Castillo on Cubs Radar?

Much of the talk over the past week has been the Cubs closing in on a deal with Kaz Matsui. The Cubs have made it no secret they are looking to add speed and a left-handed bat. Ken Rosenthal mentioned in ‘Around the Horn the Cubs “are considering free-agent second basemen Luis Castillo and Kaz Matsui.” According to Rosenthal, the Astros and Mets are interested in Castillo while the Rockies are looking to resign Matsui.

The other piece from the rumor mill on Sunday is the Red Sox interest in Kerry Wood. According to the Boston Globe, “Wood is trying to work something out with the Cubs.” But if Wood does not resign with the Cubs, Wood could fill the need for a power arm the Red Sox were looking for in their bullpen when they traded for Eric Gagne last season.

Updated – 11:51am C.T. – Much has been made about the Cubs possibility of signing Kaz Matsui. The Cubs are rumored to be very interested in signing Kosuke Fukudome and signing Matsui might make it a little easier on the outfielder to make the transition to the Major Leagues. Several reports came out of Japan this week stating Fukudome might opt to stay in Japan and play with the fabled Tokyo Giants. Could the Cubs looking at Luis Castillo be Jim Hendry’s ‘Plan B’?

Luis Castillo just turned 32 in September (September 12, 1975) and has a career batting average of .294 with a career OBP of .368 and a OPS (combined slugging and on-base percentage) of .726. Castillo will not give the Cubs much power (24 career home runs in 1405 at bats over 12 seasons) but will give the Cubs a dependable switch hitter at the top of the lineup with the ability to get on base on a regular basis.

Castillo played in 135 games last season with the Twins and the Mets (.301 average with a .362 OBP, a .359 SLG and a .721 OPS). He hit .304 with a .356 OBP in Minnesota and .296 with a .371 OBP with the Mets in 50 games. In the field, Castillo had a .991 fielding percentage in 2007, 5 errors in 573 total chances.

Here are the important numbers…. In 29 career games at Wrigley, Castillo has a .353 average (41-for-116) with a .414 OBP and a .491 SLG with a OPS of .905 with 7 doubles and 3 home runs.

Kaz Matsui just turned 32 in October (October 23, 1975), like Castillo, Matsui is a switch hitter. Last season with the Rockies was by far the best of his Major League career. Matsui hit .288 with a .342 OBP, a .405 SLG and a .746 OPS in 104 games. The most games Matsui has played in a single season was 114 in 2004….his first year with the Mets.

The concerning offensive numbers on Matsui is his home-road splits. In 2006 he hit just .200 with a .235 OBP in 38 games with the Mets before being traded to the Rockies for Eli Marrero on June 9th. Matsui then hit .345 with a .392 OBP in 32 games for the Rockies. Last season Matsui hit .330 with a .381 OBP, a .482 SLG and a .864 OPS in 49 games at Coors Field. In 55 games on the road….Matsui hit .249 with a .304 OBP and a .333 SLG with a .638 OPS. All 4 of his home runs were hit at Coors Field.

Now for the important numbers…. In 11 career games at Wrigley, Matsui has a .262 average (11-for-42) with a .295 OBP, a .476 SLG and a .772 OPS….1 double, 1 triple and 2 home runs.

Let the debate begin….

Quote of the Day

"You can’t sit on a lead and kill the clock. You’ve got to give the other man his chance. That’s why baseball is the greatest game." - Earl Weaver