Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro will be in Chicago this weekend for the first time since the end of the 2011 season. It will also be his first time back in the city since he allegedly committed sexual assault against a woman at his downtown apartment.
So, in between appearances at the Cubs’ annual fan convention, he’s going to have a chat with police.
No charges have been filed by Castro’s accuser and the 21-year-old shortstop’s representatives have denied the allegations. The Cubs, meanwhile, seem to be taking a wait-and-see approach. Here’s new manager Dale Sveum, who spoke Wednesday with Bruce Levine of ESPNChicago.com:
“I don’t know all the details of all of it. Right now, it’s what it is, and I think it’s being taken care of in the (proper) avenues, but I don’t think it’s going to affect him at all. The one thing is that these are grown men. I’ve raised children, and sometimes you do have to treat players like they are your children. Sometimes guys get misled and they don’t know (how) to handle the off-field activities, so to speak, especially when you’re in a big city like Chicago.”
Castro batted .307/.341/.432 with 10 home runs, 66 RBI and 22 stolen bases in 158 games last year for the Cubs. He also became the youngest player in franchise history to amass more than 200 hits in a season.
MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the Orioles have interest in free agent right-hander Alex Cobb, who rejected his one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Rays earlier this week. Cobb was most recently linked to the Cubs, who reportedly reached out to his agent during the GM Meetings and garnered mutual interest from the righty, but nothing appears to be set in stone yet.
Cobb, 30, completed his sixth season with the Rays in 2017. He went 12-10 in 29 starts and turned in a respectable 3.66 ERA, 6.4 SO/9 and career-best 2.2 BB/9 in 179 1/3 innings. Despite losing a couple of weeks to turf toe, he remained healthy for most of the year and showed no signs of the elbow issues that robbed him of the majority of his 2015-2016 campaigns.
It’s still fairly early for any deals to come to fruition, but Morosi notes that the Orioles seem to be focused on bulking up their rotation during the first few months of the offseason. It’ll take more than a healthy Alex Cobb to right that ship, however: Orioles’ starters earned a collective 5.70 ERA and 5.5 fWAR in 2017, good for worst and fourth-worst marks in the league, respectively. Behind Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy (and perhaps Gabriel Ynoa/Miguel Castro), they still need three viable starters to compete in 2018. Whether or not they can afford to spring for a single starter with Cobb’s price tag (four years, $48 million, per MLB Trade Rumors) remains to be seen.