New York Mets Spring Training Nuggets: Castillo, Capuano, Dickey

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     Happy Sunday everyone, and welcome back to the Queens Courier Mets blog! Well, the seemingly inevitable has happened. On Friday, a move that may have been in the works all winter finally came to fruition. After failing to make a profound impression this spring, Sandy Alderson and his crew finally made the decision to hand beleaguered second baseman Luis Castillo his walking papers.

     Was this the right move? Yes, I certainly think so. Not one candidate for the Mets second baseman job – Justin Turner, Daniel Murphy, Brad Emaus, Luis Hernandez, and Castillo himself – has been flat-out incredible this spring. No one has run away with the job by any means, which is what management was hoping someone would do. With Castillo set to earn 6 million this year, his only hope was to win the 2B gig. He’s never played any other position in his career, not even designated hitter, so sticking him on the bench to provide depth there wouldn’t be logical. A utility infielder who can play other positions is much more ideal, so it was starter or bust. And like Alderson has said, the fanbase’s severe disapproval of the man played a big role, which tells me that that intangible combined with Oliver Perez’s latest outing has all but assured him of his upcoming release. All in all, I have to give kudos to the new Mets management. With this move, they’ve proven that they are not handcuffing themselves when it comes to building the best 25-man roster possible. Salaries and past achievements are being thrown out the window, and that’s where they belong. Castillo is a one-dimensional player, a shell of his former self, has the fans totally against him, and owns an unjustified contract to boot. He had way too much working against him, and cutting ties is the best move for both the Mets and for Luis. Hopefully, Perez is the next in line for this treatment. Solid move by the Mets.

     While one player’s spring display guaranteed himself a spot off the roster, another player’s spring play has cemented his name onto it. That man is Chris Capuano, who will serve as the Mets #5 starter in 2011. While it’s not a large sample of work, the numbers certainly look appealing. In 10 and two-thirds innings, Capuano put up a 1.69 ERA, as well as a 1.03 WHIP, striking out 5 in the process. I firmly believe that even though Chris Young – who’s had a tremendous spring – was said to be "fighting" for a rotation spot, he was never not going to be in the front five, and the final spot was more or less a two horse race between Capuano and Dillon Gee. Management is high on Gee (perhaps not as high as they are on Jenrry Mejia however) and likely feels he needs some more "seasoning" at the AAA level. It was Capuano’s job to lose, and that he did not. We’ll see Mejia and Gee in the rotation someday, but for now, say hey to Young and Capuano for the time being.

     And finally, I’d like to just express some concerns over one player. Perhaps they’re premature, perhaps they aren’t, but with all the hard luck the Mets have faced over the last handful of years, I feel it’s better to err on the side of caution instead of assuming all will be well and end up getting burned in the end. This one player is RA Dickey. He was fantastic last year. In fact, he was so darn good for the Mets, the team decided to reward his performance with a new 2-year contract. This spring, he really hasn’t been impressive, with a 5.25 ERA in 12 innings pitched. Now I’m on the fence with this. His spring training numbers from last season are definitely worse than 2011’s, but that was all moot with the killer numbers he posted in the big leagues. Should we just pay his spring numbers no mind, and just anticipate more success when the games count? I worry, since Dickey hasn’t ever demonstrated he can do what he did last year over and over again. Also, there’s been some talk that the Florida weather is what’s been affecting Dickey’s performance. If that’s the case, how do you explain the Grapefruit League numbers he posted 2 seasons ago with Minnesota, which were off-the-charts awesome? I can’t say that Dickey is going to be at the level he was on last season, but I also can’t say right off the bat that he’s a fluke and will revert to his pre-2010 form. All I’m saying is that his spring training numbers have worried me a bit considering his past major league numbers haven’t been great, and until I see him succeed consistently start after start, I will be a tad nervous.

     What does everyone else have to say? Happy the Mets have finally washed Castillo right out of their hair? Is the writing on the wall for Perez after yesterday’s dud of an outing? Are you satisfied with Chris Capuano as the Mets 5th starter, and have you any reservations about whether or not RA Dickey can replicate his 2010 numbers? Comment your thoughts and opinions below, and as always my good friends, thank you for dropping by to read!