I’ve always been in favor of the Cubs building around Starlin Castro, which is why I’m thrilled the team is close to locking him up with a long-term contract extension: 7-yr, $60M.
I’m not blind to Castro’s faults. His mental gaffes are extremely concerning. His fielding needs to improve, as does his plate discipline. Both have been better this season, but there’s significant progress left to be achieved in both areas.
However, for a kid who’s sparkled since his major league debut, Starlin is about as close to a sure-thing as you’ll find on a Cubs roster fit for a 100-loss season. And that’s exactly what the Cubs need to build around–not trade away–in the coming years.
WHO ELSE CAN THE CUBS COUNT ON?
While Anthony Rizzo appears poised to reach the level of success Castro has, we’ve yet to see him play a full major league season. Bryan LaHair, unfortunately, fizzled out in late May. Darwin Barney appears to be a very good, but not great player at second base. Brett Jackson, Josh Vitters, Steve Clevenger, Welington Castillo…who knows how these guys pan out?
Meanwhile, in a few short weeks Castro will have nearly three full seasons under his belt at age 22. That alone speaks to his natural talent.
He’s already made two All Star appearances, led the league in hits in 2011 (207) and shows all the signs of becoming a super-star player.
Castro, for better or worse, is the face of the Cubs franchise. Or perhaps better said, the face of the Cubs rebuild. Why wouldn’t you lock Castro up long-term?
A SMART DEAL FOR BOTH PARTIES
The reported deal buys out Castro’s four arbitration years and his three free agents years. If all goes as planned there’s even an option year for the 2020 season for $16M.
Additionally, Team Theo’s ‘no-trade’ policy is just one of several important factors in Starlin’s new deal.
- 1.) It relieves any unnecessary pressure off Castro to perform under looming contract negotiations.
- 2.) Paying Starlin now is likely to save the Cubs money in the long run, especially if Starlin exceeds his potential.
- 3.) If Castro doesn’t achieve his potential, or sours on the Cubs front office, they’ll be in a strong position to trade Castro right as he’s coming into his prime years.
A deal beneficial for both sides is always the best kind. And with so little to be sure of in the coming seasons on the North Side, it’s the smart move for Team Theo and Starlin Castro.