Cheap Seats

Mets may release Castillo

Word out of New York is that the Mets are likely to release second baseman Luis Castillo before the start of spring training to finally put an end to a free agent deal that never really fit.

I mention this because I still think the Cardinals could use an upgrade at second base. And if they think that, too, we know they're not willing to spend a significant amount of money to get the job done.

But if the Birds could get their mitts on Castillo in a financially neutral deal, I think it would be well worth doing.

Castillo, 35, was awful last season with a .235 average in 299 at bats. But he's a career .290 hitter who topped the .300 mark seven times in his career, most recently in 2009. How many players have escaped New York, Chicago or Los Angeles to find a career renaissance with St. Louis?

The Cardinals could go the route of trying to wait for Castillo to clear waivers to try to sign him as a free agent. But that's an iffy proposition. I'd like to see the Cardinals trade a marginal prospect to the Mets for the second sacker in return for them picking up his 2011 paycheck. Unless Castillo is claimed on waivers by a team willing to pay his $6 million 2011 salary, the Mets are going to end up paying him anyway. So at least the Redbirds' offer would give them SOMETHING in return.

If the Cardinals don't have any real plans for Jon Jay, he might be a possible match. The Mets could use an outfielder who could play all three positions in the field. And, while I personally like Jay, if the Birds see him as merely a fourth or fifth outfielder he wouldn't be that much of a loss. Skip Schumaker could slide back into the outfield picture -- where he fits best. And, while Castillo isn't going to make anyone forget about Red Schoendienst, he's at least a natural second baseman who could play defense as well as a Tony Womack or Fernando Vina type.