UPDATE 2 - It is official. Luis Castillo is a Minnesota Twins player! Check out Stick and Ball Guy for more analysis of Castillo. I got an e-mail from someone very close to the trade that both Scott Tyler and Travis Bowyer will be given a shot out of spring training. I know I certainly hope the best for both of them and hope they get legitimate opportunities with the Marlins!
For a little different perspective on the deal, here is what a Marlins fan, Brodie Houck, wrote to me this afternoon:
As of right now, we are absolutely stocked with pitchers. I think the general consensus is, we would like to get some more hitting prospects.... but mgmt uses the idea that you can never have to much pitching. We are pretty much locked in at 3B (Cabrera), SS (Hanley Ramirez), RF (Jeremy Hermida) and 1B (Mike Jacobs) for a long time... and maybe LF (Josh Willingham) as well. We really SHOULD be looking for CF, 2B and catching prospects.. which is why I was asking about Span. What about Alex Romero? Also, do you have any viable 2B prospects? Catching prospects? Is there even a need for catching prospects for the Twins? lolAs for my thoughts on Luis, I think I hold the same views as most Marlin fans... if you were to ask me before all this fire sale went down, what player you wouldn’t want to be traded, a majority of Marlin fans would say Luis Castillo. If Jeff Conine is Mr. Marlin, Luis Castillo is King Marlin. He's been here forever.. turned down more money to stay here, etc. Just a great guy.He is on his own level when it comes to defense... seriously. There is nobody remotely close to his abilities when it comes to defense. When he hits left handed, there is not a more patient hitter in all of baseball. He is compleletly comfortable hitting with 2 strikes. Will take a TON of pitches. Probably one of the most patient hitters I've ever seen.. also had to deal with Pierre dancing all over the place. The text book lead off hitter. Doesn't strike out, takes tons of walks. Is a singles hitter LH. Won't get you extra base hits but just slaps the ball all over the field. Batting right handed is a totally different hitter. Actually has some nice power batting RH but pulls everything. Not as patient. GREAT bunter.I think the way Luis hits will be outstanding on the turf in Minnesota. The slap hitting, ground ball chopper would flourish, imo on the turf. Still a good baserunner. If he batted leadoff, he'd have a lot more steals. With Cabrera and Delgado behind him, didn't want to take the bat out of their hands. A little injury prone with his hip.. those were nagging injuries last year but seems pretty reliable. The way he runs looks like he's in pain all the time. But that’s just how he runs.. sometimes its hard to watch. lolAnyway, Luis would look great at leadoff or the #2 hitter for you guys. He's just a smart hitter and a great defender.. you'd love him up there.
As always, if you have any thoughts on this, please e-mail me.
UPDATE - Just heard on MLB radio that the newest rumor is Luis Castillo to the Twins for Scott Tyler and Travis Bowyer. A Florida Marlins representative would not confirm a deal that has not become official. Just the way he worded it sounded strange, but it may mean nothing. It would be a good deal for the Twins, a very good deal for the Marlins. Tyler would get a better chance to advance more quickly. Bowyer would almost certainly make the Marlins bullpen, maybe even getting a shot as their closer in 2006. The Twins can still trade JC Romero whose value could be high based on the market. If I find out more, I'll try to post throughout the day or the weekend.
Friday, December 2, 2005
Luis Castillo to the Twins?
Bert Belongs - In the Hall of Fame!
NFL "EXPERT" Picks
Good Friday Morning everyone! We've made it to the end of another week! So far this week, we have had another Nine Innings with me. A wonderful interview with Chris Brown, another Twins minor league prospect. The winner of the first of four GuardDog Watch winners with a Why Baseball article by Marvin Gustafson. Yesterday was Roger's Review of the Twins minor league third baseman. I also wrote my thoughts on Paul Konerko staying with the White Sox. I think it was a very good week. Next week should be a lot of fun. We'll have another Why Baseball article, Roger will look at more Twins minor leaguers, and I hope to have another Q&A. But it is the Winter Meetings next week, so there should be plenty of baseball trades and signings and rumors to discuss!!
Finally, this is the final day to enter the GuardDog Why Baseball Contest. For Details, click here. Contest ends at 5:00 today!
LUIS CASTILLO TO THE TWINS?
