Second Base: Stuck with Castillo, Who's Utility

In a report for FoxSports.com, Ken Rosenthal explains why the Mets may be stuck with Luis Castillo, who is due $18 million over the next three seasons, in a market where Pat Burrell just signed a two-year, $16 million deal.

According to Rosenthal, “In theory, the Mets could assume enough of Castillo’s salary to make him, say, a $2 million a year player.  However, they’re already paying two closers… and two managers… Paying two second basemen – say, with the signing of free agent Orlando Hudson – would be a stretch.”

Rosenthal believes the Mets will next sign a starting pitcher, followed by a utility infielder, such as Alex Cora, David Eckstein or Craig Counsell.

Last month, WEEI radio in Boston said the Mets are pursuing Cora to be their utility infielder.

In 75 games for the Red Sox in 2008, the 33–year-old Cora hit .270 with a .371 OBP, while playing second base and shortstop.

In his 11–year career, he has played short, second, left field, third base and first base.

I know people will look at Cora’s age, but it is difficult to find a young utility infielder.  Also, I believe it is wise to have a veteran in this sort of role, because of the steady-hand and experience.

If the Mets end up with Cora, that’s fine.  If not, I won’t lose sleep over it.  That said, if the Mets are not going to sign Hudson, and are stuck with Castillo, I’d prefer they sign Eckstein over Cora, because he gets on base more frequently and he strikes out less, and I think his style of play and attitude would be good for the clubhouse.

By the way, Rosenthal also reports on Adam Dunn; the lack of action in St. Louis, and how it could impact Albert Pujols; the market for Jon Garland and 2B Brian Roberts; and the future of Kris Benson, who has not pitched in the majors since 2006.

Speaking of infielders…

The Padres have interest in Eckstein and free-agent Omar Vizquel, according to the team’s GM, reports MLB.com.

Lastly, the Phillies signed 2B Marcus Giles to a minor-league deal, worth $600,000, according to the Denver Post.