I picture Luis Castillo during this spring training as a guy with a bucket on the Titanic. He kept trying to get the water off the deck, but you know how this story ends. So now Luis is gone; either he jumped overboard or got into a lifeboat. Either way, the ship is still sinking.
Castillo always seemed to be the target of the fans. Not only did his hitting leave something to be desired, but so did his fielding. When I think of him I see dropped pop-ups and remember the booing of the crowd. Not a very pleasant memory at all. By all accounts his teammates liked him, but the main reason he is gone is because the fans demanded it.
While the Mets parted ways with second baseman Castillo, troubled pitcher Oliver Perez is still hanging in there. He pitched one scoreless inning yesterday, even striking out Jason Heyward of the Atlanta Braves. Does this mean Ollie might get a shot at being in the bullpen? I’d say grab a bucket, Ollie. Someone has to take up where Castillo left off.
There are also alternating reports of Carlos Beltran feeling better and his knee bothering him. Take your pick, Mets fans, because this is not the player the Mets were supposed to get. He should have been their star center fielder, ostensibly their centerpiece to the puzzle, a super star around whom to build a team. We see how well that has worked out, right?
Alas, the old regime of GM Omar Minaya (and Steve Phillips before him) shelled out lots of money to players who have gone bust. Just take a look at the short list: Beltran, Perez, Castillo, and Johan Santana. Millions and millions of dollars wasted as well as time and at the expense of the team and the fans. People can talk all they want about the money the team lost investing with Bernie Madoff, but the worst investment the Mets ever made was in these players who gave them no return.
Now maybe the Mets can get back to what they used to do well: establish a strong farm system that develops great players like it once did. Clearly, guys like Ike Davis, David Wright, and Jose Reyes give us a glimmer of hope of what can come from that kind of cultivation. We have to hope that GM Sandy Alderson has the vision to do this for the long haul because free agents are just not working out for the Mets. It seems they never have (can anyone forget Bobby Bonilla?).
There isn’t much to look forward to this season, but we have to remember the band kept playing on the Titanic even as it was sinking. So grab a bucket, Ollie, but don’t think it’s going to save the ship before the fat lady sings.
Castillo – Daily News
Wright – espn.com