According to Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com, the Twins and Marlins are in "serious discussions" regarding the possibility of the Twins acquiring 2B Luis Castillo for either Juan Rincon or JC Romero. Now, there are dozens of rumors out there at this time of the year. Some of the big name free agents are signing and more will sign over the weekend. The Winter Meetings are next week in Dallas and more will happen then. But so far, Ken Rosenthal has been very up on these things. He has been the insider online who has scooped most of the signings and trades so far. (Just to be clear, this is a rumored deal. It is not complete, nor do we know that it is imminent.)
Especially if the deal is for Romero, I think that this would be a great deal for the Twins. First, here are some thoughts I have on JC Romero:
He is immensely talented and has a great arm.
He has not been good for the past three seasons at all.
He could still be a very good left-handed reliever.
It would not happen with the Twins because he is a head case. He needs a change of scenery.
It is also important to remember what the going rate of quality middle relief pitchers is this offseason. Bobby Howry and Scott Eyre both signed three year, $12 million+ deals with the Chicago Cubs. It was rumored that Kyle Farnsworth was going to sign a three year, $17 million to go to the Yankees (Although new rumors are saying that the Rangers are offering a fourth year, so the negotiations will continue). And late last night, the Phillies signed Tom Gordon to a three year deal with about $18 million. In other words, even as bad as Romero has been, his $2.2 million salary in 2006 is not out of line with middle relievers. In other words, if the Marlins are still looking to drop even more salary, they could still command a couple of decent prospects for Romero now.
Likewise, Juan Rincon who has been one of the best relievers in baseball the past two seasons, will make just $900,000 in 2006. He also still has two more years of arbitration. That is one reason that don't think that he should be traded. Someone that dominant and that cheap could bring a huge package of players and prospects. In other words, I think that the Twins could get more than Luis Castillo for him.
So, what do we know about Luis Castillo:
He has spent the past ten seasons with the Florida Marlins (partial seasons the first three)
He just turned 30.
He is a switch hitter.
He has hit .300 or better in five of his seven full seasons (including .334 in 2000, .301 in 2005).
His On-Base % has been over .360 six of the seven seasons (including .418 in 2000).
His slugging percentage has never been over .400, so don't expect any power from him.
In the last three, he has walked 203 times and struck out just 160 times (including a 65:32 ratio in 2005!).
He used to steal bases, but had just 10 last year. However, I expect that the emergence of Miguel Cabrera and the addition of Carlos Delgado last year attributed to that number.
A player like Castillo can not be judged by OPS. Why? Because the "S" is non-existent and not at all a part of his game. His career .293 batting average is .029 points above league average. His .370 career on base percentage is .034 above league average. However his .356 SLG% is .068 below league average, so it would be incredible for him to even post an OPS+ of 100 (which he has done three times).
Defensively, his fielding percentage and Range Factors are well above league average. He has been awarded the last three NL Gold Gloves for 2B.
He has played in three of the last four All-Star games including 2005.
For his career, he has averaged just over 4 pitches per plate appearance. That is another thing that the Twins need. Outside of Joe Mauer and Lew Ford, there were not many professional at bats. Castillo takes pitches and is not afraid to hit with two strikes (making his low K totals more impressive).
The Twins lefty-heavy lineup has struggled with left-handed pitching. Last year, Castillo his .423 against lefties with a OBP of .467. Despite hitting just .259 against righties, his OBP was still .368.
If you're really digging, he hit .500 on turf last year... of course, he was just 5-10!
We all know that Shannon Stewart will remain the Twins leadoff hitter with Gardy there, but Castillo is a GREAT #2 hitter. Last year, about 80% of his at bats were from the 2-hole. His approach at the plate was great as Juan Pierre was so frequently on-base. In that spot, he got on base about 39% of the time. The Twins kept throwing guys like Juan Castro and Nick Punto in the second spot last year. This is a huge improvement at the top of the Twins order.
I am sure that I could add more positives about Castillo, and there really are not many negatives. Sure, he doesn't hit for power, so it is not a direct attempt by the Twins to match the White Sox deals for Paul Konerko and Jim Thome, but he doesn't pretend to either. My lone concern is that he played in just 122 games last year. There were three occasions in which he missed at least a dozen games in a row. Hopefully he is not an injury risk.
