I’m about to head to a doctor’s appointment. Felt a tweak in my wrist a couple weeks ago playing tennis, and it hasn’t recovered as well as I’d like. I’m no baseball player, but I do need a functional wrist to work (for typing, that is).

  • You already know that Starlin Castro is in a deep slump, and yesterday we discussed the possible explanations for that unfortunate fact. Late yesterday, Castro addressed the slump thusly: “I want to finish strong. Every [season], I finish strong. Every time, I put it in my mind that the last month, if you don’t finish strong, my family doesn’t eat. I put that in my mind. I need my family to eat these two months, like they eat in the first four months. I put that in my mind all the time. I’ll do it for sure.” English is Castro’s second language, but I’m sure he knows what expression he’s using there. He’s saying, “I need to play well so I can make more money.” I can’t decide if I like that or not. Let’s be honest, all of us do our jobs for a variety of reasons, but the primary reason is so we can make money. And we all would probably rather make more money than less money, and we all probably would like our hard work to be rewarded with more money. I’m sure Castro is also motivated by pride, and a desire to help the team. But it sounds like money is the big one. I think that’s probably fine, and not that uncommon. You just don’t hear it very often …
  • I’d like to talk about Jeff Samardzija breaking a bat over his knee last night. I didn’t think it was impressive or fun when Carlos Zambrano did it, and I don’t think I can give Samardzija a pass, either. I know it makes a guy look like a badass, but it also puts his health at risk for a really stupid reason. What if the bat doesn’t break? What if you cut yourself? What if you get a bruise from it that, while not keeping you out of any games, doesn’t allow you to drive off the rubber as well as you normally can? That is all to say: I’m not impressed. I like the passion and the competitiveness (I always liked that part of Z), but show it some other way. Doing the bat breaking thing isn’t worth it.
  • Dale Sveum gave Brett Jackson the day off yesterday so that the rookie could “sit back and watch.” It doesn’t sound like Sveum is too worried yet about the avalanche of strikeouts in Jackson’s first three games.
  • Jackson on making his debut at Wrigley Field: “A lot of excitement and anticipation. It’s going to be a whole new debut. Can’t be a better place to play than in front of fans like that. I’ve heard nothing but incredible things about Wrigley.” You’re going to get a lot of love from the bleachers when you take that field, kid. Enjoy it. A little more fluff here on Jackson’s and Josh Vitters’ debut at Wrigley.
  • A nice article from MiLB.com about Trey McNutt, wherein he goes into depth about his various pitches, among other things. Good read. Also a good time to remind ourselves that he just turned 23. It may no longer be reasonable to hope he’s a future ace, but a future big leaguer? Sure.
  • Over on the Message Board, BN’er Rated Rookie runs down some of the better performances by young Cubs in the Dominican Summer League so far this year. If you’re into prospecting and have been missing out on the DSL stuff, this is a good place to start.
  • Edwin

    I like money.

    • SirCub

      Most people do.

    • beerhelps

      I like pretty much everything off “dark side of the moon”

      • Edwin

        Well played.

        • Internet Random


    • Hee Seop Chode

      I like castro’s honesty. He knows he is up for one of those club friendly deals that would also provide generational wealth for his family. I don’t care where his intense drive comes from as long as it’s there.

      • cubmig

        I think what we should take away from Castro’s comments is his reality.

    • TWC

      Well sure, man. Look at it… a young franchise ballplayer, in the parlance of our times, you know, and he, uh, uh, he’s having just an average season, and that’s cool… that’s, that’s cool, I’m, I’m saying, he needs money, man. And of course he’s going to say he wants to finish the season strong, because… he wants more, man! He’s got to feed his family, I mean uh… hasn’t that ever occurred to you, man?

      • dustbrother

        What day is it?

    • dudeski
  • ColoCubFan

    “Money is the root of all evil.” I’ll take my chances!

    • MrCub73

      Taking your chances and getting more cash won’t make you to evil, so you and Starlin are safe to help your family eat. It is not that “Money is the root of all evil”, it is the “Love of Money is the root of all evil.” So go out and make all you can, you are not hurting anyone and might even enjoy the extra dollar or two!

  • rhino70

    I really think it has to do with being born and raised in the Dominican Republic. He’s from a poor family in a poor country. Of course the money motivates him.

    On top of that, he’s a two-time all-star playing for peanuts (relatively speaking). He hasn’t signed a contract that will guarantee him and his family any real long-term financial security.

    • SirCub

      I agree with this assessment. He is in a special circumstance, where if he plays well, he could be offered a contract extension that would pay him life-changing money. Considering that incentive, and Rhino’s point about his background and not having made much money yet, he will be motivated to play for money more so than other players.

  • Big Joe

    With Jackson, yes, it’s an extremely small sample size. But all of the strikeouts? Seriously. What did the team expect? That is who he is.

