One of the more interesting rumors coming out of this weekend’s series between the Chicago Cubs and New York Mets revolves around one Starlin Castro. While there aren’t any hints from either front office suggesting a move, it would make sense. Could Starlin Castro become an All-Star SS for the Mets?
Why Trade Castro?
The Mets are organizationally deficient at shortstop, and the Cubs have a logjam in the middle of their infield. While they have successfully transitioned Javier Baez to 2nd base, the Cubs aren’t sure what to do with Addison Russell, the centerpiece of the Jeff Samardzjia deal. With Kris Bryant seemingly situated at third, there aren’t too many spaces to put Russell. Castro is prodigiously talented, but some attention issues on the field that could put him on the outs with the organization.
Castro has been a part of the revered “core” of the organization since Theo and Jed came to the North Side in 2011. However, the front office would not think twice about trading core players for prospects, as evidenced by the Jeff Samardzjia deal. While that may have been fueled by contract disputes, the same could hold true for Castro.
Castro signed a deal in 2012 that would effectively buy out his arbitration years, and puts him under team control through the 2019 season, with a club option for 2020. Such a team-friendly deal would make a trade easier to complete. For the Mets, who are rather quietly building a young, formidable rotation, are desperate for a young shortstop who can provide a spark in the lineup. Castro would fit the bill nicely.
At What Point Would Theo Pull the Trigger?
The deal would be costly for both sides. For the Cubs, they lose a relatively proven commodity, and risk setting the rebuild back several years. For the Mets, Castro won’t go easily, perhaps even giving up top pitching prospect, Noah Syndergaard. Given his age (25 by Opening Day), his levels of production, and his contract, it would be foolhardy to suggest that the Cubs could get a bigger haul for Castro than for Samardzjia and Hammel.
Theo Epstein has never been considered “cautious” and if he feels the price is right, he’ll make the deal. Come the Winter Meetings, expect the rumor mill to be churning out rumors by the dozen about these two teams. The Cubs, who have been criticized for not giving pitching its due respect, could silence those critics by landing a prospect like Syndergaard.
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