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.
The Athletics followed Friday’s 3-0 shutout with a rookie-led home run derby on Saturday afternoon, watching not one, not two, but three rookies belt their first major league home runs off of the White Sox’ James Shields.
Right fielder Matt Olson was the first to strike, taking Shields deep on a first-pitch, two-run blast in the first inning for his first home run in 49 major league plate appearances:
Fellow outfielder Jaycob Brugman duplicated his teammate’s results in the second inning with a solo home run, his first extra-base hit of any kind since he made his debut on June 9:
In the third, with a comfortable 4-0 lead backing two scoreless frames from Oakland right-hander Daniel Gossett, Franklin Barreto took his shot at Shields. After getting the call several hours prior to Saturday’s game, he became the fastest of the three rookies to record his first big league homer, going yard on a 2-2 changeup and driving in Bruce Maxwell to give the A’s a six-run advantage.
The Athletics currently lead the White Sox 8-2 in the top of the sixth inning.
The Athletics called up their top prospect on Saturday, inserting shortstop Franklin Barreto into the lineup for their second game against the White Sox. Barreto was originally scheduled to make his major league debut on Sunday, but got a head start after Jed Lowrie sustained a minor knee sprain in Friday’s 3-0 win and was scratched from Saturday’s lineup.
Barreto, 21, has been rapidly climbing the rungs of the A’s minor league system after getting dealt by the Blue Jays in 2014. He got his first taste of Triple-A action late last year, going 6-for-17 with three RBI and getting caught stealing in two attempts. He fared little better this spring, slashing .281/.326/.428 with eight home runs and a .754 OPS through his first 309 PA in Nashville.
While his minor league production has been solid, if underwhelming for a prospect of his caliber, the A’s are expected to give the rookie infielder a long leash with both Marcus Semien and Chad Pinder sitting on the disabled list. Pinder landed on the 10-day DL after suffering a left hamstring strain on Friday. Semien, meanwhile, is still working his way back from the 60-day DL with a right wrist fracture and likely won’t rejoin the team until he completes a rehab assignment with High-A Stockton.