Should the Mets go after Starlin Castro or Josh Harrison?

PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 21: Josh Harrison
PITTSBURGH, PA - AUGUST 21: Josh Harrison /
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Both Starlin Castro and Josh Harrison are attractive options at second base if the Mets are able to pull off a deal, but the latter is slightly more enticing.

The Mets are still searching for a second baseman to help fill the void left by Neil Walker this season. I don’t think any of us really want Asdrubal Cabrera playing there anytime soon, so the Mets will undoubtedly have to check into potential trades or free agents to address this need.

Two names that have been circling around the Mets sphere are Starlin Castro of the Miami Marlins, and Josh Harrison of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Both would need to be traded for which obviously puts some roadblocks for a deal to happen, but it’s not entirely impossible.

HOUSTON, TX – OCTOBER 21: Starlin Castro
HOUSTON, TX – OCTOBER 21: Starlin Castro /

How good has Castro been lately?

Castro was traded this offseason to the Marlins from New York in that blockbuster traded to put Giancarlo Stanton in pinstripes. He has made his displeasure known this week and has asked for a trade. The fact that an obvious rebuild is underway in south Florida being the motivating factor behind his request, Castro will probably be moved at some point before the season kicks off. Whoever lands him will have a pretty good second baseman that can also play on the other side of the diamond.

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Castro has a .733 OPS over the eight years he’s been in the league as a member of the Cubs and Yankees. He had a career year offensively with the long ball in the Bronx in 2016 when he hit 21 home runs on a .270 average. Last season, he didn’t go deep as much, but his batting average improved to .300 while still hitting 16 home runs. From a middle infield position, this was still pretty great.

The former Cubs second baseman is signed through 2020 with a guaranteed $10 million this season, $11 million in 2019, and a team option of a whopping $16 million for 2020. If that option isn’t picked up, a $1 million buyout would have to be paid.

Defense is where Castro unfortunately lacks. For most of his career, Castro has been below average defensively. He’s young, it’s true, but at 28, his range doesn’t seem to be getting better. In 2017, he posted a -5.9 UZR at second base. While this may have to do with the fact that his natural position was shortstop, it’s still a shame that Castro hasn’t been able to adjust to the other side of the diamond.

With the Mets, Castro would likely never play shortstop with Amed Rosario patrolling it for most of the time going forward, so it would be best if the Mets acquired a better second baseman to compliment Rosario’s style.

To understand just how bad Castro was at second base statistically in 2017, we can just look at Asdrubal Cabrera who actually posted a 0.9 UZR at second base. Granted, he played a third of the total number of innings that Castro did, so small size alert, but it’s still pretty shocking overall.

This is arguably one of the biggest reasons why the other trade option the Mets could be looking at in Josh Harrison is probably a better choice.