The Chicago Cubs promoted top prospect Starlin Castro, 20, last week – a move that was questioned as panic-driven. Most thinking folks rejected that kind of criticism, believing there was no way the Cubs organization would promote a 20-year-old kid as a knee-jerk reaction to a bad series or two.
Turns out, we were wrong. Promoting Castro was, in fact, a total panic move. As reported by Carrie Muskat, responding to a question about why she had previously said Castro would not be promoted for weeks:
On May 3, I had confirmation from five highly placed Cubs officials who said they were going to wait with Castro. He’s young, they said, and needs more experience, especially on defense. They didn’t want to call him up too soon, because they wanted to make sure when Castro did arrive, he would succeed, not regress. The attitude changed [four days later] after the Cubs were swept in Pittsburgh. I trust my sources, have talked to all of them since the Castro callup, and know some still have reservations about the move. The Cubs evidently have decided they’re willing to live with the growing pains.
In other words, the organizational position went from no-way-we’re-promoting-this-kid-any-time-soon to promote-him-immediately because the Cubs were swept by the Pirates in an early May series.
That is, by definition, a panic move.
Ultimately, it may work out for Castro, who is hitting very well so far. But as talented as he is defensively, he clearly needs polish. And to hear that this was the very reason for wanting to hold back his promotion is incredibly aggravating. I hope, very much, that this all becomes a moot point.