While the Phillies deliberate Jimmy Rollins’ pulled calf, let’s get reacquainted with the backup plan.
“Soft hands.” You’ve seen this used in tandem with other terms. “Student of the game” comes to mind. There’s an unfortunate truth about jargon like this: it’s used to dress up a pig. Juan Castro is deceptively older than former Eric Bruntlett back-up Miguel Cairo and has washed out at the Major League level just as many times. Despite receiving the “soft hands” endorsement from Larry Bowa, Chris Wheeler and others, he’s a soon-to-be-38, flat-footed dire downgrade from J-Roll who kept his career alive by pulling a .277/.311/.339 from his rear end in 121 plate appearances with LA. My scouting sources say he has Ross Gload speed. Yet, the Phillies were motivated enough to sign him to a $900K Major League deal very early this spring. Then, as if they thought better of it, signed a couple of quad-A types in Wilson Valdez and Cody Ransom to minor league deals, younger players who might possibly have more to offer than Castro at this stage of the game. Jim Salisbury reported yesterday that Valdez, who will be 32 in May, impressed the Phillies this spring. He’s off to a good start in Lehigh Valley, hitting .455/.520/.455 with two stolen bases in the early going. The club has also stashed shortstop Brian Bocock on the 40-man roster. Bocock, a light-hitting 25-year-old, opened the season as Lehigh’s regular shortstop, with Valdez spending time at second.
Costanzo lands across the river: Archbishop Carroll graduate and 2005 Phillies second-round pick Mike Costanzo has signed with the independent Camden Riversharks.