Free Agent Madness
Here’s a signing that won’t get much notice but exemplifies why groups of fans on the outside often feel like the “old school” way of doing things is just so far out of touch with reality that it defies logic.
Juan Castro signed a two year, $2 million contract with the Twins. $1 million a year isn’t that much money for a major league player, really. Its only three times the league minimum. Overall, a pretty minor contract in the budget of the Twins. But look at Castro’s career.
1599 major league at-bats. Career line? .226/.269/.331. That’s worse than Ramon Santiago (.234/.303/.317) and far worse than Willie Bloomquist (.268/.329/.355). It’s worse than what Scott Spiezio (.215/.288/.346) hit last year.
The best comparison for Castro’s career offensive performance? The 2003 and 2004 versions of Jeff Cirillo. So let’s not kid ourselves; Juan Castro cannot hit. At all. He’s not even a replacement level hitter. He’s as close to an automatic out as you’re going to find at the major league level.
Now here’s the kicker. The Twins signed him to lock up his age 33 and 34 seasons, where he’s likely to decline, if that’s even possible. Imagine giving a two year contract to Jeff Cirillo right now.
Sure, Juan Castro can play some nice defense. But there isn’t a level of human defensive performance imaginable that could compensate for his abilities at the plate. Even in his prime, his glove was good enough to make him about as good as most Triple-A players. Now, as he slowly slips into being a shell of his former self, he’s going to collect $2 million from the Twins for the right to make their team worse.
Terry Ryan has done a lot of good things in Minnesota. But I just can’t imagine any justification for giving Juan Castro a two year contract. Just brutal.