The Trade- Well, again, assuming that the deal would be Luis Castillo ($5 million in 2006, vesting option at $5.25 million in 2007) for JC Romero ($2.2 million) and a mid-level prospect, I like the trade. I like that Castillo gives the team a veteran, professional hitter. He should help Shannon Stewart get back to his old ways. That combination should present RBI opportunities for Joe Mauer and the rest of the middle of the lineup. His defense will be a great improvement. The Twins will absorb an extra $2.8 million in 2006 salary. It is possible that the Twins can do this without increasing payroll, or maybe it is a deal for which Mr. Pohlad would OK extra payroll.
What else though? Well, Terry Ryan has insisted that Michael Cuddyer will not be the Twins 3B in 2006. One of his options was 2B, while another option is RF. Assuming this deal goes through, the 2B position is now covered by Castillo. However, the 3B position is still up in the air, so Mr. Ryan has another deal to make. It could be another trade. It could be a free agent signing, but we have to know that something will still be happening.
What about Cuddyer? I have a completely new opinion on what should be done with Michael Cuddyer. I think that the Twins should just trade him. After five years of completely jerking him around and blaming him for all of their problems, he too needs a change of scenery. He has done everything the team has asked of him throughout his big league career. He has remained positive, at least outwardly. And yet the Twins have never given him a real chance at a job for a full year, and that's not right. He is no longer young. He needs to be given a chance. I bet that there are still teams that would be more than willing to give up a mid-level prospect for Michael Cuddyer. I want to see him go to a situation where he can get a chance to succeed. Ideally, I want him to prove the Twins completely wrong. I want him to go on and have the type of year that I fully believe he is capable of. I want him to put up power numbers and hit for some average while walking a lot. I want him to be an All-Star. I guess on a selfish level, I want to be proven right! At the same time, I understand that I could be proven wrong. Maybe he isn't what I think he can be. I just don't want him to retire without ever getting a real shot. So, please, trade Michael Cuddyer!
Again, I must say that as of this point, this trade is only a rumor. It is a rumor that was reported by a quality, reputable source who has plenty of quality, reputable sources. We know that the Marlins are selling off players, and the Twins need a 2B with a professional approach and on-base skills at the plate. We know that the Twins would like to deal pitching, especially JC Romero. Romero could be dealt again by Florida if they want to get more prospects for him. It is a deal that makes a lot of sense to the plans of both teams. I think it is a great deal for the Twins if it happens.
I will try to update the site if it becomes official... or becomes completely wrong. But again, that's what this time of the year is for, right? Speculation, rumors and hopes!
Do you have any thoughts on this deal, maybe where the team should go at 3B, and my thoughts on Michael Cuddyer? E-mail me.
(UPDATE - After writing the above, I went to the Star Tribune site to see what they said. Lavelle E. Neal III has an article on the Twins interest in Castillo, along with three other teams. He mentions the names of Boof Bonser, JD Durbin and Travis Bowyer, not either of the relievers. The same article claims that the Twins are now interested in former White Sox DH Frank Thomas. Just a week ago, I heard Terry Ryan flat-out say that Thomas was "Not a Fit at All." So, was that just posturing? Neal also said that the team remains interested in Hank Blalock (but won't deal Liriano or Baker to get him - which is smart), Mike Piazza and Nomar Garciaparra. Now again, the latter two, Ryan had previously claimed there were four or five other players at each position that made more sense for the Twins. Are the Twins interested, or are they just throwing out bigger names to the media to calm the Twins fans down a little after the Konerko signing and Thome trade by the White Sox?
Last week, the Baseball Writers of America unveiled their list of the former Major League players who are on the ballot for the Hall of Fame. Again, Bert Blyleven is on the list. In previous years, he has come up with about half as many votes as he would have needed to be enshrined. Last week, the Twins announced that they were hiring a local advertising firm to help Blyleven's name get out to voters. Yesterday, I got an e-mailed "press release" from the company, North Woods Advertising, about the project specifically the web site, Bert Belongs, that was launched yesterday. Here is the release:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NOW PITCHING: BERT BLYLEVEN FOR MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL’S
HALL OF FAME
Minneapolis, MN (December 1, 2005) – Twenty-six hitters in the history of Major League Baseball have over 3,000 hits. Every single one of them who is eligible is in baseball’s Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.
