In a surprise decision, the New York Mets decided to cut their six-million-dollar second baseman Luis Castillo.

This came despite a respectable spring training for the 35-year-old, where he posted a .286 batting average and .355 on-base percentage.

The explanation the Mets front office gave for the sudden dismissal of Castillo was that the team was in need of cutting down the second baseman competition.

With the most experienced player at that particular position now packing his bags, New York is left with no true standout to win the second-base job. The race is between former Oriole Justin Turner and journeyman Luis Hernandez, as well as Daniel Murphy and minor-league prospect Brad Emaus.

The standout favorites to win this position as of now are Hernandez and Emaus, with the latter being the one with the most hype.

Hernandez was beginning to get into a rhythm last September before going down with a foot injury in the middle of that month. He batted .250 with two home runs, six runs batted in and four runs before being sidelined for the remainder of the 2010 season.

Emaus is a career minor-league player who was a late-round selection by Mets rivals the Atlanta Braves in the 2004 amateur draft. New York acquired Emaus in a deal last season with the Blue Jays, who owned his contract at the time. The young man from Kalamazoo, Michigan had an impressive 2010 in the minors, posting a .272 batting average with AA New Hampshire and then a .298 average with AAA Las Vegas.

With the release of Luis Castillo, the Mets have blown the second-base job wide open and opened the door for one of the team’s several young ballplayers to seize the opportunity at a starting position.

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