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New York Mets History

New York Mets: Top ten worst free agent signings since 2000

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NEW YORK - JUNE 13: Luis Castillo #1 of the New York Mets runs to the dugout against the New York Yankees on June 13, 2009 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx Borough of New York City. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - JUNE 13: Luis Castillo #1 of the New York Mets runs to the dugout against the New York Yankees on June 13, 2009 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx Borough of New York City. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
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NEW YORK – JUNE 13: Luis Castillo #1 of the New York Mets reacts after he couldn’t make a play in the seventh inning against the New York Yankees on June 13, 2009 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx Borough of New York City. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

5) Luis Castillo

I can’t really blame the Mets for signing Luis Castillo to a 4 year, $25 million contract prior to the 2008 season. After he was traded to the Mets in 2007 right before the trade deadline, he slashed .297/.371/.372 and stole 10 bases in 50 games. Not great, but a nice player for the Mets to have at the keystone.

Castillo was also a veteran who was historically consistent. He would bat around .300, steal a lot of bases, and play above average defense. Every year he did that. Until he joined the Mets.

Castillo played just 87 games in 2008 due to injuries and being benched multiple times. He batted a mere .245 when he was actually on the field and managed just 11 extra base hits. His dWAR of -1.1 was also a career worst, which is really saying something since he only played half a season.

For the most part, Castillo turned things around in 2009. He played 142 games, slashed .302/.387/.346 and stole 20 bases. But, none of that seemed to matter because of one game that Castillo single-handedly blew on defense.

On June 12, 2009, Castillo dropped a pop-up from Alex Rodriguez that would have otherwise ended the game for a Mets victory over their crosstown rivals. Instead of the Mets winning, the play resulted in two Yankee runs and roughly a thousand tears from young Mets fans like me who were watching it live.

Castillo somehow snatched defeat from the jaws of victory that night, effectively erasing every positive thing he did for the Mets that season. This play wasn’t even an anomaly either. 2009 was another horrible defensive year for Castillo (-0.9 dWAR) who had previously won 3 consecutive gold gloves with the Marlins from 2003-2005 and played league average defense the next two years before becoming a Met.

Now that Castillo was a certified liability on both sides of the ball, nobody was excited to see him live out the rest of his contract. He played 86 excruciating games in 2010 slashing .235/.337/.267 with 6 extra base hits. Castillo was finally released in spring training before the 2011 season, putting an end to his major league career.

His time with the Mets was during a tumultuous period for the organization. The Mets were blowing playoff chances, players were getting hurt, and of course, the Bernie Madoff scandal was in full swing.

Castillo’s presence on their roster didn’t alleviate the pain from any of this. One can only wonder what else the Mets could have done with the $25 million they spent on Castillo.

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