  • Dingo

    Ace, you need to seriously stop masturbating. Either that or maybe just ice your wrist afterwards…

    • Boogens

      I seriously disagree – there’s no reason to stop. He just needs to become a switch-hitter. 😉

      • Boogens

        Let me clarify… use the other wrist. 😉

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thanks, Auz.

  • steve

    Brett, I have to disagree with you about Castro making the comment that feeding his kids means he needs to put up bigger numbers to earn a bigger contract,”more money”. That was the take away I got from your article please correct me if I read into the article incorrectly. Athletes who come from poverty or less fortunate situations use different factors as motivation this is life or death for him and his family and in his mind he knows he needs to hit so the team can win and can be a contributor. When Mike Tyson was comming up he said said he fights like someone stole something from him. He came up from the mean streets and that was his motivation to fight like someone stole something from him as a means of survival. Castro wants to needs to hit for the team and uses in his mind motivation for feeding his family.

    • Frank

      Lee Smith said that when he went in to close a game, he would think to himself that the batter’s taking food out of his children’s mouths.

  • Aaron

    Karabell made a comment on yesterday’s Baseball Today podcast regarding Jackson. Schoenberg was ripping all his Ks, which are high, and Karabell brought up the comparison to Granderson. Granderson strikes out a ton (granted, probably not at AAA), but has a good glove and plus power, which is similar to Jackson.

    Let me be clear here: I’m not saying Granderson is a good comp for Jackson. Just similar in a way.

    • baseballet

      There is a tipping point for each player at which his strikeout percentage becomes too high for him to be worth a roster spot. Jackson brings a lot of skills to the field, but at some point too many strikeouts would outweigh the value of his power and defense.

      I don’t know what Jackson’s tipping point is regarding strikeout percentage vs. his other contributions, but his 2012 AAA strikeout totals are alarming.

      • Aaron

        Agreed. Hopefully he doesn’t push his K-rate to 40% or beyond. Obviously, that’s not worth it.

  • Ash

    I was listening in on 720 last night when Samardzija broke the bat over his leg, and you could hear the “WTF?” in Pat Hughes voice right before they went into commercial. Forget the injury stuff, forget the fact that you’re frustrated that you’re pitching well and down 1-0… you’re a damn pitcher dude. Breaking a bat over your knee is 100% unnecessary, and it just kind of makes you look like a high strung douche.

  • Cheyenne

    I’m sure it was mentioned yesterday, but using a Hawk-ism is all you need to explain Castro’s slump. Forget the mechanics, come into every at bat with a good approach and you will hit.

    As far as Samardzija: If the old behavior is allowed to happen, then are you really changing the culture?

    • baldtaxguy

      This is new behavior for Smarj. The old behavior is in a Miami bullpen, talking to himself. There was never a “culture” of bat breaking. Its not a big deal other than risking an injury.

      • Cheyenne

        Samardzija has done this before. In the overall scheme of culture change, yes, breaking bats, a childish behavior, is a bullet point. If it’s a acceptable act, I can only hope he isn’t stupid enough to do when the Cubs are in the pennant race a few years from now. You nip it in the bud, now, avoiding injury when it really counts.

  • EQ76

    funny how we view the bat breaking.. Bo Jackson did it and everyone went nuts and loved it.. Z did it and it’s was immature… if a guy wants to break a bat, beat up a water cooler, whatever, who cares? are we all too offended when we see passion and emotion?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Offended? No. Concerned for his health? Yes.

    • baldtaxguy

      Only thing to take offense to is if he breaks his thumb. Its over anyway, he was looking for a spot to do it, he saw it, he did it, and he likely won’t do it again. Passion is good, stupidity is not.

      • 100 Years of Tears

        I’m almost positive I’ve seen him do it once before… maybe last season?

        • Cheyenne

          I’m with you.

    • Wilbur

      I certainly respect your opinion, but my personal view is as a professional (and this relates within and without of sports) you need to control your emotions as uncontrolled emotions cloud judgement and divert energy from the task at hand. The correlairy (sp) is If professional athletes spend vast amounts of time constantly training their bodies to perform at the maximum level they need to also spend time training their mind to stay focused and their emotions in control.

      Emotional outbursts are OK as random events as we’re all human. To me frequent outbursts indicate an emotional immaturity which means when the pressure is on I have grave doubts the person will deliver. It’s not an infallible guide, but after 60 plus years it’s been a good barometer of who I could count on as an athlete, a solder, a coach, and in my professional life. Take the above for what it’s worth …

    • stillmisskennyhubbs

      1) Except Bo Jackson could break a bat with a snap of two fingers, he was that strong. I miss Bo; he was worth the price of a ticket just to see.
      2) “Passion” is not the same as frustration. For a pro athlete, endangering your health puts your team and your teammates at risk, not just yourself. It’s better to learn to channel that energy into something more positive, which, to be true, is often hard for 20-somethings to learn. Glad he didn’t hurt himself a la Hanley Lamarr er Ramirez.

  • fortyonenorth

    When I first read Castro’s quote, I thought he was simply relating the way he self-motivates, kinda like: “When I run, I imagine there’s a rabid tiger chasing me.” In other words, he’s saying, I have to play like my family’s next meal depends on it.

    • baseballet

      This is also how I interpreted Castro’s quote.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        That’s fine, too – but it’s a pretty widely circulated expression among professional athletes. I think I was pretty fair in the way I described it.

        • Gabriel

          Brett I think your trepidation regarding his “motivation” that you inferred from the quote actually is somewhat unfair.

          I actually love what he said – I come from a bilingual background and speak both English & Spanish, and to me what he’s saying is:

          “If I don’t do this (get hits and perform well) then I can’t provide for my family – and they need me to.” There is nothing wrong with that. This simply shows leadership & how much he really cares about being absolutely GREAT.

    • baldtaxguy

      Same. He was simply emphasizing how serious he takes his job.

    • P hertz


    • mak

      Agreed, this is how I interpret the comments. It’s not a direct cash grab, its a survivalist mentality.

    • Jim L.

      “there’s a rabid tiger chasing me.”

      I really don’t think it matters if the tiger is rabid or not. :)

  • Spoda17

    I have no problem with Castro’s comments. I think if he was making 25 mil a year, maybe I would… but not at his current salary, and he has yet to cash in on a big contract like others with his skills; don’t let his current slump impact how we feel about him thinking he needs to earn that next contract; I believe he is really saying he needs to play well to earn his contract. At least he is not saying pay me big money regardless how well I’m playing.

    On Samardzija, I hate he did the bat thing, but I really doubt he went to the plate with the intention of breaking the bat over his knee. He is full of emotions, and knows every single at bat is critical, even his when the team can’t even score one run. I’m not giving him a pass, and I think we need to give Dale time (like today) to let Jeff know that was not a good idea before we think Jeff is Z, and Dale is okay with the behavior; I’m pretty sure he spoke to Jeff right after the act.

  • CT

    If I grew up in severe Dominican Republic poverty, my highest priority would be to make money, as well. And lots of it. This isn’t the first time we’ve heard this either explicitly or in reference from Dominican born players.

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with this comment, and it should be expected as the driving objective for the vast majority of Dominicans

  • P hertz

    Sounds more like he can’t quite express the standard “Baby needs new shoes.” and “Gotta feed the bulldog.” cliches.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      Actually, young kids outgrow shoes at a hellacious rate…..

  • Devin

    Tyler Colvin can attest to the whole “bats hurt” thing pretty well.

    • notcubbiewubbie

      tyler colvin can also attest to the fact that jim hendry and mike quade screwed him up and over.

      • AB

        720 OPS away from Coors. That is the Tyler Colvin we’d be seeing if he were playing in Chicago.

        • hansman1982

          meh, just let it go…when he returns to earth you will never hear another peep about Colvin. If you want an example see Sam Fuld from last year.

          • DocPeterWimsey

            Colvin returned to Earth quite cruelly in July. Since June, he’s got an unstellar 0.223/0.277/0.479 line. Now, a lot of this is low BABiP: he went from 0.380 before July to 0.260 since June. He’s probably hitting the ball just as well as before, at least when he’s hitting it: the difference between his slugging and his BA has not changed. his slugging is over twice his BA! The “at least when he’s hitting it” is key: his K rate has been hovering around 26% all year.

          • http://deleted Crazyhorse

            yes people can only wish Stewart never played in Chicago . I s that the point your trying to get across? I wish Colvin well. He has played well- sam fuld has played okay . Stewart played …. well after this season i doubt anybody will remember stewart . but sam and colvin will still be playing

  • steve

    fortyonenorth, I agree. As for the broken bat thing, you guys need to chill he’s fins he’s a strong guy and he is a competitor and wants to hit and help his team and his own cause because no one else is fricking hitting!!!

  • notme

    Everyone works for money. Those who don’t have to annoy me.

  • Deb (@deb833)

    I thinking breaking a bat on your leg is childish. If you don’t want the bat anymore, donate it to charity and don’t risk injuring yourself.

  • EB

    Anyone remember when Z broke it over the back of his shoulders? At least Samardzija didn’t do that lol

  • Fastball

    If money motivates Castro who cares. Money motivates me. He wants to do well so he can make more money and get a bigger contract when he’s due. It’s not okay to come out and say what motivates a person. Sometimes people are just over analyzed. We can’t hang on every word that comes out of a 23 year old kids mouth either. I hope he is motivated by more money. If he isn’t there is something wrong with him. He makes a little over league minimum and his best friend Soriano makes 18M. He see’s how he lives and what he has and he is motivated to get there himself. As far as Shark goes. Rather see him snap a bat than punch a wall and break has had. He’s probably wondering WTF he is doing on this team right now. Probably thinking I could be in training camp catching passes and not dealing with this losing all the time. He’s flippin human.

