Phillies agree to deal with Castro
Utility man to fill Bruntlett's shoes for club next season
PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies have found their replacement for utility infielder Eric Bruntlett.
They have agreed to a one-year deal with Juan Castro, who hit .277 with one home run and nine RBIs in 112 at-bats last season with the Dodgers. Castro's agent, Oscar Suarez, said Tuesday that "we're closing in on something." But a source said an announcement could come next week after Castro takes his physical.
It is a one-year deal worth less than $1 million, plus a 2011 club option.
"Who doesn't like the Phillies as an organization?" Suarez said. "You want to win. And who doesn't like Juan Castro? You want to have a superb utility man to back up the guys you have up the middle. We're trying to put this thing together. I think we're going to get it done."
Castro, 37, is a career .230 hitter in 15 seasons in the Majors with the Dodgers, Reds, Twins and Orioles. He played shortstop, second base, third base and left field last season with the Dodgers. He has played 538 games in his career at shortstop. He also has played 251 games at third base, 241 games at second base, seven games at first base and three games in left field.
The Phillies have needed somebody who can play shortstop for a significant stretch since they recently removed Bruntlett from the 40-man roster to allow him to become a free agent. They currently have no player like that in the system who is big league ready.
Other teams had expressed interest in Castro, according to Suarez. FOXSports.com reported that the Phillies and Dodgers were Castro's top pursuers.
"[The Phillies] probably need a guy who can play shortstop if Jimmy Rollins needs a day off or he gets thrown out of a game or he needs a break at the end of a game," Suarez said. "It makes a lot of sense. When you're a veteran player, you want to win. That's why he is enjoying the Dodgers. The last two years with the Phillies speak for itself."
Suarez could not give a timetable for when a deal might be reached, but it sounds like a formality.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.