The Chicago Cubs’ efforts to sign Starlin Castro to an extension have been going on for a little while now behind the scenes, and, by all indications, the deal could be wrapping up soon. Those “indications” come primarily from the fact that everyone from Starlin to his agent to Theo Epstein are speaking openly about the progress on the extension. That simply doesn’t happen unless all sides are confident that a deal will get done.
The latest bits …
- Ken Rosenthal cites sources who tell him the extension will be for six or seven years, and will include at least one team option, which then could conceivably give the Cubs control over Castro four four years beyond his arbitration years. That would take him all the way until his age 30 season. You’re not going to see Castro agreeing to a deal any longer than that, though, as he’s going to want to at least have the opportunity for one big free agent score while still near his prime. I doubt the Cubs would want to go much longer than that anyway.
- Rosenthal says a deal could happen “early next week or sooner.”
- Epstein confirmed that the two sides are talking about an extension, though he quipped that he was confirming it publicly only because Castro’s agent had already done so.
- Castro says he wants to be with the Cubs for a long time, and hopes the extension gets done. But he’s not taking an active role in things until a deal is close. “I’m letting my agent work,” Castro said. “I tell him, ‘You tell me when you’re close. When you’re close and ready to do it, you tell me.’ But right now, I give more concentration to the game.”
- Theo loving on Starlin: “It’s the easiest thing in the world to look at a young player like this at the big leagues and point out what he can’t do, or what he doesn’t yet do consistently. But I think it’s important to acknowledge those things and identify them as areas for continued growth and development. But you have to step back and look at what the player can do. He’s an extraordinarily athletic shortstop, he’s proven he has the range, he has the arm and then some. He has the hands when he has the proper footwork to go with it. Sure he’s made a few careless errors through the course of the season and lately as all good shortstops do, but he’s shown he can make every play that we need to make and he’s shown that as we have demanded it of him he can show greater growth through his consistency. Offensively, the sky’s the limit.”
- Starlin loving on the Cubs (and, kind of, himself): “They’re trying to do a young team [with] me and [Anthony] Rizzo. Hopefully, he’s a star. When the team is going to be good it can be me and him [here] for a long time …. That is very important for me, winning games, helping my teammates [and] a lot of people here want [that, too]. I want to be the face of the franchise – me and Rizzo.”
- Castro’s agent, Paul Kinzer, says the impetus for an extension now came from the Cubs’ side, not Castro’s. Castro and Kinzer were content to wait to discuss things after the season, but the Cubs made the effort to get things going now.
- The money quote from Starlin: ‘‘I want to be here. I don’t care if I leave money [on the table]. But I don’t want to go year to year.’’ That is the essence of the win-win situation presented by these types of extensions.
- The money quote from Theo: “If you’re going to commit long-term to a player, you want to make sure you have very few reservations about the talent, about the character. You want to make sure it’s for the right years and the right ages. You want to try to wrap up as many prime-age years as you can. You want to maybe let someone else pay for the decline.”