Cubs manager Dale Sveum pulled Starlin Castro from Saturday’s 4-0 loss to the rival Cardinals after the shortstop took a lackadaisical approach to a fifth-inning infield fly, allowing a run to score. But Castro is back in action for Sunday’s series finale and Sveum is ready to put the incident behind him.
“The way I look at it is obviously, he had enough punishment, if that’s the right word or not, but I think to be embarrassed on national TV and what has been written in the paper today, I think that’s plenty enough,” Sveum told MLB.com’s Carrie Muskat on Sunday. “These kind of things happen from time to time, they’re getting less and less. I don’t think this kid can get better by not playing today and understanding the adversity that we all go through in the game.”
Castro is batting just .244/.278/.345 in 122 games this season, which has made his defensive miscues stand out even more. If you want a replay of that botched play from Saturday, follow this link (it’s not embeddable).
Buster Olney of ESPN reports that the White Sox and Diamondbacks have emerged as two of the strongest contenders for Orioles third baseman Manny Machado. It seems like a foregone conclusion that Baltimore will deal their superstar infielder this winter, but nothing appears imminent just yet. While both the White Sox and D-backs have reportedly made serious offers, Orioles owner Peter Angelos is wary of any non-contending team that might be incentivized to flip Machado to the rival Yankees next season.
The White Sox, for their part, have assured the Orioles that they view Machado more as a solid one-year rental than the new face of their franchise, with no immediate plans to deal him elsewhere. Given their current rebuilding status and the unlikelihood that they would contend in 2018, it makes their offer a bit of a head-scratcher — and, as USA Today Sports’ Bob Nightengale points out, they’ve been reluctant to put any top-5 prospects on the table in preliminary negotiations.
The Diamondbacks, on the other hand, are far better positioned to enter the postseason in 2018, though that doesn’t automatically make them the perfect landing spot for Machado. They already have Jake Lamb stationed at third base, and while it’s not inconceivable that they could jettison the Ketel Marte/Chris Owings/Nick Ahmed shortstop platoon for someone of Machado’s talent, his $17 million salary appears to be more than the D-backs are currently capable of absorbing.
The White Sox and D-backs may have exhibited the most interest in Machado so far, but they’re hardly the only contenders here. MASN Sports’ Roch Kubatko maintains that the Cardinals and Yankees remain in discussions for the 25-year-old, with Cardinals’ RHP Jordan Hicks and catcher Carson Kelly drawing interest, as well as Yankees’ top prospect Gleyber Torres. Any deal involving the Yankees still feels like a long shot, however; as Craig mentioned on Wednesday, it makes sense that the club wouldn’t want to see their star player hanging around their division rivals in 2018, and the Yankees should be well prepared to make a run at him in free agency next winter.