$18 million over the next three years. Luis Castillo. Second base. New York Mets.
While I don't like that sound of that, it seems us Mets fans better all get used to it.
According to Joel Sherman in an "exclusive" article, Castillo "requested an offseason meeting in which he implored Mets officials not to trade him and also pledged to re-dedicate himself to offseason training to assure he is in top condition next season."
That's all well and good, but he can train all off-season and he'll still be a slap hitter. He'll still run like someone just bashed his legs with a baseball bat, Tonya Harding / Nancy Kerrigan style. He'll still get hurt after making a routine play. He'll still need to miss a start because of his injuries at least once a week.
Castillo is the albatross of Omar Minaya's tenure. He was the face of fans anger and distrust of the team.
But, after this meeting, the Mets seem pleased with Castillo's fight and willingness to make amends. Sherman notes that Rey Ramirez, the Mets trainer, has been overseeing Castillo's workouts. Castillo will also play winter ball.
He has three years left on the contract, but I doubt he starts, or even plays all of them with the Mets. His knees are rebelling against him, and it's only a matter of time before the pain and recovery time are too much to handle. He's only 33, but injuries do that to a player. He's no longer the player he once was, even from the first day he came to the Mets.
I think the Mets will suffer through one more year of him, see how he does, and try to ship him elsewhere at the end of next season. Minaya will rue the day he signed him to the ridiculous contract unless some sort of miracle happens. I don't expect the fan distaste to dry up, even with a hot start to '09.
Good luck, Castillo. I hope you prove me wrong and become an integral part to this team over the next few years. But I doubt it.