Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Change and Castillo

Something I have heard discussed a lot this offseason is the idea of the Mets trading away Luis Castillo and then signing Orlando Hudson to play second.

My question is: why?

Sure, Castillo's four year, $24 million contract looked foolish at the time the Mets gave it to him. But now? Castillo, who looked rejuvenated last year, is coming off a season where he hit .302/.387/.346 and stole 20 bases. He is only due $12 million over the next two years.

People who know me know I am NOT the biggest Castillo fan. In fact, he embodies many of the things I dislike most about ballplayers. But I'm also a realist -- after his bounceback season, and at that contract, Castillo is an asset. According to fangraphs, he was worth approximately $7 million last year -- and that his contract expires in two years is a good thing as well.

With so many holes to fill this offseason, why are we trying to create a NEW issue to deal with?

Orlando Hudson is a good player- but for all intents and purposes, he is not really that much of an upgrade over Castillo. He is turning 32 (Castillo is turning 34). He will likely command a contract in the neighborhood of $7-$8 million per year for multiple years (he made around $7 million last year). And to be honest? He's not an upgrade.

His OPS over the last four years has been 809, 817, 817, and 774. His line last year was a paltry .283/.357/.417 with 9 home runs and 8 stolen bases. He was basically Luis Castillo with 30 less points in on-base percentage and 70 more points of slugging. A few more home runs, and a dozen less steals.

I LIKE Orlando Hudson -- he's a nice guy, a great interview, and seemingly a good clubhouse presence. But don't be fooled -- making the swap of Castillo for Hudson most likely won't make the Mets better, and stands a chance of making them worse.


In fairness, Hudson does tend to rank better than Castillo when it comes to defensive metrics. According to fangraphs, over the last three years, here are their ultimate zone rating values:

Hudson: 0.5, -5.1, -3.3
Castillo: 1.7, -4.7, -10.4

Therefore, even with their hitting being comparable, Hudson came out as worth $13.0 million last year compared to Castillo's $7 million.

However, we are comparing Castillo's age 32-34 seasons with Hudson's prime years of 30-32. It is probable (or definite) that Hudson's fielding is going to see a severe drop in the next couple of years.

Even with the fielding factored in, the upgrade from Hudson to Castillo would not be worth it unless the commitment was the same length (two years) and at a comparable price - both of which are unlikely - or if we could flip Castillo for something of real value.

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