The Mets need a second baseman, which is exactly why they should not let Starlin Castro leave the Big Apple.
When the Marlins put their MVP slugger Giancarlo Stanton on the trade block the rumor mill lit up. There were all sorts of connections made to several teams across both leagues. For the Mets, the connection is the one big league player going to Miami—Starlin Castro.
The Mets were never going to be a legitimate contender for Stanton’s services for a multitude of reasons. First, the money. Stanton’s contract is borderline insane for an MLB franchise to take on considering he will be owed $218 million after his 30-year-old season.
There’s no way the prudent Mets would take on that albatross of a deal. Then there was the prospect cost. The Mets farm system is considered depleted at this point in time, so giving away a top prospect or two would be unreasonable.
And finally, there was the no-trade clause that Stanton controlled. The Mets did not make the shortlist of teams he was interested in playing for.
— Deadspin (@Deadspin) December 8, 2017
Even if Stanton made sense for the Mets on the field, none of those factors made sense for the team off of it. But the Yankees are not the Mets. They went all in and have now added Stanton to their already elite lineup.
Castro, Devers, Guzman for Stanton and $30M pending physical. #Yankees doing thorough work up so might not be finalized until tomorrow or Monday
— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) December 9, 2017
Because the Yankees have deep pockets, it only cost them two prospects (one in their top 10, per MLB.com) and Castro, who has two years left on his deal worth $21 million with a club option for $16 million in 2020.
Starlin is coming off a career year in 2017, slashing .300/.338/.454 with 16 HR and 63 RBI. His OPS of .792 was also a career-high and good enough for eighth among MLB second basemen in 2017.
The Mets absolutely need to add an infield bat for 2018. Asdrubal Cabrera is back to play third base and Wilmer Flores‘ bat will be needed at first base with the uncertainty surrounding Dominic Smith.
This leaves a gaping hole at second base. The Marlins will be looking to move Castro at some point during the year, due to the $21 million left on his contract and their desire to cut payroll.
That contract will make him an affordable asset that the Mets can acquire without mortgaging their farm system.
Castro’s defense will never be elite at the position, but he is a former shortstop so he possesses the physical tools to be a capable glove at second base. His bat makes up most of his value being that he is a career .282 hitter.
He has always been a steady player in the box, hitting double-digit home runs in seven straight seasons. This year he took that to another level, swatting 16 home runs, the second-most of his career, in only 112 games and in a career-low 443 at-bats. If not for injuries, he would have likely broken the 20 home run barrier and set a career high in RBI.
At 27 years of age, Castro will hit the open market at the age of 30 or 31. The buying opportunity for a 27-year-old at a position of need is something the Mets should not let slip by.