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.

Sean Manaea pitches the first no-hitter of 2018

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Athletics southpaw Sean Manaea delivered his first career no-hitter against the Red Sox in a decisive 3-0 victory on Saturday night. Any thought of a perfect game was banished in the first at-bat, when Mookie Betts drew a leadoff six-pitch walk to open the first inning. From there, Manaea was nearly flawless, holding the Sox to four total baserunners and striking out 10 of 30 batters faced — a career record.

Manaea was gifted a three-run lead thanks to RBI doubles from Jed Lowrie and Stephen Piscotty and Marcus Semien‘s solo shot off of Chris Sale in the fifth inning. While the Red Sox managed to draw two walks off of Manaea, they didn’t come anywhere close to plating a run. Andrew Benintendi tried to break up the no-no in the sixth inning with an infield hit down the first base line, but strayed out of bounds and later saw his hit reversed on a call of batter interference.

Entering the ninth inning, the 26-year-old lefty was sitting at just 95 pitches through eight frames of no-hit ball. He quickly deposed Blake Swihart and Mookie Betts with a groundout and fly out, then walked Benintendi on seven pitches. Any threat the Red Sox might have posed was soon eliminated, however, as Hanley Ramirez ground into a force out to complete the no-hitter.

Manaea is the first A’s pitcher to toss a no-no since Dallas Braden’s perfect game against the Rays eight years ago. The last time the Red Sox were on the losing end of a no-hitter was also against an AL West rival, when the Mariners’ Chris Bosio clinched a 2-0 no-no on April 22, 1993. Manaea’s feat is even more outstanding given how dominant the Red Sox have looked this season: prior to Saturday’s defeat, they boasted a 17-2 record and had yet to be shut out during the regular season.