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Trade Redux

A breakdown of Castillo's trade to the Mets.

The Twins are kind of like the girl who insists she likes you, but when you get mad at her for blowing you off she just gives you lip service by saying things like "Of course I like you" and "Don't turn this into something that it isn't".  And of course, if you're a stupid boy like me, you've probably bought this line more times than not.

Anyway, it's the same feeling I get from Terry Ryan in regards to the Twins 2007 prospects of October when I hear and read quotes like this:

"We're not giving up at all...We're 6 1/2 games back, and we're better than we were a week ago. If we didn't think we could absorb this, I certainly wouldn't have done that. Now I know the perception sometimes when you give up a veteran player in late July is that it may not look good. But I still think we can absorb this."

Sure Terry, we can absorb it.  JUST LIKE WE ABSORBED IT WHEN YOU FORGOT MY BIRTHDAY.  Bitch.

What the Twins Are Getting

At first glance it doesn't seem like much.  Drew Butera, a nearly 24-year old catcher in AA, and Dustin Martin, a 23-year old outfielder in high-A...they aren't what you'd expect from a contending team looking to keep up with two teams right behind them. I thought the Mets would offer more. More realistically, it's probable that Ryan wasn't willing to "wait it out" any longer and just wanted something for Castillo, knowing Luis wouldn't be around next year.

Drew Butera

Age  Lvl   AB  H  2B  HR  BB  SO   Avg   Obp   Slg
22     A- 175 38   9   1  22  33  .217  .305  .297
23     A  297 55  13   5  42  73  .185  .295  .279
24     A+ 182 47  14   5  24  28  .258  .348  .418
24    AA  113 22   2   1   2  19  .195  .216  .239

Back at UCF, Butera was considered one of the best defensive backstops in the nation.  While he's still highly regarded defensively, he's done nothing to dispell the notion that he's an all-glove, no-hit prospect.  He barely hits any line drives, he has no power and since reaching AA has a hideous BB:K ratio.  At 24 a prospect should typically be able to handle AA pitching, even if it is just his third year in the minors.  You could say the Mets had rushed him to AA after moderate realative success in high-A this spring, but the immediate comeback is that it's hard to call it a 'rush' at his age.

With the Twins, his primary competition behind the plate in New Britain will consist of Jeff Christy (not the former Viking center), Kyle Geiger and Korey Feiner.  All three have been hitting better than Butera, but none of them so much so that Butera won't have a chance to compete.  If Butera (who was a 5th round pick in 2005) can come in and impress the Rock Cats with his defensive prowess, he'll earn his opportunities to show what he can do at the plate.  Additionally, I believe that Christy is currently in Fort Myers.

Dustin Martin

Age  Lvl  AB   H  2B  HR  BB  SO   Avg   Obp   Slg
22    A- 253  79  15   2  26  50  .312  .392  .451
23    A+ 363 104  22   5  42  93  .287  .358  .421

While Martin doesn't look to me that much more impressive than Butera offensively considering his age and level in the Mets' farm system, remember this is his first full season as a professional baseball player.  He was selected in the 26th round of the 2006 amateur entry draft, making him a long shot by anyone's standards, but hopefully the Twins will test him by starting him in New Britain.

Martin, like Butera, doesn't hit a lot of line drives or much power.  What he does have is more success at the plate, where his BABIP has been a bit more impressive and his BB:K ratio isn't depressing.  While is 10.7% walk rate doesn't offset the high 22.1% strikeout rate (at least without any power) at high-A, it's far from disturbing.  While nothing I've said should make anyone too bright-eyed over the former Met farm hand, he does have more offensive upside than Butera and could blossom with the Twins if he can handle the challege of AA.

But then again, I'm optimistic.  AREN'T I, TERRY?  Why do I choose to believe you, you only hurt me in the end!

What the Twins Are Losing

I've never really been of a "ONE-OF-US, ONE-OF-US" kind of mentality, but it's still hard to part with a guy who played like Castillo.  He didn't have any power but he did have his attributes, and he definitely wanted to stay with the Twins.  You know how when you break up with a girl and you think you'll be cool with it, and then she starts to cry and suddenly there's a chink in your armor?

Castillo was on the field during batting practice when bench coach Steve Liddle tapped him on the shoulder and led him upstairs to the clubhouse, where the news was delivered...Castillo, who joined the Twins following a December 2005 trade, seemed to take the news pretty hard, speaking to reporters with watery eyes.

"The hardest part for me is I think this team is still fighting -- we're still in the race," Castillo said. "I've seen this team come back 10 games before, and now we're 6 1/2 games. I think this team can turn around; we can get better. It was a surprise. I've been waiting for him to make a decision, and he made it."

Dammit, Luis.  YOU MADE ME LOVE YOU.

Castillo still has a lot to provide for a team who is contending this season, and who intends to contend over the next one or two seasons as well.  Stop over at SBNation's New York Mets blog, Amazin Avenue, to see what they have to say on the trade and be sure to check out the brief scouting report I provided Eric.  They have some great takes.

During his tenure in Minnesota, Castillo played in 227/266 games (just better than 85%) with a line of .299/.358/.363, including 33 doubles, 9 triples, and three home runs in 933 at-bats.  He stole 34/49 bases (69.2%) and committed only nine errors for a fielding percentage of .991.

In his place will be a combination of Nick Punto, Jeff Cirillo, Luis Rodriguez and Alexi Casilla (who will join the team Tuesday evening).  None of these players will provide the offense that Castillo provided, neither in consistency, batting average nor in on-base percentage, but the Twins hope that their future lies in the 23-year old Casilla, whose profile mirrors that of the departed Gold Glover.

Casilla has hit .233/.250/.256 in limited time with the Twins in '07, but has done significantly better with the Red Wings in regular time including 24 steals and a solid BB:K ratio.  Like Castillo he doesn't have much power (if any), but what success he'll have in the majors will come from his other tools and not his ability to hit the long ball. Hopefully most of the at-bats coming to second basemen will go to Casilla--it will lend some excitement to the position to see what the future could hold and, in all honesty, his production on both sides of the ball will probably be better than any of the other options.


I'm still not sure where the Twins stand.  At only six game's deficit to the Indians and seven to Detroit, it appears a bit early to run out the white flag.  At the same time, we've seen these minor spurts before from the Twins; they get within range just long enough for a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel before collapsing to the mediocre team they've been all season.

Now, with Castillo's departure, I'm inclined to believe that our Twins won't be making any sort of a run for October.  They were a mediocre team with him, they certainly won't be any better without him, and unless Terry Ryan has two aces up his sleeve before 3pm CDT hits on Tuesday afternoon (which is within the realm of possibilities), I won't be changing my mind.  Minnesota will still be competetive and even with the glaring offensive deficiencies will win more games than they lose this summer, but a playoff team the Twins are not.

Good luck to Luis Castillo.  I loved him while he was here and I appreciate what he was able to do for the Twins, but his future doesn't lie with us and he's better off for it.  Stay healthy, Luis, and good luck with the Mets.