Big League Stew - MLB

It's often amusing when the Philadelphia Phillies raid the New York Mets discard pile for a player.

The tactic worked out famously in the cases of Tug McGraw, Lenny Dykstra and Rico Brogna.  And to a lesser extent for Pedro Martinez(notes), Wilson Valdez(notes) and others. Whatever happens, the cross-pollination usually gets the teams' respective fans sniping at each other.

But with star Chase Utley(notes) on the shelf for an unknown period because of a knee injury, Phillies GM Ruben Amaro seems willing to reach a little deeper into the deck for possible fixes to the second base problem.

Enter: Luis Castillo(notes).

The Mets had cut Castillo on Friday, still owing him $6 million of the $25 million they paid him since 2008. The Phillies, who signed Castillo to a minor league contract, won't have to bother with any of that. If Castillo makes the major league roster, they'll pay him the league minimum — $414,000.

If Castillo doesn't make the Phillies opening-day roster — possible considering the negative reviews of his performance in Mets camp — Philly probably will go with Wilson Valdez (another ex-Mets player) at second base. Josh Barfield(notes), Pete Orr(notes), Michael Martinez(notes) and Delwyn Young(notes) also are in Phillies camp.

One tidbit from Todd Zolecki's blog about Castillo signing with Philly: Utley has shown enough improvement in recent days that a June return might be possible.

"You know what? He's getting a little better," Charlie Manuel said of Utley this afternoon. "It's not coming real fast, but he's showing — according to the doctors and trainers — he's starting to get better. It seems like it's going to take a while, though."

June is a long time to go without your second baseman. But here's the real question: The Phillies have been in the market for a lefty reliever for a while. Does that mean they'll be in on Oliver Perez(notes)?

The Mets made more news Monday, announcing they were releasing Perez, who is owed $12 million on his contract. This has been a painfully expensive 72 hours for the Mets.

Stranger things have happened. The Phillies need a lefty. They've always shown a willingness to take what the Mets no longer want. Imagine if the Phillies sign Oliver Perez and it works out?

But Amaro can't possibly be that desperate, can he?

Follow Dave on Twitter — @AnswerDave — and check out the Stew on Facebook for more coverage.

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