well, he’s been playing 2B for a while now and, while the jury is still out, his glove is probably not going to let him stick there full time. He also doesn’t have nearly enough bat to be a starting first baseman and probably not quite enough for a third baseman either.

      Still, a utility first/second/third baseman with a decent bat is a valuable thing to have and he could have a decent career in that role for some time to come.

      • Scott Lemieux

        As a 25th man, I agree that Murphy has value. As a starter anywhere, not so much.

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