Seems like only yesterday I was scratching my head wondering why the Phillies picked up Luis Castillo in the first place... now I'm wondering why they dropped him.
First, I don't understand the sudden love affair people have with Wilson Valdez. He started 88 games for the Phillies last season and performed admirably as a defensive replacement for Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, and Placido Polanco. But that's where his usefulness ends. He's a 32 year old AAAA player who held his own on defense, but grounded into 20 double plays into in 333 ABs. How bad is that? Once every 16 at bats he was responsible for 2 outs. Take into account the 86 times he was lucky enough to get a hit, and once every 12 at bats where he recorded an out, he actually created two outs! And how bad is that? Pablo Sandoval led the league with 26 GIDPs, but in 563 ABs. Once every 21 ABs for those without a calculator. Give Valdez that many ABs and he grounds into 34 double plays. THIRTY FOUR! That would be #3 on the All Time Single season list... (not that he'll ever get 500+ ABs) What I'm trying to say is he's not a good every day player. The value of having a Wilson Valdez on your team is in being able to use him a couple times a week at 2nd, 3rd and Short. He has the defensive range and can spell someone for a day. But he offers nothing else.
And why not Luis Castillo? Aside from no-showing his 1st day, he did nothing wrong. He was 0 for his first 8, but then started to string together hits. His fielding was never tested, and he was 1 for 1 on steal attempts. He's 34 (only two years older than the golden boy above), and has shown the ability to hit for average AND swipe a few bags. It seems to me as though the Phillies completely wasted his time this spring. To bring the guy in on a minor league contract that was only guaranteed if he made the roster, and then cut him loose for seemingly no reason is a slap in the face. It's almost as if Ruben Amaro, in his ultimate smugness, snagged him off the waiver wire just so no one else could have him for a few weeks. The only other reasonable explanation is that Ruben knows something we don't (trade? Utley is feeling much better?)
As for the other dishrags that will be spending time plugging the hole as 2nd Base, Pete Orr and Michael Martinez aren't exactly names that make one do a double take. Martinez is a Rule 5 guy that the Phillies swiped from the Nationals in the draft. He's hit for decent average in the minors the past few years but done little otherwise. To keep him, naturally, he has to stay on the 25 Man Roster. So either they see something I don't or he has pictures of Charlie Manuel in a compromising position. Pete Orr is a 2B/OF type much in the same mold. I could throw a rock from my front porch and hit two guys in the neighborhood with the same skills as Pete Orr. But both of these guys are now going to make the squad over Delwyn Young and Josh Barfield; two of the hottest hitters of the spring and both young guys with substantial major league playing time. Again, a head scratcher...
It doesn't get much better with pitching... Michael Stutes has been amazing this pre-season, and both Mike Zagurski and Scott Mathieson were impressive early. The three of them will be sent down in favor of Danys Baez, David Herndon, and Antonio Bastardo. Baez is about as useful as a paperweight, Herndon is a mop up guy, and Bastardo make me yawn and say "meh." Guys like those three fall out of trees in the majors anymore. But Stutes, Zagurski, and Mathieson are young fireballers who have each had something to overcome and worked their tails off for spots. Who has more fire that can help propel the Phillies to another World Series? Danys Baez and his career $40M worth of stolen paychecks, or Scott Mathieson and his two Tommy John surgeries and desperate attempt to sniff big league glory?
I'm not as down on the squad as this post seems, but I sure would like to be a fly on the wall when these decisions are made. Still looking at 97 wins and a division title.