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Transaction Reaction: 2B Luis Castillo

Although GM Omar Minaya hasn't swung any blockbuster trades this year, the Mets on Monday made a minor move in acquiring second baseman Luis Castillo from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for minor league catcher Drew Butera and minor league outfielder Dustin Martin.

Castillo, 31, was putting together an average season in his second year in Minnesota, batting .304/.356/.352 in 85 games. Butera was batting a rather anemic .231/.297/.344 for St. Lucie and Binghamton in 82 games, and Martin was hitting at a .289/.359/.422 clip in 95 games, all but two at St. Lucie.

I can't help but be somewhat nonplussed by this trade. Obviously the Mets aren't giving up much here, but I'm inclined to wonder why Minnesota opted to deal the impending free agent, a move which forced unproven prospect Alexi Casilla into a starting position on the depth chart.

I am also confused about the Mets' methodology behind this trade. I would understand the move if they were somehow in possession of a secret time machine capable of resurrecting the Castillo of a few seasons ago, but at present he is a singles hitter with hamstrings more torn than Natalie Imbruglia.

Obviously the Mets have not been enamored with Ruben Gotay's recent showing as the full-time second baseman, but Castillo is hardly a defensive upgrade over Gotay. Baseball Prospectus lists Gotay's Fielding Rate as 97 with a -2 FRAA. That's below average, but Castillo's numbers are far worse: Fielding Rate of 93 with a -6 FRAA.

As recently as 2005, Luis was a whiz in the field and a sparkplug in the lineup, but offensively there's no comparison: Gotay's EqA is .311 and Castillo's is .269.

This year, Castillo is posting his lowest OBP since 2001, and he has only stolen nine bases. Nine! Even Shawn Green, who, according to Joe Benigno, stinks, has nine steals. Castillo, unfortunately, isn't much more than a washed-up singles hitter.

I'm not sure how to evaluate this deal, when all's said and done. The Mets gave up almost nothing to acquire an impending free agent who fills a near-void at second base (despite the Mets retaining the services of every second baseman in the nation: Anderson Hernandez, David Newhan, Marlon Anderson, Easley, Gotay, the injured 'Stache), but he's not much of an upgrade over Ruben Gotay, who's been absolutely raking at the dish.

I hope Omar can think of something better, because I'm not entirely certain the Mets have exactly counteracted the Braves' addition of Teixeira by acquiring a latter-day Chuck Knoblauch.

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