Mets deal for Castillo
Twins move Gold Glover for two minor leaguers
Posted: Monday July 30, 2007 1:37PM; Updated: Monday July 30, 2007 8:46PM
The Twins received catcher Drew Butera, the son of former Twins catcher Sal Butera, and outfielder Dustin Martin in the deal, which SI.com first reported was in the works.
The Castillo trade, which filled a big hole at second base for the Mets, came on the same day the Atlanta Braves acquired star first baseman Mark Teixeira and reliever Ron Mahay from the Texas Rangers in a deal that is waiting only approval by the commissioner's office.
The Twins, on the fringe of the AL Central pennant race at 53-51 and 6½ games behind the Cleveland Indians in the wild-card hunt, had been debating whether to trade veterans. Castillo, who's batting .304 and has nine stolen bases, makes $5.75 million an is eligible for free agency after the season so the deal represents a decent salary savings for Minnesota.
Castillo didn't sound too excited about leaving the Twins.
"I'm not feeling too good, because I like the team. I think it can do a lot, and I had fun last year," said Castillo, who came in a December 2005 trade with the Florida Marlins. "It's a little hard, but I need to put it out of my mind and go over there and do my thing, do the best I can do."
Rookie Ruben Gotay has done a nice job since replacing the injured Jose Valentin at second base for the Mets. But New York has long been interested in Castillo and nearly signed him before the 2004 season, choosing instead to acquire Kaz Matsui. Castillo has had leg and knee issues in the past but it hasn't affected his play lately.
"He was going to be a guy that this winter we were probably going to look at as a free agent," said Mets GM Omar Minaya. "Now we have a better opportunity to look at him."
The Mets believe Castillo, 31, is a major upgrade defensively for them. They also showed some interest in Kansas City's Mark Grudzielanek and Houston's Mark Loretta as second-base options, before acquiring Castillo.
Butera is batting a combined .231 with six homers and 26 RBIs this year at Double-A Binghamton of the Eastern League and Class A St. Lucie of the Florida State League.
Martin is hitting a combined .289 with five homers and 52 RBIs for St. Lucie and the Golf Coast League Mets.
The Twins recalled infielder Alexi Casilla to replace Castillo. Casilla hit .233 with two RBIs and four stolen bases in 14 games earlier this year with the Twins.
With Casilla, current third baseman Nick Punto and top prospect Matt Tolbert, Twins GM Terry Ryan said he's satisfied with what the team has at second and third for the future. He also said he was comfortable enough with Casilla that the Twins can still stay in the playoff chase despite losing their leadoff hitter.
"No, we're not giving up at all," Ryan said. "We're 6½ games back, and we're better than we were last week. If we didn't think we could absorb this, we certainly wouldn't have done it."
The Associated Press contributed to this story.