Sunday, August 24, 2008

Roster Move: Church is Back, Castillo Delayed, El Duque Out for Season

The Franchise, T-Bone and I went to the game on Friday night - I'll try to do a recap later today. In the meantime, let's do some updates.

Ryan Church is back again, hopefully for good this time. The post-concussion symptoms seem to have abated and he's gotten off to a good start, going 3 for 7 in his first two games since returning. I would like to see Jerry Manuel be cautious with Church over the next few weeks - Daniel Murphy and Fernando Tatis are still hot, so you can get away with sitting Church every three or four games, especially against tougher lefties. Church's emergence this season has been nothing less than a revelation - even as Lastings Milledge continues to improve in Washington, the sting of that trade has begun to abate. Robinson Cancel was sent back to New Orleans to make room for Church - that's exactly where he belongs.

It looks like Luis Castillo's return has been delayed again; something tells me that he will "magically" be ready to play again on August 31. I want to write more about this soon, but Castillo can still be a very valuable player for this team if he's used effectively down the stretch. That means batting him eighth in the lineup and giving him plenty of rest, allowing Argenis Reyes and even Murphy to spot start once or twice a week. I know Mets fans have hated watching Castillo play this summer, but he's better than A. Reyes both offensively and defensively and will make the lineup better when he returns.

Finally, say goodbye to El Duque, whose career is almost surely over after opting to finally undergo bunion surgery this week. It's a shame - he has always been a wonderfully entertaining player to watch and he is still an effective major league starter when he's healthy. Who knew that bunions could be so debilitating?

One last thing: this roster is finally beginning to resemble exactly what a major league roster should look like. Gone are the days of three catchers, seven infielders and three outfielders - there is depth and flexibility all over the diamond and I think the Mets finally have the right mix of position players available to them. Once Castillo returns, he will need to replace Argenis Reyes or Damion Easley on the 25-man roster to make it perfect. I would send A. Reyes down and then call him back up on September 1 - the Mets can survive for a few days without a utility infielder.

Let's take a look at the active roster now:

Johan Santana
Oliver Perez
Mike Pelfrey
Pedro Martinez
John Maine

Aaron Heilman
Duaner Sanchez
Pedro Feliciano
Scott Schoeneweis
Joe Smith
Brian Stokes
Luis Ayala
Billy Wagner (closer) - DL

Brian Schneider
Ramon Castro

Carlos Delgado
Damion Easley
David Wright
Jose Reyes
Argenis Reyes
Fernando Tatis
Luis Castillo-DL

Daniel Murphy
Nick Evans
Carlos Beltran
Ryan Church
Endy Chavez
Marlon Anderson - DL


brian said...

What is the evidence that Castillo is better than our Heinous Reyes defensively, because my impression is the exact polar opposite of resolution.

If you can make a convincing case that Castillo is at this point in his career, a better defensive option than heinous, than it's a no-brainer that the elder (infielder!) reyes has no business on this team.

Judge Roughneck said...

I'm going at least partially on reputation here. The only two stats I understand when it comes to evaluating fielders is fielding percentage and Revised Zone Rating. The stats favor Reyes, also sample size has to be taken into consideration.

Reyes's hasn't made a fielding error yet and his RZR is an absurdly high .927; by comparison, Brandon Phillips leads qualified regulars with an .868 RZR. Castillo's RZR ia .727, far lower than any other qualified second baseman. Of course, Orlando Hudson is at the bottom of that list, so RZR seems to have its limitations.

brian said...

As the numbers bear out my observations, I shall continue to regard Reyes as the superior defender until the data corrects itself, proving otherwise.

If Manuel continues to stupidly bat his 2nd baseman 2nd (why? Symmetry? Numerological superstition?--it's an even dumber move now that Delgado is a credible cleanup threat again--which is at least an option Willie did not have. Put Beltran in the #2 slot!) anyway..If Manuel continues to stupidly bat his 2nd baseman 2nd, Castillo's offensive advantage is at more of a premium and you have to put him there. If either will bat 8th, I want Reyes' defense.

Judge Roughneck said...

This could be the start of an interesting debate. My feeling is that #2 hitters should be good hitters, guys who can drive in runs by hitting a double instead of slap hitters who take pitches and can move the lead runner along with groundouts. That's not Castillo. He's a patient hitter with absolutely no power, who can use walks and bunt singles to get on base and give the pitcher a chance to sacrifice. That turns a nearly-automatic out into something potentially useful.

I wrote more about my theory here: