Late last season, while serving as the team’s interim manager, Mike Quade decided to bench rookie Starlin Castro.

Castro had lost track of the number of outs late in the September 5, 2010 matchup with the Mets, a dogged it on a grounder that turned into an easy double play. Quade gave the kid an earful and benched him the following day.

Quade caught a little bit of heat for the move – not because benching a player for taking a play off was unacceptable, but because some felt Quade’s tough love approach wasn’t being applied equally to some of the lazier veterans. That is an issue that has carried forward to this season. Obviously we don’t know exactly what goes on a player’s mind or what happens in the clubhouse, but how many times have you heard about Quade taking Aramis Ramirez to task for loafing?

Well, Quade is busting Castro’s chops again, this time for failing to pursue a ball into the outfield after a diving attempt at a grounder up the middle yesterday. The failure allowed a couple runners to grab an extra base.

Quade let Castro know that a lack of hustle will not be tolerated.

“It better not happen again, and he knows it,’’ Quade said. ‘‘He gets frustrated. He wants to make the play, [but] doesn’t make the play and just has a letdown. I’m sorry he didn’t make the play. It would have been a great play. But stay involved. That bothered me.”

To be clear, Quade isn’t wrong to let Castro know that this kind of taking plays off or refusing to hustle in selective situations is not acceptable. Especially because of Castro’s age and relative success, it’s important to nip these bad habits in the bud.

But where are these stories for other players who aren’t giving 100% on every play?

  • pfk

    When the player to Castro’s right is Aramis Ramirez and the player immediately behind him is Alfonso Soriano, it is easy to pick up habits of loafing. I agree with you, it seems there is a double standard of the kids v the vets. On the other hand, does one really think that benching Ramirez is going to make him start hustling at this point in his career? Nah. But it would be nice to see him called out for it anyway. On the other hand (again) Ramirez is a goner in 3 months, while Castro is the future. In the event the player doesn’t listen because he thinks the manager is a goner, the GM needs to tell him in private that loafing won’t be tolerated. On the other hand (I think I’m out of hands) if the GM is a goner, then who says something? The owner?

    • awesome

      soriano will still be here. quade should treat all loafers the same.

  • CBP

    I think Quade finally hit the breaking point. Gotta feel for the lad!! I think he knows his time is about up! All of the stress was probably taken out on Castro!

    • Ace

      Maybe Quade figures he can take the kid.

      • awesome

        LOL, that was good.

  • MichiganGoat

    It was the benching of Castro last year that really sold me on Quade. I thought that a manager who isn’t afraid to bench a player is just the type of manager this team needed, but as we now know Quade wasn’t prepared to handle the veterans on this team. Now after the continuing decline of this team without any action on Q’s part to address the mental errors, lack of hustle, and the general apathy of the team, I am certain that Quade is unable to effectively manage an MLB team or Hendry has too much influence on his actions. It will be interesting to see what the new GM does with him.

  • The Magicman

    Agreed. Soriano can let a ball fall right in front of his face and Quade wont say anything. Does anybody think we could get David Wright (either in the offeseason or mid season) as well as Fielder or Pujols. Imagine that infield 1B-Pujols, 2B-Barney, SS-Castro, 3B-Wright. The cubs would be sending there whole infield to the all star game every year

    • Roughriider

      History Lesson.
      The Cubs actually did send the whole infield to an All Star game. Santo, Kissinger, Beckert, Banks and Hundley.
      I can understand the arguement for getting on Castro and not Ramierez, Sorriano …
      Castro is the future and is still immpressionable. By all accounts he takes instruction well. Lets face it, who hasn’t had brief lapses on the job. Ramierez is on his way out and Sorriano is just Sorriano. He’s a lousy outfielder who has never lived up to expectations in Chicago and never will.

    • Ace

      I know it wasn’t your main point, but I have to say – I’d guess that Barney won’t be making any All Star games in his career.

  • pfk

    A new GM will bring in his own manager, they rarely keep the field manager in place. However, the real question is, “Will we have a new GM?” I do believe that Ricketts is being politically correct in his comments about the manager and general manager. When he bought the team he said he would not meddle in the GM’s job as he wants to focus on the fan experience, new sources of revenue and other things. Ricketts specifically said he is doing it this way because he wants to hold the GM accountable and if he starts meddling, then he can’t do that. Given the sorry state of affairs, with or without injuries, I have no doubt that when the season is over, Hendry will be let go. Its easy to second guess Q (I do it all the time) but in his defense, he can only play the cards he was dealt – and it isn’t a good one – not even an average one. That said, I’d like to see a whole new restructure including the manager.

