Anthony Rizzo was the best friend Starlin Castro had last night

7 Comments

Interesting story from the Cubs’ clubhouse via Patrick Mooney at CSNChicago.com.

Last night, with Dan Uggla at the plate, Starlin Castro fielded a grounder and appeared to lollygag the throw to first baseman Anthony Rizzo. Uggla, not the fastest man around — and maybe not even the fastest man named Uggla in Georgia — was safe with an infield single.

After the inning was over, manager Dale Sveum got in Castro’s face to yell at him for, once again, making a mental mistake.  Except when it was all over, Sveum was apologizing to Castro. Thanks to Rizzo intervening. Here’s Sveuem:

“It was one of those things where I apologized to Castro afterward,” Sveum said. “Rizzo came to his rescue right away and said, ‘Skip, that was my fault. I just told him to give me time.’

And here’s Rizzo:

“I took full blame for it – it’s my fault,” said Rizzo, who was on a defensive shift for that at-bat. “I told him before that to give me a little time, and that’s just me not knowing Uggla’s speed. I thought I had time to get there. I busted there right away, but he just beat the throw … “I want Castro to feel comfortable with any play,” Rizzo said. “Any throw he wants to make, I’ll be there to catch it. If I miss that pick, it’s my fault.”

Two possibilities: (1) it really was Castro’s fault and Rizzo was trying to protect his teammate from the boss; or (2) it was really Rizzo’s fault and, rather than let the easy target Castro take the fall, he stood up to take his medicine.

Either one shows a kind of leadership. The latter one a tad less leadership than simple responsibility, but from a rookie, that’s not always expected.

Whatever you make of it, though, it’s a rather neat and interesting little thing.

Brewers to give Mike Moustakas a look at second base

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
8 Comments

The Brewers reportedly signed third baseman Mike Moustakas to a one-year, $10 million contract on Sunday. While the deal is not yet official, MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy reports that the Brewers plan to give Moustakas a look at second base during spring training. If all goes well, he will be the primary second baseman and Travis Shaw will stay at third base.

The initial thought was that Moustakas would simply take over at third base for the more versatile Shaw. Moustakas has spent 8,035 of his career defensive innings at third base, 35 innings at first base, and none at second. In fact, he has never played second base as a pro player. Shaw, meanwhile, has spent 268 of his 4,073 1/3 defensive innings in the majors at second base and played there as recently as October.

This is certainly an interesting wrinkle to signing Moustakas, who is a decent third baseman. He was victimized by another slow free agent market, not signing until March last year on a $6.5 million deal with a $15 million mutual option for this season. That option was declined, obviously, and he ended up signing for $5 million cheaper here in February as the Brewers waited him out. Notably, Moustakas did not have qualifying offer compensation attached to him this time around.

Last season, between the Royals and Brewers, the 30-year-old Moustakas hit .251/.315/.459 with 28 home runs and 95 RBI in 635 plate appearances.