That Castro Deal Isn’t Done Yet and Other Bullets

Between last night and this morning, I’ve had four Krispy Kreme donuts. That doesn’t seem like a lot, until you consider how relatively small they are … and you look at the calories in them. I think I’ll be riding the exercise bike today.

  • Starlin Castro and the Cubs have NOT yet agreed to an extension, despite the Enrique Rojas report from last evening. “We still have a few days to get this finished off, and that’s if everything goes well,” Castro’s agent Paul Kinzer told the Tribune. “It could still blow up. It’s ongoing. We don’t have a formal contract. I’m on a beach down in Florida and I saw [the report] scrolling. How could anyone go with that without it being confirmed?” These premature reports are becoming quite the issue in the Cubs’ world. At present, Theo Epstein has no comment, and the Cubs don’t have any announcements scheduled.
  • That said, the deal is obviously going to get done – Castro was asked about the deal last night and he quipped that he liked the numbers. “The numbers they said on the TV, I don’t know if it’s right yet,” Castro said, according to Patrick Mooney. “But, I mean, I’ll take it.”
  • Brett Jackson says last night was the best he’s felt at the plate this year, despite having a few strikeouts (he also homered, his first in the bigs). “I think today is the best I’ve felt at the plate despite the strikeouts,” said Jackson. “I let it loose a little bit today. Not to say I was holding back before, but I’ve been working tirelessly with James [Rowson, hitting coach] and Dale on some stuff. New stuff can be a challenge to put into the game, but today I kind of felt good and let the swing go.”
  • Anthony Rizzo talks about his even keeled approach, which helps him stay focused in each game.
  • Alfonso Soriano is proud to have reached the 1,000 RBI plateau. He should be proud, even if RBI aren’t a particularly useful stat.
  • A brief interview with Jorge Soler.
  • So, Melky Cabrera tried very hard to beat his steroid rap. Like, created-a-fake-website hard.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

33 responses to “That Castro Deal Isn’t Done Yet and Other Bullets”

  1. JR

    I am starting to think that Marmol could have some decent trade value. When he is right, he’s filthy. Cards proved last yr that a deep bullpen is important in the playoffs. If the Cubs are willing to eat a big chunk of his contract, dude may bring us back a solid prospect.

  2. JMick

    Anyone else feel like Castro’s agent is probably not the happiest with him right now? I mean I applaud Starlin for not getting greedy with this deal (it’s still a TON of money for most people) but he’s not helping his agent’s bargaining power by saying things like he’s wiling to leave money on the table or that he’d take the deal he’s read about online. Mr. Kinzer is probably wishing his client would keep his mouth shut ha ha.

    1. Patrick W.

      Unless, of course, the deal on the table is for less than what has been reported and this is a good way to have the FO hear straight from Castro what he wants and that he feels THAT is leaving money on the table.

    2. Carew

      and uh who cares? Agents are way too greedy

      1. JMick

        Agreed

  3. Kevin

    I certainly hope the Castro deal gets done, if not, it’s another media mishap reporting premature news. Us Cubs fans can only take so many letdowns.

    1. loyal100more

      lets hope local media doesnt “dempster” the deal!

  4. pouncey

    I think runs batted in is a useful stat. It demonstrates the answer to what many have been pondering about Soriano: why does he have such little value on the trade market? Historically, he has had a hard time being a great run producer – his home runs not withstanding.

    1. Drew7

      The reason for that is the fact that he batted leadoff for most of his career. So really, that’s a great example of how useless the stat is.

      1. pouncey

        He’s never been a prolific run producer. Poor in less than 2 out, man on third situations. You’re wrong, but proud. Cheers.

        1. Drew7

          Soriano (career)

          RISP- .807 OPS
          On 3rd, lt 2 out – .857 OPS
          Men on – .820 OPS

          I am proud, but you’re the one that’s wrong. Cheers smartass.

