Rumor Mill: Juan Castro

Ken Rosenthal and Andy Martino both report the Phillies — along with the Los Angeles Dodgers — are heavily pursuing Juan Castro as a replacement for Eric Bruntlett.

Castro has a career batting line of .230/.270/.332, good for a 57 OPS+. Defensively, he’s been decent up the middle with a 13.5 UZR/150 at second base and 6.1 at shortstop. At third base, however, he’s an unhealthy -13.2. In his limited playing time with the Dodgers last year, he was one of their worst base runners.

FanGraphs valued him as a replacement-level player in 2009 and about one win below replacement level in ’07 and ’08. In terms of salary, Castro has made about $1 million per season since ’04, but hasn’t been worth $1 million since ’06.

Instead of signing Castro, why not Adam Everett? He was the Tigers’ best base runner in ’09, his defense at shortstop is among the best in baseball and he’s slightly better with the bat. Without including base running, he has been worth over $4 million in two out of his last three seasons and has produced above replacement level every year since ’03. He made only $1 million in ’09 and would likely command a similar one-year salary going foward, just like Castro.

There are better options out there. Jerry Hairston, Jr. for instance. He won’t be making the $2 million he’s been getting just about every season since ’03 and he’s been worth 3.6 WAR over the past two seasons. Jamey Carroll. Mark Loretta. Make a trade and get a bench player thrown in a la Ben Francisco in the Cliff Lee trade.

Just not Juan Castro. We had Eric Bruntlett for two agonizing years, don’t make us wish we had him for a third!

UPDATE: Todd Zolecki and Scott Lauber both report that the deal is close. David Murphy reports it’s done, pending a physical.

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7 comments

  1. Peter

    November 24, 2009 02:31 PM

    Everett makes much more sense.

  2. PhillyFriar

    November 24, 2009 02:34 PM

    Ugh. Amaro is carrying this “defense over offense” thing to its extreme.

  3. Bill Baer

    November 24, 2009 02:40 PM

    @ Peter,

    While he hasn’t played second base much (just one inning out of his 6,528+ defensive innings), I’m sure he’d be adequate in a spot start for Chase Utley.

  4. H

    November 25, 2009 07:05 AM

    With the increased emphasis on defense, Everett might be in some demand this offseason. That being said, I would have preferred Omar Vizquel to Castro for one year to back up at 2B and SS. I also would have preferred that Ruben wait and see who else might be available (maybe a minor league free agent per Dave Cameron’s recent article) rather than commit a roster spot to this guy.

  5. Peter

    November 25, 2009 01:23 PM

    @H
    Up until a few years ago, defense was basically free on the labor market. Last off-season, it was still heavily undervalued. I expect the market to correct itself some, but I’m willing to bet that defense will be the most undervalued skill on the market again this off-season.

  6. H

    November 25, 2009 04:59 PM

    @ Peter,

    I agree that defense is still under-valued. However, with most MLB GM’s being so reactive and with so few proactive ones, I expect the market for defense to quickly correct following Jack Z’s lead in Seattle. After his Gutierrez and, to a lesser extent, Endy Chavez pick-ups last offseason, the Mariners showed great improvement this year. Now, after he recently gave Jack Wilson $10M for 2 years, which is a good value in my opinion, I would think that Everett might command more than league minimum and might be able to engage 2 or 3 teams in a bidding fight – I won’t call it a war – for his services. I wouldn’t be surprised if Everett gets twice what the Phillies gave Castro.

    As I said above, I don’t endorse the Castro signing. What’s the rush to sign Juan Castro?

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