Jayson Stark of ESPN.com reports that the Cubs are “aggressively trying to include Starlin Castro in any deal.”
Castro was on the bench Wednesday and Cubs manager Joe Maddon assured the shortstop that it wasn’t because he’d be traded, but of course Maddon isn’t really in position to make those assurances and Chicago’s front office would apparently like to unload the 25-year-old’s long-term contract.
Castro is owed $38 million from 2016-2019, which certainly isn’t a ton of money for a three-time All-Star shortstop, but his underwhelming performance in two of the past three seasons has the Cubs thinking they’d be better off with Addison Russell sliding over to shortstop and another young player–perhaps Javier Baez, who’s currently at Triple-A–taking over as the second baseman.
When healthy and playing well Castro has shown the ability to post batting averages in the .300 range, but the development of his power, plate discipline, and defense have all been underwhelming and it may be time for a change of scenery at age 25. This season he’s hit just .237 with five homers and a .576 OPS in 97 games while posting an ugly 69/16 K/BB ratio and grounding into 15 double plays.