Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
July 30, 2007
BASEBALL: Good News, Bad News
Terrible news on one front, as the Braves appear close to nailing down a deal for Mark Teixeira. The deal isn't coming cheaply, as they are apparently parting with their top 3 prospects, but few prospects turn into a guy as good as Tex, who is 27, a good glove and a career .264/.489/.358 hitter even away from Texas, plus the top guy in the deal is Jarrod Saltalamaccialalaimachalachaia, who was basically expendable with the presence of Brian McCann.
The good news (I think)? The Mets got Luis Castillo, cheap:
Minnesota gets catcher Drew Butera and outfielder Dustin Martin....Butera is batting a combined .231 with six homers and 26 RBIs this year at Double-A Binghamton of the Eastern League and Class A St. Lucie of the Florida State League.
Butera seems to be basically a light-hitting catcher like his dad Sal...Castillo's defense isn't what it was, nor his base stealing, and he never had any power, but he can still hit .300 and get on base a decent amount; he's batting .304/.352/.356 this year, .302/.368/.371 over the past six seasons. Acquiring Castillo is clearly a no-confidence vote in Ruben Gotay, at least in the short run, and he's likely an upgrade on Gotay's shaky defense and anybody else's offense.
For what it's worth, Castillo's Zone Rating is near the low end in the AL (and way below Damion Easley), and his Range Factor is well below the league average, supporting the idea that he doesn't cover much ground any longer. It may be worth asking whether Easley would have been a better option, although Castillo's bat is a good deal more reliable at this stage. Castillo is also well-suited to hit second, allowing Lo Duca to bat lower when he returns. Castillo's contract is up at the end of the season, so there's no extra obligation here.