Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune has the story:
Could the Cubs send Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo back to the minors for more grooming?
It doesn’t seem possible considering their status as part of the core of the rebuild, not to mention the seven-year contract extension Castro received last year.
But before Sunday’s finale against Milwaukee, manager Dale Sveum, who lost his voice shouting at ump Chris Guccione on Friday, hinted it was indeed possible.
“If people keep playing like that, you have to find options,” Sveum told reporters on Sunday afternoon. “Give people playing time at Triple-A to figure this stuff out. … The bottom line is you have to perform. Whether you need more development or you decide all those kind of things. There’s still that accountability. … Many, many people throughout the history of the game (have been demoted back to the minor leagues).”
Castro, 23, entered play Sunday batting .304 with an .802 OPS, but he has struggled defensively at shortstop. Rizzo, who’s also 23, is hitting .190 with a .299 on-base percentage through 67 plate appearances.
All that said, this feels like more of an attempt at a wake up call by Sveum than any real threat.
The Astros avoided arbitration with pitcher Mike Fiers, agreeing on a $3.45 million salary for the 2017 season, per Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle. The right-hander was in his first of three years of arbitration eligibility.
Fiers, 31, made 30 starts and one relief appearance for the Astros in 2016. He finished the year with a 4.48 ERA and a 134/42 K/BB ratio in 168 2/3 innings.
Fiers had a much better showing in 2015 as well as in limited action in 2014, so the Astros are hoping he rediscovers that effectiveness going forward. He’ll slot into the back of the starting rotation.
There is little if any controversy to be had about the caps this year’s inductees will wear on their Hall of Fame plaques, but in case there was any doubt at all, it was put to rest this afternoon at the Hall of Fame press conference: Tim Raines will wear a Montreal Expos cap and Ivan Rodriguez will wear a Rangers cap. Jeff Bagwell, of course, never played for a team other than the Houston Astros at the big league level.
Though Raines had some good seasons with the Chicago White Sox and though he helped provide a nice kick start to the Yankees dynasty in the mid-1990s, his best seasons, by far, took place while he was an Expo. It’s also the case that the bulk of his Hall of Fame push came from Expos fans. He was particularly boosted by Jonah Keri, who recently wrote a book detailing the history of the Expos. So, yeah, that’s easy.
Rodriguez played 13 of his 21 years with the Texas Rangers, including his MVP 1999 season. He did have some notable years elsewhere, particularly in Detroit where he remains a fan favorite, but it was always going to be the Rangers for him, one would think. Maybe a slight, slight chance that he’d do the blank cap thing, Greg Maddux-style, but smart money was on the Rangers.
With Bagwell, the only question is which Astros cap he’ll wear. There are a couple of applicable ones: the brick red star, which he wore to the World Series in 2005. There’s also the shooting star cap he wore during his best seasons and which Craig Biggio’s plaque displays. He was around for the classic “H” over the star look, but he was just a kid then, so I doubt he’d wear it.
Anyway, sorry to the Marlins fans who wished that Raines and Pudge would wear the fishy-F.