Marlins trade Castillo to Twins for two pitchers

MIAMI -- The Florida Marlins' payroll purge left a gaping
hole at second base Friday when they traded Luis Castillo to the
Minnesota Twins for two pitching prospects.

The departure of Castillo, a three-time All-Star and the
Marlins' career leader in six major categories, was the latest move
by the franchise to cut costs after repeated bids for a new
ballpark failed.

Slugger Carlos Delgado, ace Josh Beckett and third baseman Mike Lowell were traded last week, and center fielder Juan Pierre and
catcher Paul Lo Duca are on the block.

Minnesota gave up right-handers Travis Bowyer and Scott Tyler.
The Marlins plan to use the hard-throwing Bowyer in the bullpen
next season, while Tyler will begin the year in their minor-league
system, general manager Larry Beinfest said.

The deal appealed to the Twins because they had a surplus of
pitching prospects and a need for more offense from the infield.
The switch-hitting Castillo, 30, batted .301 last season, including
a major league-best .423 against left-handers, and won his third
consecutive Gold Glove.

"He certainly fills a lot of the attributes we were looking for
this winter," Twins general manager Terry Ryan said. "He's got a
lot of the things that anybody would want on their ballclub."

Castillo has spent his entire career in the Marlins organization
since signing in 1992. He's their all-time leader in games played
(1,128), runs (675), hits (1,273), triples (42), walks (533) and
stolen bases (281).

Limited this year by hip and quadriceps ailments, Castillo
played in 122 games but stole only 10 bases in 17 attempts.

"He has been a tremendous player in this organization for a
long time," Beinfest said. "It's obviously a tough trade to make,
but necessary given our market correction to our payroll."

With no new stadium on the horizon in South Florida, team
president David Samson announced last week that the Marlins would
dramatically reduce their payroll, which was $60 million at the
start of the 2005 season. He also said the team will consider
moving after the 2007 season, with Las Vegas and Portland, Ore.,
among the candidates.

Castillo's contract calls for him to make $5 million next season
and contains a $5.75 million club option for 2007 with a $500,000
buyout. The deal also includes a $2 million signing bonus deferred
until one year after the contract ends.

With three trades since last week, Florida has cut about $32
million from next year's payroll. On Thanksgiving Day, Florida
received seven prospects by trading Delgado to the New York Mets
and sending Lowell and Beckett to Boston.

More moves are possible at the winter meetings next week in

"Obviously we have been very active," Beinfest said. "I would
anticipate as we head to Dallas we're going to remain active."

Departing via free agency will be pitcher A.J. Burnett and right
fielder Juan Encarnacion. Shortstop Alex Gonzalez, closer Todd
Jones and infielder-outfielder Jeff Conine -- long known as "Mr.
Marlin" also may sign elsewhere.

Left-hander Dontrelle Willis and slugger Miguel Cabrera are the
only players from the 2003 World Series championship team likely to
still be with the Marlins next Opening Day.

Gonzalez and Castillo had been together since 1998, longer than
any other active double-play combination. Florida may swing a deal
to acquire a replacement for Castillo, Beinfest said.

"I would not rule out looking at a reasonable free agent or a
trade to fill the second base spot," he said.

The Marlins' so-called fire sale is their second in eight years.
Former owner Wayne Huizenga ordered a payroll purge after the team
won the 1997 World Series, and prospects acquired in subsequent
deals helped Florida win the title again in 2003 under current
owner Jeffrey Loria.

Now Florida is again loading up on prospects for new manager Joe

"He's going to have an energetic young team," Beinfest said.

Bowyer, 24, went 0-1 with a 5.59 ERA in eight games with the
Twins this past season, after going 4-2 with 23 saves and a 2.78
ERA in 59 games at Triple-A Rochester. He went 0-2 with one save
and a 9.39 ERA in 10 games for Grand Canyon in the Arizona Fall

Tyler, 23, went 7-8 with a 3.95 ERA in 23 starts with Single-A
Fort Myers.