You can make the case that if Carlos Beltran and Luis Castillo didn’t come off the DL simultaneously and into the line up, the Mets would be playing meaningful games in September.
Let me state that I am a big Carlos Beltran Fan. I like him on the Mets because when he’s 100%, he can be a great player. I think he can still make a major impact a line-up and can be a force on the bases, not to mention his defense in the outfield. When he is on top of his game, he is that 5 tool player that every team wants. On the complete contrary, I never wanted Luis Castillo back 2 years ago when he was a free agent; when Omar signed him again, I still can’t for the life of me figure out why he gave him a 3 year contract.
I broke into a cold sweat when our own Mr. North Jersey posted a Carlos Beltran Return picture along with his entrance music. I didn’t want to see Beltran back in the line-up for at least another month, I knew he wasn’t ready. But there were factors and circumstances to deal with and I know that these might have sped up his rehab. For the sake of argument, let’s revisit these in the Met Season. The Mets were stumbling poorly in the Offense department right before the All-Star Break. Reyes had just went down in Puerto Rico and the Mets were losing games in all sorts of ways. Besides Santana’s starts, the Met pitching was sporadic. The Offense became a magic trick that would show up and disappear like a rabbit out of hat. The All-Star break came and the Mets announced that Beltran and Castillo, who was also on the DL with a bad foot, were ready to play. Castillo was to bat in the bottom of the line-up and Beltran was to bat 4th.
I wrote back in July that both these players should not be in the line up together and that Beltran should NOT bat in the clean up spot. The results speak for themselves.
Carlos Beltran would hit .204 in the month of July batting 4th, he collected 5 RBI’s and accumulated 11 hits in 54 at bats. Meanwhile, Castillo would bat .214 with no RBI’s and only get 9 hits at 42 at bats. This was not the Calvary to say the least, it was more like giving a sick man another virus. We all know how tough it was for the Mets to hit before these two came off the DL but now it was even worse. Lets throw in the fact that Beltran was to play with a knee brace that would not only hinder his ability to hit but also limit his range in the outfield. So was Beltran the same player he was last year? Absolutely not, not at the plate and not in the field. Do you disagree? Who would you like to see patrolling Center? Let me guess…Angel Pagan?
As far as Castillo is concerned, Omar should have released him as soon as he went on the DL. He is a broken down second basemen who hits for no power and is defensively challenged and yet he was to bump young Rubin Tejada, who will all knew couldn’t hit, but could play the position. If Omar released Castillo, it would’ve made it easier to bat Beltran lower in the line-up and have him work on getting his swing back. But the Mets were unable to do that because Castillo would occupy that very spot to try to do the very same thing.
The results were to much of a coincidence to ignore With these two players back on the field, the energy seem to evaporate, players went into slumps since everyone, except for Reyes was displaced. Writers all over began saying things like “chemistry and attitude” that was now different in the clubhouse.
I just think there were two players that should not of been in the line up together.
When the Mets played pre-Beltran/Castillo, they were fun and energetic, they had a good feeling about them and generally were exciting to watch. Pagan played a great center field and now had established himself as a bonafide fielder. I wrote before Beltran was to come off the DL that he should consider what is right for his own team and play in Right Field. Remember what a big deal everyone made when Tori Hunter switched positions in outfield? We all read it and I guess Beltran didn’t or the Mets never ever considered the switch. If anything, Beltran needed more time in Triple A to just get ready. In my opinion, he is still not 100% and that knee brace just gives me more confidence about that statement.
Should it be the end of Carlos and the Mets? Honestly, no. Not if Beltran is a 100%. If he loses the knee brace there is no reason why he should play center in 2011- as long as he’s back. If the brace is still on, put him in Right and let him play. It is his contact year and you know he wants to play for either the Mets or another team so he will be extra motivated. Castillo is all but done with the Mets, I think he knows it as well.
But until then, we have to look at the Phillie fans waving Phillie Hankies at a sold out games and the watch attendants at Citi Field ask all the fans to move down toward field level.