Only five pitchers in major league history have struck out over 3,700 hitters. Nolan Ryan and Steve Carlton are in the Hall of Fame. Roger Clemens and Randy Johnson will join them once they retire. Only former Minnesota Twins pitcher Bert Blyleven is absent from this group. And that’s made some baseball fans mad enough to do something about it.
As ballots go out this week to the 500-some baseball writers who vote annually on who’s to be allowed in and who’s to be kept out of America’s most revered shrine to the game, the group Bert Belongs is taking Bert Blyleven’s case directly to the people who care the most: the fans.
Today the website BertBelongs.com goes live. The website presents information and comparative stats in a fun way to show that Bert Blyleven is long overdue for entry into baseball's Hall of Fame. Visitors have the opportunity to compare Bert’s numbers alongside current Hall of Fame pitchers and future Hall of Fame prospects on the “Pitchers Duel” page. Kids can play their own version of the “Circle Me Bert” phenomenon, which Blyleven started as a TV commentator during broadcasts of Minnesota Twins games. The site allows fans to build their perfect pitcher by clicking on the attributes most important to them, and also contains a compendium of statistics and national articles arguing for Bert’s inclusion.Minneapolis-based North Woods Advertising is launching the website (www.BertBelongs.com) and developing a mail campaign aimed at baseball writers. Both efforts are being sponsored by Cambria, a Minnesota company that produces natural quartz surfaces for kitchens and baths. As an organization, Bert Belongs hopes fans will express their opinions in online discussion groups and make their views known to their local sports reporters and sportswriters.
“We’re just trying to get the facts out there and get the discussion going,” said longtime baseball fan and North Woods Advertising’s President, Bill Hillsman. “I read a couple of articles about whether Bert should be inducted, and the more you look into it, the more obvious it is that Bert belongs in the Hall of Fame. The facts speak for themselves: he had arguably the greatest curve ball in major league history. He has more strikeouts and more shutouts than a great pitcher like Bob Gibson, and more complete games than a horse like Tom Seaver. And Bert was a money pitcher— just take a look at his postseason stats.
Marty Davis, CEO of Cambria corporation and a lifelong baseball fan, said “Bert Blyleven displayed the character, competitiveness and talent embodied among members of the Hall of Fame. There’s just no doubt that his career accomplishments and off-the-field contributions merit his induction into the Hall of Fame.”
The website was produced and designed by North Woods Advertising in collaboration with Brave New Media. Paul Schupanitz and Craig Baillie did design and art direction, and Craig McNamara and Bill Hillsman did the content development. The Minnesota Twins provided historical and statistical assistance.
For more information-- and to see for yourself why Bert Blyleven belongs in baseball’s Hall of Fame-- go to www.BertBelongs.com.
As you can imagine, I remain fully supportive of Blyleven's candidacy for the Hall of Fame. His numbers match up with most of the Hall of Famers, better than some. I do not understand why he has not been included. So, if you agree that Blyleven should be in the Hall of Fame, please forward the website and the press release to your local team's beat writers and any other baseball fans you know. Let's all play a little part in helping Bert get where Bert Belongs! The site also includes links to Twins websites and plenty of articles showing why Bert should be in the Hall of Fame.
Any thoughts? If you'd like, please e-mail this site and this release to your local team's beat writers and journalists with a little note. I am curious as to which baseball writers vote for him and which don't, and just as importantly, why or why not? Thanks! Any thoughts? E-mail me.
Many want to tell us that because Steve Mariucci was fired by the Lions that they will suddenly be a dangerous team to play. I don't buy that. Maybe that's a motivation for the team? But they should have no problem whatsoever with the Lions who will still start Jeff Garcia at QB over Joey Harrington. Both QBs are horrible. Their defense is bad. Basically, if the Vikings don't win, and don't win by a significant margin, they should be disappointed.
Prediction - Vikings 34, Lions 17
NFL "EXPERT" PICKS
I'm not sure why, but I don't have all of the football picks year for Week 13. Hopefully they will all be here by this afternoon, and for sure before Game Time. Things are starting to get close at the top of the standings, so things should really get interesting now.
(For more on our panel or our picks, check out the NFL "Expert" Picks page here.)
