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.
On Friday the Atlanta Braves announced a new policy for outside food, prohibiting ticket holders from bringing in their own. This was a reversal of their old policy — and the policies of the majority of teams around the league — which allowe fans to bring in soft-sided coolers with their own food and beverages, at least as long as the beverages were sealed.
The Braves claimed that the policy change was “a result of tighter security being put into place this season throughout the league,” but this was clearly untrue as no other teams are cracking down on outside food like this. If there are new security procedures, everyone else is able to accommodate them without an opportunistic crackdown on fans bringing in PB&J for their toddlers. It seemed more likely that this was a simple cash grab.
Today the Braves have reversed the policy somewhat:
While they’re looking for kudos here, this is likewise an admission that the “security” stuff was bull because, last I checked, security procedures aren’t subject to popular referendum and aren’t changed when people complain. What really happened here, it seems, is the Braves, for the first time in living memory, were called out by the public for their greed and realized that even they have some responsibility to not be jackasses about this sort of thing.
Still, a gallon bag policy is not the same as it was before. You could bring coolers into Turner Field and still can bring them into most parks around the league. But I guess this is better than nothing.
It’s just gossip now, but Politico is hearing that Donald Trump is in talks to throw out the first pitch at Nationals Park on Opening Day. The Nats are not commenting. Neither are the Palm Beach Cardinals of the Florida State League, who no doubt feel slighted given that the president effectively is a local.
With the caveat that, on Opening Day, tickets are likely to be more expensive and thus you’re likely to have a lot more rich people and friends-of-the-owners in attendance, thereby ensuring a more conservative crowd, I’m struggling to imagine a situation in which Trump strolls on to a baseball field in a large American city and isn’t booed like crazy. He’s polling as low as 36% in some places. He’s not exactly Mr. Popular.
Oh well. I look forward to him three-bouncing one to Matt Wieters and then grabbing his phone and tweeting about how it was the best, most tremendous first pitch in baseball history. Or blaming Hillary Clinton for it in the event he admits that it was a bad pitch.