Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportesLosAngeles.com reported last weekend that the Cubs and Starlin Castro had reached an agreement on a long-term contract extension, but we’re still waiting on an official announcement. That should change soon.
According to Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago, the deal could be announced as soon as tomorrow. Castro’s agent, Paul Kinzer, was at Wrigley Field today presumably putting the finishing touches on the agreement.
Castro will reportedly be guaranteed $60 million over seven years while the contract includes a $16 million club option for 2020 or a $1 million buyout. The 22-year-old shortstop was projected to qualify for arbitration for the first time this winter as a Super Two player, so the extension will buy out all four of his arbitration seasons and at least his first three years of free agency.
Castro entered tonight’s action with a .296/.333/.421 batting line and a .755 OPS over his first three seasons in the big leagues. He’s still a bit raw and may find himself at another position by the time the contract expires, but Theo Epstein and company are banking on Castro to be one of the cornerstones that gets the Cubs back on the winning track.
UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com has the contract details. In addition to a $6 million signing bonus, Castro make $5 million in 2013 and 2014, $6 million in 2015, $7 million in 2016, $9 million in 2017, $10 million in 2018 and $11 million in 2019. If he wins the MVP or finishes in the top five of MVP balloting twice, salaries for 2019 and the 2020 option year will increase by $2 million. He’ll max out at $79 million if the option year is exercised and he meets all escalator benchmarks.
Jaime Garcia has been at the center of trade talks for several days now, but on Friday night, he commanded center stage for an entirely different reason. The Braves’ southpaw went head-to-head with Dodgers’ lefty Alex Wood and mashed his first career grand slam: a two-out, 399-foot blast that cleared the wall in right field and put the Braves up 9-0 in the fifth inning.
The bases-loaded knock was the third career home run for Garcia, whose contributions at the plate have been few and far between over his nine-year track in the major leagues. Not only did the homer mark an impressive career first for the 30-year-old, but it was just the second pitcher grand slam in Braves’ history and the first since 1966.
Garcia looked almost as impressive on the mound during Friday’s series opener, issuing one run, four hits and three strikeouts through his first six innings. The Braves currently lead the Dodgers 12-1 in the top of the seventh inning.
As for whether the slam will affect negotiations between the Braves and Twins? MLB.com’s Mike Petriello put it best:
Athletics’ first baseman Ryon Healy had a scary moment during Friday’s loss to the Mets. Lucas Duda smacked a single to the first base side, where the ball took a high hop and caught Healy in the left temple. He crumpled to the ground after getting struck by the one-hopper, but was eventually able to stand and walk off the field with assistance from a trainer.
Prior to the injury, Healy went 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI single in the first inning. He was replaced by Yonder Alonso, who finished off the rest of the night’s 7-5 loss with a walk in two plate appearances.
Following the game, manager Bob Melvin told reporters that Healy did not appear to have sustained a concussion as a result of the hit. Healy said he thinks he’ll be good to go for Saturday’s game, though a final decision likely won’t be made until tomorrow.