I’ve been in DC for some Georgetown basketball (a thrilling victory over imposing American University) and so out of the loop a little bit this weekend.
But one vague rumor that seems to be blowing up my Twitter involves a three-way deal between the Mets, Cubs, and Rays, with Luis Castillo going to Chicago, Milton Bradley going to the Rays, and Pat Burrell coming to the Mets.
All three teams would be parting ways with a bad contract, though it’s tough to say exactly how the salaries would play out as there could also be money involved.
That said, Castillo and Bradley are signed through 2011. Burrell is owed $9 million for 2010.
I assume, if there’s any actual truth to the rumor, the Mets would use Burrell as a part-time player. Inserting a bad defender coming off a terrible offensive season in the everyday lineup would be a P.R. nightmare for an administration reportedly on thin ice; more likely, Burrell becomes a right-handed platoon partner for Daniel Murphy at first base, plus (likely ineffective) leverage to try to drive prices down on free-agent outfielders.
Burrell was awful last year to the tune of a .221/.315/.367 line, but, just looking at his baseball-reference page, he appears a likely bounceback candidate: He’s 33, and he was a consistently excellent hitter from 2005-2008. He also has a .916 lifetime OPS against left-handers, meaning if he could handle first base defensively, he’d be a good for a platoon there.
Whether Burrell and his $9 million over one year are worth Castillo and his $12 million over two years, I can’t say. Castillo, as a second baseman, was a much, much more valuable player than Burrell last season, even with his own defensive inadequacies.
That’s no safe bet to continue, of course, and if the Mets are so desperate to move Castillo’s contract, they probably won’t find a deal appreciably better than this one. It turns out it’s a bear market for 34-year-old second basemen with diminishing range, bad knees, no power and multi-year contracts.
Of course, by most accounts the Mets are so desperate to move Castillo’s multi-year contract so they can give another one to Orlando Hudson, a 32-year-old second basemen with diminishing range, so, you know, there’s that.