On second thought, Luis Castillo is a pretty popular guy

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Luis Castillo became symbolic of the failures of former Mets general manager Omar Minaya, so most expected him to be cut loose prior to Opening Day, even though he was arguably the team’s best option at second base. But when someone is cut based more on perception than reality, we shouldn’t be surprised when said player draws interest once they can be had for the league minimum.

According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, the Phillies, Cubs and Marlins are at least three teams “thought to be in” on Castillo. The rationale is pretty simple here. The Phillies need insurance for Chase Utley, the Cubs aren’t thrilled with Blake DeWitt and Jeff Baker and the Marlins could use Omar Infante at third base and start prospect Matt Dominguez in the minors.

As Castillo tells Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes, he hopes to sign with the major league team shortly after he clears waivers on Sunday.

“I feel calm, confident that I will be in a major league roster on opening day of the season,” Castillo said in phone call in Spanish with ESPNDeportes.com.

“Until Sunday I can not talk of contract, but I’m sure I have options. I am not finished as it has been painted,” Castillo said, adding he did not hold a grudge against the Mets.

If anything, being released could be a liberating experience for the 35-year-old. The three-time Gold Glover doesn’t have the range he once did, but he knows his way around the second base bag better than most. And while he’s just a Punch-and-Judy-hitter, he makes good contact and knows how to draw a walk. For $6 million, he wouldn’t make any sense. For $414,000? Sure, why not?

I, for one, look forward to reading Jon Heyman’s reaction when Castillo signs a contract before David Eckstein.

Dodgers, Cubs could be interested in Justin Verlander

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Jon Morosi of MLB Network said yesterday that the Detroit Tigers and Chicago Cubs have been engaged in trade talks involving starting pitcher Justin Verlander and catcher Alex Avila. Morosi also noted that the Los Angeles Dodgers have shown interest in Verlander as well. Whether this is idyl chitchatting of serious dispute is unclear, of course. Everything is unclear in the leadup to the deadline.

The veteran right-hander is carrying a 4.50 with a 120/57 K/BB ratio over 124 innings. Verlander impressed last year, finishing second in AL Cy Young Award balloting, but he has fallen back to Earth in 2017. His velocity remains high, however, and it’s not hard to imagine him going on a solid run in a way that could help a contender. He is owed $56 million over the next two seasons, however, and has a $22 million option that could vest for 2020, so negotiations for him could be tough. If the Tigers want talent back, they’ll have to eat salary.

Verlander got an ovation from a Detroit crowd last night which seemed to sense that, yes, it’s possible he pitched his last game for the Tigers. Given that he has 10/5 rights, allowing him to veto any trade, that decision is ultimately up to him. It’s not hard to imagine him accepting a trade to a contender, however.

We wait see.

A 30-year-old rookie won his major league debut

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The Dodgers beat the Twins last night thanks to a Cody Bellinger three-run homer. But Bellinger was not the only Dodgers rookie who had a notable game. A far more unconventional one is worth mentioning as well.

That rookie is reliever Edward Paredes, who made his big league debut last night. What makes him unconventional: he’s 30. Turns 31 in September, actually. Paredes pitched professionally for 12 years before making it to The Show. Most of that time was in the affiliated minors in the Mariners, Indians, Angels and Dodgers organizations. He spent time in the independent Atlantic League in 2013-15 as well.

Paredes did not do anything heroic last night. It was more of a right place/right time kind of appearance, retiring the side in order with a fly out, line out and a ground out and remaining the pitcher of record while Bellinger hit that three-run homer. That’s enough for a W, though. A W that Paredes waited a lot longer for than most pitchers who notch one in the bigs.