Luis Castillo has started just four of the last 17 games and said yesterday that he’s unhappy losing playing time to 20-year-old rookie Ruben Tejada, who’s hitting just .167 in 48 games overall this season.
On the bench last night for the fifth straight game, Castillo told the New York Daily News that he’ll talk to his agents about finding a team willing to make him a starter again:
I think we will talk to them about that. I need to be in a different kind of situation. I don’t know what they want to do. I want an opportunity to play, and if it is here, then I am happy. If it is somewhere else, then that’s what it is.
I thought I would be playing tonight, but I am not making the lineup. What is going on here? I don’t know what he’s doing. All I can do is the best I can. That’s how you try to play more, but I am disappointed.
Castillo has hardly played well enough this season to complain much about a lack of playing time, but it’s also easy to see why he’d be frustrated sitting in favor of a 20-year-old who clearly isn’t ready for the majors. Tejada is a promising young player, but he’s also just the latest example of the Mets needlessly rushing a prospect through the system and sending him to New York well before he’s ready. Among the 186 hitters in NL with at least 150 plate appearances this season, Tejada has the lowest OPS at .467.
Jerry Manuel admitted that Tejada isn’t ready offensively, but praised his defense and indicated that Castillo has indeed been relegated to a role player, saying: “Right now we’re probably going to try to see how far we can go with Ruben. It may not be a situation he likes, but it’s a situation he’ll have to adjust to.”
And, of course, if the Mets could trade Castillo they would have done so long ago. He’s making $6 million this season and is still owed another $6 million next year.