    • Ace

      Agreed. I think the only thing that would even give Ricketts pause about canning Hendry after the season is the fear that he’d pick a new GM who would just make things worse.

      …which is why he really, really needs to first hire a top notch director of baseball operations.

      • pfk


  • LJ

    I was at the game yesterday. I saw that play, and even I got mad at Castro. He didn’t even try to go after the ball, and it just slowly rolled into the outfield. He easily could have chased it down, and likely gunned down the guy who loafed to third as a result. Frankly, what I saw yesterday was a team that already looks defeated. It’s like they know there’s no hope, so a lot of them aren’t even trying. Castro wasn’t the only loafer out there, but he was the most apparent. There’s a total lack of motivation in the entire team. I don’t think Quade was the right choice, and I don’t think the pitching coach is either (given we’re dead last in the league). Management needs to step in and do some serious shaking up if there’s any hope of salvaging something from this season.

    • Ace

      I’m sure it’s a little hard to get up day-in, day-out when your team is already out of contention, but you’re right – it’s embarrassing that the players can’t show that some more desire and effort. That falls, at least partially, on the manager.

  • die hard

    He is intimidated by vets…Sandberg wouldve taken vets behind doors and wouldve been the only one leaving the room standing…

  • Jeremy

    I was also at that game. Reed was none too pleased with Castro either. Just stood there and stared him down. He was PISSED and rightfully so.

    • Jeff

      Let’s be 100% clear about this, Starlin Castro is not costing the team games with his occasional brain fart. Quade and his sometimes aloof managerial style has cost the team more than anything Castro has or will do this year. I wonder if someone pulled Quade aside and reamed his a## everytime he messed up as a manager this year. You can’t expect your players to be accountable when every time you make a mistake, you blame it on inexperience, or ridiculous logic.

      I’m not saying that Castro’s loaf was inexcusable, but instead of standing there staring at Castro, shouldn’t Johnson have been right behind him backing up his shorstop for any overthrows? It’s not just the glaring things like Castro loafing, it’s the entire lack of fundamental defense and positioning, and poor approaches at the plate in clutch situations. Singling out your best player for one lapse while allowing Soriano to watch flyballs of his bat and others, and allowing the least motivated third basemen in baseball to loaf day in and day out undermines any effort made on Quade’s part to motivate the team.

  • hill sucks

    HOw about Aram and ALf, I mean castro doesn’t have the bext examples to follow…

  • Joyce K

    You can tell that the “fame” is starting to get to his head. His defense sucks. He cannot to throw the ball to first base without it bouncing in the dirt. And the fricking snide look he has on his face when he blows it makes me scream at the TV. On no other team would this be acceptable at the major league level. I would rather have a team full of Campanas, Byrds, Johnsons and Penas as they play the game 110%. Reed should have smacked him upside the head. I cannot wait till Soriano and Ramirez are gone.

  • RY34

    Sorryano sucks through and through and this team quit a long time ago, not just this past weekend!

  • Rev. Bud Green

    You got a long wait brother.

  • MichiganGoat

    Wow! I’m surprised how much hate Castro is receiving for his fielding. Yes he has been horrible at times and his defensive stats are depressing, but HE IS ONLY 20. Before he was called up last year he had just over 1000 PA in the minors and most of those were at the rookie/A level. By the end of this year he will have as many PA in the major as he has had in his entire brief minor league career. He is basically an uber-rookie, he has skipped the standard 2-3 year minor league seasoning and is now expected to handle the speed of the MLB game without making some errors? Come on people, we cry for the kids to play but expect them to immediately be gold-glovers? Castro is the sole bright spot of this team, he is a promising hitter, he has amazing range or a SS, and has a gun for an arm, give him a chance to season as a fielder. Many of his errors are a result of him rushing his throws or trying to force a play where he shouldn’t and as he learns these will diminish. I’m not saying he will be a gold glove SS, but if his bat continues to perform and he will eventually become a quality shortstop as he matures.