Seth Stohs Stick & Ball Guy Ben Jacobs Aaron Gleeman Grant Balfour Kevin Slowey SethSpeaks.net Stick & Ball Guy Hardball Times Aaron's BB Blog Minnesota Twins Pitcher Twins Pitching Prospect Atlanta @ Carolina Falcons Panthers Panthers Falcons Panthers Falcons Cincinnati @ Pittsburgh Bengals Bengals Bengals Bengals Steelers Steelers by 12 Green Bay @ Chicago Bears Bears Bears Bears Bears Bears Jacksonville @ Cleveland Jaguars Jaguars Jaguars Jaguars Jaguars Jaguars Tampa Bay @ New Orleans Buccs Buccs Buccs Buccs Buccs Saints Arizona @ San Francisco Cardinals Cardinals 49ers Cardinals Cardinals Cardinals Denver @ Kansas City Chiefs Broncos Broncos Broncos Broncos Broncos Oakland @ San Diego Chargers Chargers Chargers Chargers Chargers Chargers Buffalo @ Miami Dolphins Dolphins Dolphins Dolphins Dolphins Dolphins Dallas @ NY Giants Giants Giants Giants Giants Giants Giants Houston @ Baltimore Ravens Ravens Ravens Texans Ravens Texans Minnesota @ Detroit Vikings Vikings Vikings Vikings Vikings Vikings Tennessee @ Indianapolis Colts Colts Colts Colts Colts Colts Washington @ St. Louis Rams Redskins Redskins Redskins Redskins Redskins NY Jets @ New England Patriots Patriots Patriots Patriots Patriots Jets Seattle @ Philadelphia Seahawks Seahawks Seahawks Seahawks Seahawks Seahawks
Will Young Trevor Born Brent Hanson Cory Hepola Mike Brasel Melissa Lien Will's Twins Weblog Twins Junkie BrentNet KTVH-TV Fantasy FB Guru SethSpeaks.net Atlanta @ Carolina Panthers Panthers Falcons Panthers Panthers Panthers Cincinnati @ Pittsburgh Bengals Bengals Steelers Steelers Bengals Steelers Green Bay @ Chicago Packers Bears Bears Bears Bears Bears Jacksonville @ Cleveland Browns Jaguars Jaguars Jaguars Browns Jaguars Tampa Bay @ New Orleans Buccs Buccs Buccs Buccs Buccs Buccs Arizona @ San Francisco Cardinals Cardinals Cardinals Cardinals 49ers 49ers Denver @ Kansas City Broncos Broncos Broncos Chiefs Chiefs Broncos Oakland @ San Diego Chargers Chargers Chargers Chargers Chargers Chargers Buffalo @ Miami Dolphins Dolphins Dolphins Dolphins Bills Dolphins Dallas @ NY Giants Giants Giants Cowboys Giants Giants Giants Houston @ Baltimore Ravens Ravens Ravens Ravens Ravens Ravens Minnesota @ Detroit Vikings Vikings Vikings Vikings Vikings Vikings Tennessee @ Indianapolis Colts Colts Colts Colts Colts Colts Washington @ St. Louis Rams Redskins Redskins Redskins Rams Rams NY Jets @ New England Patriots Patriots Patriots Patriots Patriots Patriots Seattle @ Philadelphia Seahawks Seahawks Seahawks Seahawks Seahawks Seahawks
Atlanta @ Carolina – Panthers 8-4
Cincinnati @ Pittsburgh – Bengals 7-5
Green Bay @ Chicago – Bears 11-1
Jacksonville @ Cleveland – Jaguars 10-2
Tampa Bay @ New Orleans – Buccs 11-1
Arizona @ San Francisco – Cardinals 9-3
Denver @ Kansas City – Broncos 9-3
Oakland @ San Diego – Chargers 12-0
Buffalo @ Miami – Dolphins 11-1
Dallas @ NY Giants – Giants 11-1
Houston @ Baltimore – Ravens 10-2
Minnesota @ Detroit – Vikings 12-0
Tennessee @ Indianapolis – Colts 12-0
Washington @ St. Louis – Redskins 8-4
NY Jets @ New England – Patriots 11-1
Seattle @ Philadelphia – Seahawks 12-0
And on that note, I will call it a day and a week. If the Twins make any moves over the weekend, I will be sure to let you know. If you have any questions or comments or ideas for future postings, please e-mail me.
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