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Earlier tonight, CSN teased that Dave Kaplan would be breaking big Cubs news within the hour. Naturally, I assumed we were all about to be swiftly kicked in the groin.

Thankfully, that isn’t the case. The news is actually great news, depending on your perspective. From Kaplan:

[T]wo industry sources who have represented several MLB players over the past decade confirmed to me tonight that the Cubs are working on a long term deal for star shortstop Starlin Castro.

The deal, which could be six or more years in length, is expected to be finalized before the end of the 2012 season and would not only buy out the remaining arbitration years that Castro has, but at least two years of free agency which he will reach after the 2016 season.

We discussed the possibility of a long-term extension with Castro back in May (when his agent said Castro wasn’t interested in discussing an extension during the season – go figure). The thinking then, as it is now, is that these kind of pre-arbitration extensions represent one of the rare opportunities for both sides to truly win. The young player, who hasn’t yet made a whole lot of money, cashes in on a huge chunk of guaranteed cash. The team, who prefers not to risk going year-to-year on a potential star, locks up a young talent for years at a potentially discounted rate.

This is likely to be an ongoing story for some time, and it will be interesting to see how Castro’s extension is structured. The BN link above discusses some comparables, and I’d think the Cubs would love to get some team options built in at the end of Castro’s deal. Here are those comps from May, for those disinclined to click:

Comparable players (as close as we have anyway) have recently signed these kinds of deals, including Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus ($14.4 million over three arbitration years), Cameron Maybin (five years and $25 million, including a pre-arb year, three arbitration years, and one free agent year, plus an $8 million option year thereafter), Andrew McCutchen (six years, $51.7 million, including a pre-arb year, three arbitration years, two free agent years, plus a $14.75 million option year thereafter), and Justin Upton (six years, $50 million, including a pre-arb year, three arbitration years, and two free agent years).

For now, are you pleased that the Cubs look to be going this route with Castro? Would you have preferred that they shop him this Winter?

  • Jackalope

    Buy low, right?

    • CubFan Paul

      Exactly. Buy low. Castro’s agent gambled on him having another great year offensively with more power. Now that we see that Castro is human his extension will reflect that.

  • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

    Baez 3-4 with a double and a homer tonight. That -.100 avg is about to shoot up over .300 after this next stretch.

  • nkniacc13

    smart move for both if the Cubs think Castro can bounce back. Castro should have money to feed his family after this

  • Itzscott

    Got Baez coming on hard in a couple of years…. I’d tend to shop Castro just to see what’s out there until the Baez picture becomes clearer.

    • TonyP

      IF Baez turns into a stud in a few years they will figure out what to do with both players.

      • cubs4life

        wasnt the projection of baez to be a move to 3rd?

        • LEO L

          also dont be surprised if starlin moves to second. i dont think it will happen but if his defense doesnt continue to improve then starlin will be moved.

          • Drew7

            I doubt it. Its alteady at a good enough level that I can’t see Baez, or any other prospect pushing him off of short.

  • Trent

    I’m very pleased with this.

    • JMick

      Me too, mostly because of the statement below (Baez moving to third) and the fact that Castro is the only real “prospect” in the system who has been tried and tested. Go get ‘em Theo

  • nkniacc13

    most seem to think baez will have to move to 3rd eventually anyway.

  • TonyP

    I believe he has shown enough potential to warrant this kind of an extension. While he has some flaws, I believe he is young enough to continue to improve and will turn into a top notch player.

  • fearbobafett

    As long as there is not a NTC included in there, then it will be a good thing. I am not fully sold on Castro however.

    • TonyP

      agreed Mr. Fett

  • http://bleachernation.com someday…2015?

    With Castro and Baez on the left side and Barney and Rizzo on the right the Cubs have a very bright looking infield for the future.

    • Hee Seop Chode

      i was just daydreaming for about 2 minutes getting excited about that. That infield would really have the potential to be good, for a long time.

      What’s up with the outfield power outtage? At least at the MLB level, the cubs HRs by outfielders has got to be in the bottom 5 in baseball since 09, and I don’t see any immediate relief in sight….

  • JoeyCollins

    Great idea. Shopping Castro is not going to happen lock him up now.