  • Ralph

    Loafers and Cubs that don’t care got me thinking of my all-time-most-disliked Cubs players.
    I can rattle off some of the worst over the years, but I’m sure I’ll forget a few good ones.. but for me…
    10. Jacque Jones (that second year when he disappeared… what happened to that guy?)
    9. Antonio Alfonseca (6-fingered Alfonsucka! Was key for a brief stretch in ’03 but pretty worthless other than that…part of Dontrelle Willis trade if not mistaken).
    8. Luis Salazar (Was a Cub for way too long and wore #10 to add insult to mediocrity. Didn’t the Cubs trade Keith Moreland to get him… how does that make sense?).
    7. Hee Seop Choi (I got an idea… let’s let Mark Grace walk via free agency and not sign Jim Thome because we got this guy coming through the system with crazy power!)
    6. Roberto Novoa/Felix Heredia (These 2 guys from different Cubs eras would come out of the bullpen and you knew they were gonna give it up… I think Novoa once walked 4 in a row vs. Brewers to lose the game but Dusty kept sending him out there daily… Lou didn’t put up with his crap and he didn’t make the team out of Spring Training in ’07… that was worth giving up Kyle Farnsworth eh?)
    5. Shawn Estes (In that wonderful year of ’03, I just remember me and my buddies repeatedly saying… “f**ing Estes” every time he pitched.
    4. Calvin Schiraldi (Man I disliked this guy when I was a kid… what a bum… If I recall part of my frustration was that the Cubs traded Lee Smith to the Red Sox to get him)
    3. Latroy Hawkins (Hey, lets throw 92 mile per hour fastballs right down the middle of the plate to major league hitters and see what happens. He became a scapegoat for the fans.)
    2. Todd Hundley (He hit just under .200 and he got frustrated with Cubs fans’ frustration. The best thing that came out of this was that the Cubs got Erik Karros and Mark Grudzielanek in an off season trade for him… nice work Hendry)
    1. Manny Alexander (Just because you are best friends with Sammy Sosa doesn’t mean you don’t suck. Riggleman put up with him and would let him pinch hit in crucial situations… and he would ALWAYS choke… sounds like Dusty’s love for Neifi Perez…)

    • Ace

      Funny list. At least Alfonseca brought Matt Clement with him (and some good jokes).

    • hardtop

      great list, thanks for bringing us back.. i mean, hey! dont ever do that again 😉
      do you remember that red-ish bat the jacque would use? well, this isn’t appropriate for a family site so kids stop reading now, but we used to call him “big jacque horse cock” when he’d swing that thing around. the rockies fans would get a kick out of it when we’d announce him on days the cubs were in town. (dont worry, we kept it clean around the little ones)

  • RY34

    Well said Ralph, I think at minimum another 10 could be added to the list especially koyie hill!

  • Jeff

    I think Quade doesn’t like Starlin Castro period. Why else would he single out Castro consistently when it’s clear the majority of his teammates are costing the Cubs much more than Castro’s occasional defensive lapse.
    More impressive Cubs numbers for all to see:
    Castro as leadoff man: 31/84, .369 avg, 4 walks, 9 strikeouts
    Castro as number 2 in the order: 33/88, .375 avg., 5 walks, 7 strikeouts
    Castro in the 3 hole: 34/139, .245 avg., 5 walks, 19 strikeouts

    It’s clear to anyone with working eyeballs that Castro is a great leadoff or number two hitter and a pretty awful 3 hole hitter. So where does Castro bat most of the time? That’s right, the three spot.

    • TWC

      Yeah, and he calls him “Cassie”. I mean, fer fuck’s sake! Anyone calls me Cassie, I’m certainly not going to take it as a compliment.

      • Ace

        Whatever you say, Tomantha.

        • TWC

          ohmigod! How’d you KNOW?

    • MichiganGoat

      I knew it was only a matter of time before Q decided to put him back in the three hole, why he can’t read basic stats is beyond me.

  • Hogie

    I was at this game and Soriano was jogging around second and was left on third when he should have scored with relative ease had he been running from the get go! I get that Castro will value from the lesson a lot more, but if you are going to be the call out type of manager (especially when you let the media know about it), you damn well better spread it out. He needs to show that vets will be held responsible for there actions as well.

    • Ace

      I think he’s said – I could be wrong, so correct me if I am – that he doesn’t believe Soriano is loafing. Quade thinks that Soriano is taking it easy on his legs to preserve their health.

      • hardtop

        oh my god, i hope you are wrong ace, because that is so lame! if thats true, than fonzie can’t compete at a major leauge level, and therefore he needs to be benched. preserving his legs… thats rich. maybe soto is preserving his wrists and thats whay he’s hitting .227

        cut him if he can’t run the bases, really. todd helton is slow as molasses but he’s hitting over 300, for power, and still plays a wicked first base, so he’s worth keeping around despite loosing his legs. but sori, what? .260? and worst left fielder in the majors? not worth keeping around so he can preserve his legs.
        hey mike (because i know you are reading ;)) news flash: he’s loafing, he’s always been a loafer. do your job, coach the team and quite gving these guys reach arounds while you’re whispering their nicknames in their ears. they are grown-up millionaires, they can handle the truth, and so can we. and maybe refocus your brain power away from finding new ways to end players names, first or last, with a ‘y’ sound, and think about keeping starlin out of the 3 hole, good god, you dipshit. he’d probabaly be leading the majors in hits and average if you had the first clue what you were doing.