I’m sure Jack McKeon would have benched Starlin Castro for the rest of the decade by now, but Cubs manager Mike Quade has taken a less extreme approach to handling the 21-year-old shortstop’s lack of hustle.
In the first inning of yesterday’s game Castro failed to run after a ground ball that went past him and into the outfield, forcing center fielder Reed Johnson to make the play, and after giving him an immediate scolding Quade later said:
It better not happen again, and he knows it. He just gets frustrated. He wants to make the play. He doesn’t make the play, and then just has a letdown. I’m sorry he didn’t make the play either. It would’ve been a great play. But stay after the play and stay involved. Then later on he dove for a ball and Reed was right there. That bothered me some.
Quade went on to praise Castro’s overall performance this season and promoted his All-Star candidacy. A manager freaking out about a 21-year-old’s lack of hustle would create more headlines and garner approval from a certain segment of the fan base, but ultimately I think Quade is taking the right approach. Castro is an incredible young talent having an excellent season and if the manager is confident his lack of hustle won’t turn into a bigger problems there’s no reason to blow things out of proportion for now.
The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.
Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.
As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.