The Mets have been searching to improve their lineup by adding a more natural second place hitter as well as addressing their needs at second base. Yesterday they accomplished both. After negotiations for other second basemen (Mark Loretta, Mark Grudzielanek, Tadahito Iguchi, etc.) the Mets had a chance to acquire the Twins Luis Castillo. They jumped on the opportunity by sending lower prospects Drew Butera and Dustin Martin.
Though I like Ruben Gotay, who had been the de facto starting second baseman recently, Castillo, with three gold gloves, is a significant defensive upgrade who should help cover for the lack of range at first base (Carlos Delgado) and right field (Shawn Green). And though he’s only batted .220 in the post season Castillo was on the world champion Marlin team of 2003. Don’t underestimate the inspiration a World Series ring can have in the clubhouse.
Does this trade mean the Mets won’t be dealing for bullpen help as today’s trade deadline draws near? I doubt it. The players dealt for Castillo were unlikely to be included in a trade for a relief pitcher. Omar Minaya has reportedly been significantly interested in Washington reliever Chad Cordero. The Mets have also been rumored to be interested in Eric Gagne and Octavio Dotel. Even if they don’t land any of these three players I think they will at least make a lower profile deal to bring in an arm that may or may not be helpful. It does nothing to stand pat and Minaya knows it. He must bring in someone even if it’s not an impact player if for no other reason then to send a message to his bullpen that mediocrity will not be tolerated and if they can’t get the job done then he will look for other people who can.