Starlin Castro benched after Sunday’s lapses

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Upon reviewing the tape from Sunday night’s game against the Cardinals, manager Mike Quade has decided to give shortstop Starlin Castro a “mental day off” against the Braves on Monday.

In truth, it’s a benching.

Castro has been accused of a lack of focus several times during his age-21 season, and ESPN focused on it a couple of times last night, once pointing out how he had his back turned as James Russell was delivering a pitch.

ESPNChicago has the quotes:

“I was really disappointed and surprised, very surprised,” Quade said after watching the video of the game. “But it’s something from Day 1 focus-wise. It’s something, to be honest with you, that he has to work on. With his talent, that’s the toughest challenge for him.

“It’s simply not acceptable, not good. He feels terrible. I talked to him today, and we are giving him a day. After seeing last night, you have to make his concentration a priority. Getting him to concentrate pitch to pitch. He can do it, and we think he will. And we’ll make sure that happens.”

Castro figures to be back at shortstop tomorrow, and he’ll remain the Cubs’ shortstop long after Quade is gone as the team’s manager.  Still, it seems like the right call from Quade here.  For all of his talent, Castro still needs to have a few lessons pounded into his head.

Cubs sign Drew Smyly to a two-year, $10 million contract

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The Cubs announced on Tuesday evening that the club signed pitcher Drew Smyly to a two-year contract. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports the contract is for $10 million total and allows Smyly to earn another $7 million with performance bonuses. Smyly was non-tendered by the Mariners at the beginning of the month and became a free agent.

Smyly, 28, underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery in late June. He’s expected to miss, at minimum, the first half of the 2018 season. The Cubs are hoping he can contribute to a playoff push in the latter half of the season as well as in 2019.

Smyly didn’t pitch at all in 2017. When he was healthy the season prior, he made 30 starts for the Rays and put up a 4.88 ERA and a 167/49 K/BB ratio in 175 1/3 innings.