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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Leading off, Luis Castillo?

I would love to see Luis Castillo leading off - for 29 other major-league teams. I'd also like to see him leading off for the Mets' Triple-A affiliate in Buffalo. But on the Mets? Not so much. But Jerry Manuel wants to give it a try.

Castillo has yet to show he belongs in the lineup, much less in the leadoff spot. Down the stretch last year, Manuel benched him in favor of recent pickup Ramon Martinez, who was about to turn 36. Castillo would have been gone this year except that no team wanted his contract.

Castillo vows he will turn it around this year, and he should get that chance - at the bottom of the order. If he actually starts to produce, then move him up to second, but not leadoff. Salvaging whatever is left of Castillo's career is not worth creating potential problems with Jose Reyes.

The Mets are blessed with perhaps the best leadoff hitter in baseball. After faltering in the second half of 2007, Reyes got back on track last year and is once again one of the Mets' main strengths.

When Reyes was struggling, he kept hitting the ball in the air and popping up, rather than hitting the ball on the ground, where he could use his speed. Now that Reyes has gone back to hitting line drives and grounders, is it a good idea to move him to a spot where he will be expected to hit for more power and could fall back into bad habits?

I thought the Mets had learned their lesson with Reyes when they moved him to second base to make room for Kaz Matsui. Even then, while Matsui batted leadoff the first part of 2004 while Reyes was on the disabled list, once Reyes returned, he was in the leadoff spot for good within a week.

Reyes shouldn't have to move again - and certainly not for the likes of Castillo.

Tell us what you think of Jerry Manuel's proposed lineup experiments.

3 comments:

"Nutball Gazette" said...

Is this not the same Castillo The Mets have offered to any team for a 85th round draft pick?

Anonymous said...

how about the mets offer orlando hudson a 1yr. 6 million contract and cut their loses with castillo?

Rob Abruzzese said...

Unfortunately the Mets aren't just going to cut their loses and release Castillo. The best thing that could happen to them is for Castillo to play and play well. So having some confidence in him probably isn't such a bad thing.