Thinking About Ramon Castro

The Mets are going to have a decision to make as the week comes to a close. Brian Schneider is expected to finally return from the DL. A back strain landed him in the trainers' room in mid-April and the Mets have turned to Ramon Castro and Omir Santos in his absence. If you discount the two starts Castro made prior to Schneider's injury, then Castro has started only 18 out of the Mets 37 games since, and only 6 of the past 15. Both are right-handed hitters to contrast with the southpaw Schneider.

One of those two has to go when Schneider returns, and it just might be Castro. He makes 2.5 million through the end of this season and figures to fetch a bigger return than Santos. The Mets lineup is in complete disarray right now. Angel Pagan and Fernando Martinez are fielding the left side of the outfield until Carlos Beltran can return. Jose Reyes and Carlos Delgado are also hurt. Ramon Martinez is playing shortstop. Francisco Rodriguez had to be taken to the hospital in an ambulance after a severe case of backs spasms and so on. The Mets are experiencing a cluster of disappointment and could use some relief.

This is where the Rays can pop in and take someone like Castro off their hands. I don't know what it would take or if the Rays can afford to take on the ~2 million on the contract. I do know that Castro projects to finish with a wOBA around .330, or a league average hitter who happens to play catcher.  Castro walks and hits for power. His batting average is never going to look pretty outside of small stretches, but he's a functioning hitter without too many flaws.  The catch-22 involved is Castro's defense.  Over the last three years his caught stealing rates have been 35%, 10%, and 22%. By comparison, Dioner Navarro's have been 29%, 30%, 38%.

Obviously this would be a move for the now, but one that should not harm us in the future. The question would be whether the Rays are willing and should to slice into Navarro's playing time in acquiring Castro. The plan is to compete this year and stay competitive in future years, Navarro's projected wOBA for the entire season is down to .298 and the defensive difference may or may not make up for that difference. If you think Navarro ends up with around another 300 plate appearances and you give those to Castro with his projected wOBA, the difference is about eight runs, or nearly an entire win.

Even if it's not Castro, someone like him could make sense for the Rays. Especially if the only long-term affects are the next few months of low-end salary.

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