The Mets pulled the trigger this morning and released leadoff man-second baseman Luis Castillo as it has been widely speculated they would.
And, as I have said many times before, I would love to see Castillo make the drive south on Interstate 95 to Jupiter from New York's spring home in Port St. Lucie.
Castillo is available for the major league minimum, or less than half of what the Birds expected to pay Jim Edmonds before his achillies problems forced him to retire. The 35-year-old former Marlins infielder will make $6 million from the Mets in 2011.
He was hitting .286 this spring with a .355 on base percentage. Castillo is a .290 career hitter who in the past has been a stolen base machine. He only played in 86 games last year thanks to his troubles getting along in Gotham. But in 2009 Castillo hit .302 with a .387 on base percentage and 20 stolen bases.
Even if he is no longer the 50 stolen base guy he once was, if Castillo and Ryan Theriot could steal 18 or 20 bags each, it would give the St. Louis offense a dynamic it hasn't had in years.
While he's not the best second baseman who ever lived, Castillo is certainly an improvement over Skip Schumaker with the glove. I would like to see Schumaker become the fourth outfielder, potentially freeing up the Birds to deal Jon Jay -- if they so desire -- to add some pitching help. Schumaker would make a nice double switch candidate in the late innings, batting for the pitcher and taking over in right field as a defensive upgrade over Lance Berkman. While he's no wizard with his infielders glove, Schumaker is a guy who could play every day in center if Colby Rasmus is out for an extended period of time with an injury.
2B Castillo (S)
CF Rasmus (L)
1B Pujols (R)
LF Holliday (R)
RF Berkman (S)
3B Freese (R)
C Molina (R)
SS Theriot (R)
At the price of the major league minimum, why not take a chance that Castillo could be a Fernando Vina type spark plug at second base. If he doesn't help the club, cut him.