Yesterday, while the Giants were losing a baseball game in a completely expected way before losing it in an unexpected way, Ken Rosenthal tweeted that the Giants were very interested in Rusney Castillo. On Wednesday, we have confirmation of the rumor from Jon Heyman, who adds a new wrinkle:
There is said to be urgency on the part of some teams involved in talks, especially the Tigers and Giants who could use him in the pennant race.
The Giants didn't make a deadline trade after acquiring Jake Peavy, which was surprising and a little curious. Here, though, they could trade money and some money to be spent later for some immediate help. It's just crazy enough to work.
It's impossible not to be skeptical, though. The Giants just don't seem like the kind of organization that would give meaningful at-bats to a player they've never seen before. At least, a player they've never seen against major-league pitching before.
Consider the curious case of Buster Posey, rookie. The Giants scored a combined 14 runs in the 2009 season, all on balks. They had a catcher with a .285 on-base percentage in the majors (he was the cleanup hitter), and a catcher going bonkers in the the minors. They brought the minor leaguer up in September, with the Giants a game behind the wild-card leading Rockies. That rookie appeared in just seven of the Giants' last 33 games, only starting four when the Giants were out of the race. He was an unknown. Can't have those mucking around. He didn't start. He didn't pinch-hit. It literally took him more than a week to get an at-bat.
Dang, I'm all fired up again. Maybe that tough love is the only reason the Giants won the World Series the next year. Maybe it's me who was wrong. Still, that all reads like science fiction in 2014.
The Giants were terrified to give Posey at-bats in a pennant race because he was unproven. The part about him being a catcher set him apart, so it's not an apples/apples comparison to an outfielder or a first baseman. The Brandon Belt/Aubrey Huff wars of '11 and '12 might be a better starting point, but it turns out that Belt really did have an aversion to suggestions regarding his swing, so I'm not sure how to sort through any of that mess.
The point stands: I can't imagine the Giants handing over a roster spot and saying, "Here. Do something." Not to a rookie. And certainly not to a rookie who hasn't played in more than a year. And certainly certainly not to a player who has never played professionally in the United States.
Correction: I could see them giving Castillo 20 at-bats and then sitting him if he didn't hit. But even that's unlikely. This isn't to say the Giants aren't in on Castillo, or that they don't have interest in him for the 2015 season. It just seems completely out of character for them to consider him as someone who could help this season, before they've had a chance to see him against minor league pitching, even.
Daniel Carbonell has been a 50-PA revelation in San Jose, so maybe the Giants are feeling emboldened on the international front. Hey, I'm convinced if they're convinced. Consider me skeptical, though, toward the idea that they're looking at Castillo for anything other than future seasons.
Of course, the Heyman article mentions the Yankees see Castillo as a second baseman. Maybe the Giants do, too. Once you've experimented with Dan Uggla, boy, all sorts of inhibitions go away. They'll try Bill Hall again if they need to.