You only get one chance to make a first impression on your next employer and yesterday Luis Castillo got off to a bad start with the Phillies. He signed a minor league contract with the team on Monday and was already in Florida. The team thought he would arrive to Clearwater in time to play in the game and he was already penciled in as the starting 2nd baseman for yesterday’s game. But when the Phillies looked around, there was something missing. Castillo was not in Clearwater. You would think that a player who was released by a team like the Mets and be signed by a World Series contending team would be running as fast as he could to Clearwater.
The Phillies decision to sign former Mets 2nd baseman was mainly met with negative reviews. They saw the accusation as a low risk high reward that could fill in to Utley until he returns. Castillo struggled last year but hit .302 with a .387 OBP in 2009. Castillo will get the chance to win a job on the team but he will get one less day than we originally thought. Amaro has already stated that he will not spend time in the minors, its either he makes the big league team or he is let go. If he is cut, the team will owe him practically nothing but if he makes the team. He will just be owed the veterans minimum. Charlie Manuel was puzzled at Castillo being a no show, yesterday he talked with reporters about Castillo’s absence.
"If it was me? I'd have been here two days ago. But it's not me."
Amaro said that his absence was a “miscommunication” and it wasn’t a big deal. But I can’t help but think that this is going to have some impact on whether he makes the team. It looks like Castillo was already fighting an uphill battle and now he will have one less day to impress the Phillies. I believe that he will have to really standout during his brief addition in order to have a chance at making the team.
"We'll just have to evaluate him one less day; I just talked to him a couple minutes ago.” Amaro said “He’s excited to get here. I talked to the agent and I talked to him. He's looking forward to getting here."
Assuming Chase will start the season on the disabled list, there looks to be two bench spots still up for grabs with at least 4 players battling it out. Right now I think Barfield, Young, Martinez, Castillo and maybe even Pete Orr have a shot. As of right now, I would say Barfield continues to have an inside track at one of the final spots. He has spent some time at 3rd and Center Field over the last few spring games. He is batting .316 and has shown a good combination of power in speed. I believe that Barfield playing some Center is a sign that the team would like to keep Rule 5 accusation Michael Martinez on the roster. He has been getting a lot of playing time recently and the team seems to like him. Martinez plays solid defense and has showed he can swing the bat. Right now I think Castillo is number 4 on that list will have to earn his way onto the team. At this point in his career, he is just a singles hitters who will provide little to no power. It has also been rumored that he has lost a step and he doesn’t have great range at 2nd. Another drawback is his inability to play any position other than 2nd base.
Even if he wins the starting job, he would provide little value when Utley returns. Castillo was also rumored to be a bad club house influence and would not accept a backup role with a lot of class. So far in his first game as a Phillie, he has done very little to convince anyone he can contribute. In 4 at bats today, he is 0-4 with 4 men left on base. The Phillies hope to catch lighting in a bottle with Castillo and hope he can return to his 2009 form. But that appears to remain a long shot.