NEW YORK (WFAN/AP) — Mets fans may indeed see Luis Castillo at Citi Field this season. With the Phillies, that is.
Philadelphia signed Castillo to a minor league contract on Monday. He will report to camp as a non-roster player and compete for playing time while five-time All-Star Chase Utley recovers from a right knee injury.
The signing was announced by Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.
“I think a change will be good for him, I respect him as a player,” said Phillies catcher Brian Schneider, who played with Castillo in New York. “He’s been in the game a long time and he’s done a lot of great things. I think this is a good opportunity for him with what’s going on here.”
Castillo was cut by the Mets Friday morning despite being in the final year of a four-year, $25 million contract.
If Castillo makes the club, the Phillies would be responsible for paying $414,000 of his $6 million salary. The Mets would be on the hook for the balance.
“I think, frankly, since I’ve been here, this has, in my judgment, never been about a reluctance to eat the contract,” Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said after releasing the second baseman. “If this sort of underscores that, so be it, but what we are trying to do is something that’s in the best interest of the organization long term.”
Castillo won three Gold Gloves, was a two-time NL stolen base champion and helped the 2003 Florida Marlins win the World Series. He is a career .290 hitter with 370 steals in 15 seasons with the Marlins, Minnesota and the Mets. He stole 62 bases in 84 tries in 2000, but only swiped 8 for 11 last year.
Castillo batted .235 with no homers, only six extra-base hits and 17 RBIs in 247 at-bats last season before losing his starting spot to Ruben Tejada and Luis Hernandez.
The Mets will also absorb a $12 million hit from Oliver Perez’s salary, who was in the final year of a three-year, $36 million contract. The Mets released Perez on Monday.
Will Castillo burn the Mets? Make your prediction in the comments below…
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