1.) Starlin Castro is a young Derek Jeter.
2.) Braden Looper is the best story in Cubs camp.
3.) Michael Young is a Cubs difference maker.
1.) However unfortunate, it’s likely Starlin Castro will never play in 147 postseason games or win five world championships like Derek Jeter. But that doesn’t mean Castro can’t reach the level of the Yankees’ captain.
If healthy, Castro has all the tools necessary to match, if not surpass, the sparkling career statistics of Jeter, a career which I belive is HOF worthy.
Some say Jeter is over-rated, that he’s a product of the Steinbrenner money-machine playing in the game’s largest market. But I’m not one of those people.
To me, Jeter is the ultimate pro, a true leader, and above all else—a winner. He has the stats, the rings and the respect of his peers to back it up. What Derek Jeter means to the Yankees as a player, teammate, and captain is exactly what Starlin Castro should be striving to achieve with the Cubs.
What’s more, while it took Jeter multiply championships to become a true Yankee, Castro needs only one ring with Chicago to become forever a legend.
2.) Braden Looper is the best story in spring camp. He’s giving it one last go-round to extend his career—either make the Cubs’ rotation or go home.
I love the guy’s mentality, his all or nothing attitude. There’s no question we’re seeing his best effort every time out. And thus far, it’s been pretty good from the 36-year-old.
You add Looper to the Cubs’ rotation and we’re looking at a starter who’s won 12 or more games during his last three seasons. A guy who’s won on good teams, bad teams and managed to last 12-years in the bigs as both a closer and a starter.
After taking the 2010 season off to recover from knee surgery, the vet’s rested, healthy and capable of being a reliable fifth starter for the Cubs. Meaning if Randy Wells or Carlos Silva slip in the final two weeks of spring training, Looper may very well find himself on the Cubs’ Opening Day roster. And that might not be a bad thing.
3.) As long as Michael Young remains a Texas Ranger there’s still a chance Jim Hendry lands the six-time All Star before April 1st.
The improvement of adding Young to second base over Blake DeWitt and Jeff Baker is obvious, but this deal won’t come easily. Young makes big-time money, $16M, over the next three years, and the Cubs would likely part with more big league ready prospects to get him. So is Young worth it? Well, I think so.
Adding Young immediately puts the Cubs in contention the win the Central. Win the division and anything can happen in the postseason (see Gaints, 2010).
I’ve continuously stressed a win-now mode for the Cubs. Its window for winning before a complete rebuild mode is nearly shut. And while I understand the price is high, as is the risk of acquiring a 34-year-old, I also can’t stand more talk of the Cubs building for the future.
Young, of course, is no guarantee the Cubs make October, but how much would you give to see the Cubs play in November? Does that happen with Baker or DeWitt?