No Blockade on Castro
Earlier today, the beleagured (and beerleaguered) Phils traded AA starting pitcher Daniel Haigwood, one of the left-handed spoils of the Jim Thome deal, to the Texas Rangers for a another lefty, diminutive Dominican Fabio Castro. Reaction from the blogosphere has not been mixed. In fact, its been the purest of concoctions: terrible trade and senseless act are probably the two best qualifiers. Heck, even we were stunned at first, sounding in our own head like a certain manager out of explanation. Why trade a starter prospect when we need starters? Why fortify the bullpen when its the closest thing to a redeeming quality among a mid-season nosedive? Why pick up a half-pint Rule 5er?
Not so fast on the Castro damnation. It looks like the front office wanted to promote a few pitchers (Happ to AA, Maloney/Carrasco to Clearwater) and in order to do that, someone had to be moved. Maybe Haigwood could have gone to AAA, or maybe, with Floyd, Brito (bleh), etc., already there, perhaps he became expendable. Let's be honest, Haigwood and his 87 mph fastball was a long shot for the big league rotation anyway and never really considered for relief. He was the least valuable piece of the Thome trade from the start. Who's to say flipping him for something in a newer, slightly different model isn't at least a defensible move? Actually, this deal might make some marginal sense. Here's what the BA handbook had to say about Castro:
After Chicago left Castro off its 40-man roster, he raised his profile with a strong winter in the Dominican League. His fastball was better than ever, sitting at 91-93 mph and touching 94. He was nearly untouchable down the stretch in high Class A, not allowing an earned run while striking out 16 in his final 14 innings. Castro compliments his fastball with a good changeup that acts like a splitter at times. He also has a tight curveball with downward spin and a good feel for pitching. Despite his slight frame, Castro is durable and wants the ball every day. His delivery is clean and has some deception, though he needs to work on staying more upright so his stuff doesn't flatten out. His stuff is good enough for him to start, but he profiles as a lefthanded power arm out of the bullpen because of his size.
Sure, we still need a catcher, a third baseman, a bench, starting pitching, and a coaching staff, but this deal is not a slam dunk minus. No one expects the Phils to hang onto Cormier or Rhodes or both for very long. While other needs may be more pressing, this might make some longer-term sense. Don't be blinded by the abhorrent current state of the big club. This was not a senseless act.
By the way, we're still not paying attention.