Monday Evening, July 30, 2007
Castillo Trade... and more
Hey ya'll! Well, I am sure you are all now well aware that the Twins traded Luis Castillo to the New York Mets for two minor leaguers. The Twins acquired AA Catcher Drew Butera, the son of former Twins catcher, Sal Butera, and OF Dustin Martin. I think it is fair to say that neither is considered a top prospect, but then again, that is the market for Luis Castillo, a slap-hitting leadoff type who will become a free agent at season's end.
Listen, I like Luis Castillo. I think that the Twins did very well less than two years ago when they acquired him from the Florida Marlins for pitchers Scott Tyler and Travis Bowyer. Castillo has been a solid leadoff hitter. He didn't make many errors. In fact, he set the record for most consecutive games at 2B without an error. Although he was very inconsistent this season for the Twins, he was their leader in batting average, hitting .304. He was a solid on-base guy with zero power. I think we can all agree that his range at 2B was quite limited (although you could argue the importance of that on the Dome's turf).
For Luis Castillo, this is actually a good deal. He goes to a first base team with plenty of guys with playoff experience including former Marlins teammate Carlos Delgado. He should fit nicely into the Mets lineup after Jose Reyes and before the likes of Carlos Beltran, Delgado and David Wright. He should be given another shot at a ring.
So, what did the Twins get? Well, probably not much, to be honest.
24 year old Drew Butera was the Mets 5th round pick in 2005 out of the University of Central Florida. In 52 games with the Mets FSL team in St. Lucie, he hit .258/.348/.418 with 14 doubles and five homers. In 30 games at AA Binghamton, he has hit just .188/.208/.231. Not good. Two walks and 22 strikeouts. My assumption based on this is that he must be really good with the glove, at calling games and being a good leader. Another thing to remember is that the Twins are in need of filling some catcher spots in the minors. Caleb Moore went from Ft. Myers to Elizabethton to become a relief pitcher. Javi Sanchez retired a month ago from Ft. Myers to become a coach at LSU. I don't know if this is the reality or not, I hope not, but Butera seems like an organizational filler at a weak position.
Terry Ryan says that Dustin Martin, a 23 year old outfielder could potentially show some power. He was the Mets 26th round pick in 2006 out of Sam Houston St. Thus far in the Florida State League, in 93 games, he has hit .287/.358/.421 with 22 doubles, six triples and five homers. Actually, I like those numbers in the FSL. I'd like them better if he were 20 or 21, but 23 isn't old. He is another left handed bat. Maybe his ceiling is Alex Romero-like, which would not be bad.
The point is, I truly believe that Alexi Casilla can come up to the Twins and the production from 2B will not fall off dramatically, IF he is given the opportunity to play nearly every day. Luis Castillo's OPS this year with the Twins was .710. I see no reason why Casilla (Again, given daily playing time) can have an OPS of over .680. My fear, however, is that Nick Punto will be the primary 2B for the Twins. If that is the case, the production at 2B will drop.
I agree with Terry Ryan when he says that this is not giving up the season. This is a smart move made with a replacement available. Castillo is a guy who the Twins would not (and should not) have brought back. Not when you could get nearly the same production for nearly the league minimum. The Mets provide a great opportunity for Castillo.
Now, I don't expect this to be the Twins final move. I think that Juan Rincon will be dealt for a package of 'whatever they can get.' And I wouldn't be surprised to see Terry Ryan bring in a bat that can help the Twins down the stretch, but into 2008 and beyond.
OTHER THOUGHTS - A couple of other trade notes - I missed it over the weekend that the Tampa Bay Devil Rays acquired Grant Balfour from the Brewers. Did you see that the Braves got Mark Teixeira from the Texas Rangers (with lefty reliever Ron Mahay) in exchange for Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Elvis Andrus and another prospect. GREAT trade for the Rangers. TEX is just fine and will likely help out the Braves in 2007 and 2008. He is a Scott Boras agent, so who knows what will happen after that. "Salty" has a chance to become a great, great hitter in Texas. He could catch some, he can play 1B, and of course in the AL he can DH. Andrus is a very young SS who has played in leagues with much older players his whole career. Good deal for both teams. The Braves also have acquired Octavio Dotel from the Royals for Kyle Davies. Finally, former Twins pitcher Kyle Lohse was dealt from the Reds for a minor league pitcher. That tells you the state of pitching for the Phillies right now, I guess. Any more deals? Report them here!
That is it for now. I'll be back later with Twins Thoughts and the Minor League recap.|
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