- The big news last night was the revelation that the Cubs and Starlin Castro have been discussing a long-term extension, and expect to have something done by the end of the season. Later in the evening, Castro’s agent, Paul Kinzer, who previously said they weren’t interested in discussing an extension during the season, confirmed to Dave Kaplan that discussions are ongoing. “Yes, we have been talking,” Kinzer said. “Starlin loves being a Chicago Cub and would like to play there his entire career. I’d prefer to negotiate privately with the Cubs, but yes, we have been talking about a long-term deal.” You don’t make a comment like that publicly unless things are indeed going to happen. Kinzer did caution, in a conversation with Bruce Levine, that talk of specifics (Kaplan had said the deal would be for six years (buying out two years of free agency)) is “premature.”
- Tons of love for Castro’s double-play partner, Darwin Barney, who’s been on a path to stellar defense at second base for years, thanks in large part to the coaching of the last great defensive Cubs second baseman – Ryne Sandberg. He also got some help last year from the man against whom he’s battling for a Gold Glove – Brandon Phillips. “I asked him, ‘Hey, man, I’m learning second base, I’m trying to learn double-play turns,’” Barney said. “He stood out there and talked to me for a couple minutes between innings and talked to me about my hand positioning. From that day, I had a lot of respect for him and the guy he is, and the way he plays the game defensively.”
- Vine Line looks at some of the defensive numbers at second base, and, while I’m not crazy about a number of defensive metrics, it’s hard to argue with Barney’s dominance.
- Frankie De La Cruz, we hardly knew ye: the AAA pitcher whom the Cubs picked up off the waiver wire earlier this year has been released so that he can pursue a contract in Taiwan.
- Friend of the program Sahadev Sharma has a feature on Javier Baez up at ESPNChicago that is well worth a read. Some amazing quotes from scouts (including one who hasn’t seen bat speed like Baez’s anywhere else in the minors this year), and a clear understanding of why Baez has rocketed up prospect rankings this year.
- How Anthony Rizzo’s struggles with the Padres relate to his success this year, and how the same might (hopefully) be true for Brett Jackson.
- Jorge Soler has missed the last couple games with an unspecified ailment (his manager indicated it was “something that he had when he came and tried to play through it”). Kevin Capie later reported that Soler was spotted wearing a wrist/thumb wrap-type-thing, which suggests that’s what Soler is dealing with. A BN’er in Peoria says he got the sense from folks in the clubhouse that Soler would probably be back in the lineup today, but we’ll see. It doesn’t sound serious, but every start is important for Soler, on whom the Cubs have to make an Arizona Fall League decision.
- This is it: today’s the day of the one-day fantasy contest, so you’re running out of time to sign up and make out your lineup. You’ve got until the games start this evening.
- The MLBullets at BCB look at the aftermaths of the Felix Hernandez perfect game and the Melky Cabrera PED suspension.