  • Zach

    It’s a smart move considering how valuable ss are that can hit. Plus he is making good progress on defense. Why is Soler out again?

    • Frank

      I believe they said Soler is out because he’s “under the weather.”

  • anotherjp

    Well, I thought Theo might consider trading Castro so it goes to show what I know. Perhaps the security of a long term deal would put Starlin at ease and allow him to reach his potential- this tough stretch he’s had this year is probably more a case of a young guy adjusting to a new manager, etc. than anything else. A good motivator for the other youngsters in the system also.

  • 100 years young

    If any of you guys know the situation in Baltimore where young stud and shortstop prospect Manny Machado is now playing solid defense at 3rd base. The cubs could easily do the same thing with Baez i do realize that Machado was a top 5 guy in baseball but still he made 20 plus errors in Double A

  • Drew7

    This would be a great move- a true win-win, as you said. Locking up a great talent at an elite position, with a deal that wouldn’t prohibit moving him if they eventually wanted to go that route.

  • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

    I think now is a great time for an extension. Castro is having a down year with the bat, but has improved defensively. Great time to buy low. I love Baez and he is a top 20 prospect, but he is a ways away, Castro isn’t blocking him. Baez will come up as a 3rd basemen.

  • baldtaxguy

    Brilliant move.

  • Nick Nesler

    This is the way the league is trending. I think the Rays have pretty much perfected it with Longoria having one of the most desireable contracts in basball and the Moore deal to name a few. If we can start doing this with our young guns and our resources watch out.

  • Ben (BG2383)

    It makes me smile! It is hard to find a potent bat at SS that projects to stay there. I will want to see the $$$$ and for this to be finalized before I go doing any jumping jacks however

  • Windy City Misfit

    As long as it doesn’t have a no trade clause …

  • Master Dan

    I love what the Cubs are doing and this is yet another step in the right direction. Nice job Cubs Management.

  • Cub Style

    YES!

  • Carew

    Ohmygod

  • Timmy

    Good move. We don’t have much else on the horizon except for some promising unproven young players. Management has to shore up more than a quality little league team to compete within the next 5 years; they might as well start with our natural contact hitter.

  • scorecardpaul

    Yes, I like the idea of signing him instead of trading him.

  • chirogerg

    Buying low is a great idea right now, especially because other teams will be looking to buy low on Castro from the Cubs

  • Nomar’s Left Glove

    Considering how much the new CBA has already inflated contracts for young players like Votto, even if this a fairly hefty contract, I think it will be a steal down the road. It’s nice to finally say that we have one of the smartest FOs in all of baseball.

  • Robbo

    Castro is young and only going to improve so I do like this thinking, but…
    Castro does have to “Feed his family” he says.
    What happens to his passion for the game once his family is fed???
    I sit on the couch and watch TV after my family is fed.

    • Pat

      That’s the concern. He still has a lot of work to do on his game. Life changing money is just that, it changes your life. Obviously it depends on the terms of the deal, but at this point I’m not sure I want to take away his motivation.

  • http://Bleachernation.com Ramy16

    I am tired of hearing you guys saying ” fed his family” have you guys ever been to Dominican Republic? I have! There’s only a couple of ways getting off the isla..baseball and bachata! I am also fluent in Spanish as well.. There whole lively hood is baseball and providing for their families through that!

    • bbmoney

      Agreed. Castro, relative to other pro atheletes, hasn’t cashed in yet, and being poor in the DR is slightly different from being poor in the US. Further, Castro a guy who’s made what just over $1M (I know… a lot, but not relative to his peers) so far saying that is a lot different from the coach choker Latrell Sprewell making 10+ M per year saying it.

  • bbmoney

    Boooooo…….wait for it……wait for it….keep waiting…..yeah.

    Love this move. Any of the contracts sizes listed in the paragraphs above would be just fine, even slightly larger total dollars if they buy out 3 years of free agency is fine. Even with some regression at the dish this year and the mental lapses, the sky is the limit with this kid and I really think his defense has gotten much better despite a few just really dumb plays. Starlin at SS and Rizzo at 1b are couple of good young players to have locked up for the next 5+ years.

  • MikeL

    Has anyone else heard that Soler was seen with his hand taped up??!?!

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