  • Fastball

    I hope Jackson improves in this series against the Reds. If he has the same kind of results against some really good pitching by the Reds it’s back to Iowa and he will have got his short but eye opening dose of reality. If he was exposed by Padres pitching just think how bad it could be against the Reds pitching. Can’t get much worse than 8K’s in 9 AB’s. I guess you can look worse than you did when you struck out before. Right now he’s got the Really Really Big Sombrero as Brenly say.

  • BD

    I really hope he meant the “I need to perform so my family can eat” version and not the “I need to perform to make more money to feed my family” version.

    Even without doing well and getting huge raises- right now he is making baseball’s version of minimum wage, which is around $500K. I would hope he can feed his family on that.

    • EQ76

      I’ve been to the DR.. poverty like I’ve never seen before and that country loves baseball.. I totally understood what he was saying.. most of us never have or will see poverty like that and money would be a huge motivation for most of us too.. he wants to take care of his family and never have them in need again.. I get it. If that’s what motivates him then great, just keep hitting .300 and getting 200 hits a year and he’ll never have to worry about money again.

  • Internet Random

    I know it makes a guy look like a badass . . . .

    If he wants to impress me, he needs to break it over his Adam’s apple.

  • Stinky Pete

    Hell, Brett. Might as well go on the DL. Seems like everyone else is…

  • Mick

    When you stick a mic in someone’s face enough you get quotes like this. Castro on a good day gets a hr, doubles, steals a base, plays mediocre defense, and k’s twice. Eventually a decision needs to be made whether this is our guy or if what we’ve got coming up the shoot plus what we could yield via trade would be the wiser play. The way our organization is taking shape, we’ve got a ton of infield talent in the lower to mid-minors but almost no starting pitching. In 2014-2015 we could be looking at an infield with Rizzo, Villanueva, Baez, and Amaya. Then there’s also Torreyes, Candelario, Lake, Vitters, and Alcantara. My dream scenario would be to trade Garza straight up for Travis D’Arnaud and trade Castro for Skaggs, Bradley, Corbin, and a throw-in.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      “Mediocre defense?” On what planet do you dwell?

      • MichiganGoat

        Bobby V’s planet?

        • DocPeterWimsey

          There’s a good target for a Death Star!

      • Mick

        It depends, are you looking at his 52 game 2012 sample size where he’s scored a 7.1 fielding value or his 3-year score of -3.8? As Brett always says, the truth probably lies someplace in the middle which, would make it mediocre.

        • DocPeterWimsey

          With fielding statistics for a player at the beginning or end of his career, use the trend, not the median.

  • auggie1955

    I work part time at a grocery store downtown that Starlin and his family regularly shops. Last year he lived next door to where I work, but this season they are living a few blocks north. I don’t know how many condos they are renting, but Starlin’s parents as well as a bunch of young cousins live in Chicago during the summer. Last season Starlin’s mom left in August when to take the kids back to the Domican Republic for school. Starlin also has a cousin about his age who he goes out drinking with who also lives in Chicago during the season.

    My whole point in this is that Starlin probably has to pay for all of this. This could help explain Starlin’s remarks and how he ties money to his family.

  • chirogerg

    Breaking a bat over your knee is actually fairly safe. The key is to hit the right spot on the bat and the knee and to yell really loud when you do it. It can be very satisfying.

  • Cryinmybluecoolaid

    We all know Thoyer loves being quiet about anything they do. What are the chances they are discussing an extension right now. This might be a subtle jab from Castro to get them to step up to the plate. This is the time for a 10 year deal with a couple options.

  • die hard

    Castro is a good kid that needs somebody to mentor him, preferably someone from his country who starts for the Cubs…cant think of anyone?….then he needs next best thing..a coach from his country…anybody?…

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Luke

      Why do you think he needs teammates and coaches specifically from his country? If he plays with two Puerto Rican, a Korean, and a Cuban, you really think it will matter? If his coaches are from Venezuela and Mexico, you think it will negatively affect his career?

      I have no idea where you are coming up with this. I can’t see any logic here at all.

  • Cyranojoe

    Question about the Castro quote, and sorry for coming to this so late, but I’ve been afk for a few days… could he have meant it more metaphorically? As in, he needs to “feed” his team or teammates? That without his production at the plate, his team will starve? “I need my family to eat these two months, like they eat in the first four months.” Which family are we talking about?

    Anyway, if that’s not the angle, then I agree, it’s a self-motivating thing that’s more imaginary than practical, like the Lee Smith thing.