Craig already roasted Jeff Francoeur in epic fashion earlier this week, so I’m not going to try to top that one. Still, the sickness appears to be contagious in the Mets’ locker room.
While Luis Castillo hasn’t requested a trade, he told Dan Martin of the New York Post that he is not willing to accept a backup role in Queens.
“I can’t be here anymore. I know I’m
not going to be here next year.”
“They want to go with young guys, I guess. That’s what they tell me now. I’m not ready to be a backup.”
Limited to just 62 games this season due to a foot injury, Castillo is batting .241/.335/.281 with zero homers and 15 RBI in 199 at-bats. Fed up with his poor production and lack of range, the Mets recently benched their high-priced second baseman in favor of Ruben Tejada. The 20-year-old is batting just .183 in 120 at-bats this season and is hitless in his last 23 at-bats dating back to July 16.
There’s an argument to be made that Castillo is actually the better player than Tejada right now, but that isn’t saying a whole lot, really. Since signing a four-year, $24 million contract after the 2007 season, Castillo is batting .273/.367/.320 with a 687 OPS. That wouldn’t be so bad if his speed was still an asset. Unfortunately, it just isn’t. Meanwhile, his defense has declined significantly since his last Gold Glove in 2005.
Castillo, 34, is still owed $6 million next season, so if Omar Minaya couldn’t find a taker after his bounceback 2009 campaign (on offense, anyway), it’s pretty hard to believe they’ll find him a home this new winter, either. Like the Oliver Perez disaster, Castillo is another situation where they either have to admit their mistake and release him or waste a roster spot. For now, they are going with the whole wasting the roster spot strategy.
The Marlins are intent on adding one of the three best relievers available on the free agent market, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports. Those three, of course, are Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen, and Mark Melancon.
As Ashley noted earlier, Melancon is reportedly fielding multiple four-year offers in excess of $60 million. The price tags for Chapman and Jansen are likely to match or exceed that. The Marlins haven’t typically been eager to whip out the checkbook for free agents but with the bullpen being the name of the game in baseball these days, GM Michael Hill may feel the need to match his rivals.
The Nationals, Giants, Yankees, Cubs, and Dodgers are the teams most often linked to the “big-three” group of relievers, so it won’t be easy for the Marlins.
A.J. Ramos handled the closer’s role for the Marlins this past season and did an admirable job, saving 40 games with a 2.81 ERA and a 73/35 K/BB ratio in 64 innings. There’s no doubt, though, that Chapman, Jansen, or Melancon would represent a significant upgrade in the ninth inning.
C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Reds manager Bryan Price is likely going to use a trio of pitchers in the closer’s role: Raisel Iglesias, Tony Cingrani, and Michael Lorenzen. At RedsFest on Saturday, Price said:
I’d say right now that we have a series of guys that I’m comfortable with in the ninth inning and that would include (Raisel) Iglesias, (Tony) Cingrani and (Michael Lorenzen). Should we stay with this format – which I intend to do – all three of those guys and maybe more could have opportunities in save situations. At this point in time, there’s no defined closer. There are multiple options and I’d like to stick with the philosophy that we’re going to have our multi-inning guys, so we’re going to need multi-closers.
This seems to be part of the new bullpen zeitgeist in which managers are shying away from strictly-defined roles for their relievers. Indians manager Terry Francona’s postseason success using Andrew Miller likely had some degree of influence on Price’s willingness to go with a three-headed giant.
Iglesias started the 2016 season in the Reds’ rotation but missed two months with an injury, then moved to the bullpen in late June. Price put him in the closer’s role down the stretch in September. The right-hander overall finished the season with a 2.53 ERA and an 83/26 K/BB ratio in 78 1/3 innings.
Cingrani battled control issues in his 63 innings of work this past season, finishing with a 4.14 ERA and a 49/37 K/BB ratio. He’s left-handed, though, and gives Price some matchup flexibility in the late innings.
Lorenzen impressed in his first full season as a reliever, ending the year with a 2.88 ERA and a 48/13 K/BB ratio in 50 innings. The right-hander uses a fastball that sits around 96 MPH on average along with a cutter and slider.