UPDATE, Tuesday 3:12 pm: Luis Castillo is in camp and he talked briefly about joining the Phillies (via Todd Zolecki). Here is what he said:
Q: Excited to be here?
A: Yeah, man. Anybody would be excited to play for the Phillies. I feel good. I’m happy to be here.
Q: You were supposed to be here yesterday. You’re late. What happened?
A: I had a miscommunication with me and my agent, saying I had to report today. That’s what it was. More important for me, I’m here and I’m excited to be here.
Q: The Phillies said you must earn a job. Is that your understanding?
A: I’m healthy and I feel good. I know I have to prove I’m ready. I’m here to play baseball and help this team win some games.
Q: How much do you feel like you have left in you?
A: This year I feel more in shape than five years ago. Now I’m fine. I’m fine. I’ll give everything I have on the field. Working hard and showing the people and the fans I can still play.
UPDATE, Tuesday 10:22 am: Dave Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News says the Phillies expect Castillo to arrive around 1 pm. today. Ruben Amaro Jr. expects him to be in tomorrow’s lineup.
UPDATE, Tuesday 9:33 am: Enrique Rojas of ESPN.com has tweeted (in Spanish) that there was a mix-up in hotel reservations for Castillo, which is why he’s late getting to this side of Florida.
UPDATE, Tuesday 9:15 am: Luis Castillo has yet to show to Phillies camp and has been scratched from the lineup today and tomorrow. Charlie Manuel and Ruben Amaro expected Castillo yesterday, which is the reason Manuel had him in the order.
The Luis Castillo Experiment will now be down to just seven games – that’s how many they can look at the second baseman without paying him guaranteed money. It’s odd that Castillo has not yet shown when the possibility of a job is on the line. No one from camp is saying where he might be, and that’s already worrisome. Many have been trying to cover his ass the past 24 hours that he’s a good teammate. No matter the circumstances of this tardy, Castillo is making some people eat their words.
UPDATE, Monday 8:35 am: And just like that, the Phillies front office send this press release out that the team has signed Luis Castillo:
Second baseman Luis Castillo has signed a minor league contract with the Phillies and will report to camp as a non-roster invitee, Senior Vice President & General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. announced today.
Castillo, 35, was hitting .286 (8-28) with two RBI in 11 games for the New York Mets this spring. Last season with the Mets, he was limited to 86 games due to a bruised right heel and batted .235 with 17 RBI and eight stolen bases.
During his 15-year major league career, Castillo has made three All-Star teams (2002-03; 2005) and won three Gold Glove awards (2003-05). He has batted over .300 eight times in his career, the last coming in 2009 when he hit .302 for the Mets.
Castillo has hit .290 in his career with 28 home runs, 59 triples, 443 RBI and 370 stolen bases for the Florida Marlins (1996-2005), Minnesota Twins (2006-07) and the Mets (2007-10).
Dave Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News tweeted that it is indeed a minor league contract and Phils don’t have to purchase the contract and add him to 40 man until March 31.
UPDATE, Monday 8:22 am: No word yet from the Phillies on the Castillo signing, therefore it is not 100% complete. Several sources have confirmed it, according to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com, but a statement has not been released by the team as of this time.
The Mets owe Castillo $6 million for cutting him, however, the Phillies can sign him at the league minimum of $400,000. On the surface, it seems like a low risk/medium reward scenario. Castillo, 35, was just downright bad last season, hitting .235 with no homers and 17 RBIs last season in 247 at-bats.
In comparing Castillo to Valdez, Castillo’s OBP was better (.337 to .306) although his OPS was lower (.604 to .667). Defensively, Valdez is superior in that he has better range and a better arm, but Castillo is more seasoned at second base.
If Castillo sucks it up, then the Phillies basically have nothing invested in him and can let him go. They can also use him in a platoon role with Valdez. Wilson will most likely be a late-inning replacement for the slower-moving Castillo.