        2. Chet Masterson

          Did you know that 4409 of Alfonso’s 7362 career plate appearances have come with not a single runner on base?

          That’s 59.9% of his career PAs where he has a 0% probability of driving in anyone other than himself with a homer. It shouldn’t be complicated for you to figure out this will lead to lower than normal RBI totals. Albert Pujols, buy contrast has had bases empty for only 51.4% of his PAs. I wish to not argue that Soriano is as good as Pujols (indeed talent is partially why there is a statistical disparity between the two of them), but I do wish to illustrate Soriano’s circumstances that reflect why he has ONLY ONE THOUSAND runs batted in.

          Now let’s look at your claims. You’ve first said

          “Historically, he has had a hard time being a great run producer – his home runs not withstanding.”

          but when pressed further, you isolated it to say

          “Poor in less than 2 out, man on third situations.”

          I’m assuming you – like me – went and found Soriano’s baseball reference page here and then found his career splits under the “Bases Occupied” section.

          What amuses me (besides the fact you’ve dismissed his home runs for their ability to produce runs) is that there are numerous combinations of runners on base splits and you chose the one that has the lowest number of career PAs to use as your argument, since that was also the lowest tOPS+. Indeed, in 159 PAs with a runner on only 3rd and less than 2 outs, he indeed carries a low 64 tOPS+. Of course, in total with men on base in his career he has 2953 PAs and a 99 tOPS+. Ironically, with the bases empty it’s 101 – meaning he’s pretty consistent regardless of the situation.

          I am surprised that you’re so smug about someone else being wrong (in your opinion) when you clearly have misused Soriano’s career numbers to suit your argument.

  5. Pat

    Possibly. But he’s not really leaving all that much on the table. Remember that the first four years are arb years which would likley pay something like 2.5, 4.5, 7 and 10 mil (assuming he starts picking up more power or obp). That’s 24 mil there, so it is a 3/36 deal for the three free agent years. Usually the player gives about a 10% discount for the long term guarantee. That would make it 3/42 for the arb years, which fits in with a 16mil option for the following year. The deal as reported is right about what he should expect, a little more actually as it is assuming a fair amount of improvement.

  6. Lindsay

    I hadn’t heard anything about who the Cubs sent down after the double header last night so I checked the transactions on cubs.com. It was Raley that was optioned to AAA. I thought that he would have to be sent done but now he’s subjected to the 10-day rule. Sveum said he would stay in the rotation but now he won’t be able to start again until the 28th. With the off day Thursday, they can just skip that spot in the rotation but they need a starter for the 22nd. It sounds like that could be Rusin.

    1. Andrew

      Brett probably knows better than I do, but I believe that the person called up to be the “26th man” in a doubleheader doesn’t have that day count against their clock on when they can be called back up. So, basically, Raley can be called back up 10 days from his last start before the double header.

      I may be totally off, but I think that’s actually the reason he was sent down 6 days ago or so.

  7. Josh

    Why isn’t RBI a useful stat? I mean for a guy like Soriano I would have to say it is. A middle of the order batter is paid to get RBI’s. I mean it isn’t the only stat you should use to compare players as the team you play for is a big factor but I would have to say it’s quite useful.

    1. Njriv

      It is a useful stat, but in some ways it is overrated and does not tell the full story. For instance, if Soriano has been swinging the bat as good as he has this season but only has half the RBI’s it would not be a knock on Soriano but it would be a knock on his teammates for not getting on base ahead of him so he can drive them in.

    2. Drew7

      Because “clutch” is a myth. Soriano, like most other hitters, have nearly identical numbers with men on or with the bases empty. Therefore, it comes down to runners getting on ahead of you.

      1. Scotti

        Theo’s group in Boston settled on clutch not being myth. Of course what clutch means to one person is different than what it means to another (and “close and late” is as dumb a stat is as CERA is). They also settled on closers being neccesary and high school players being draftable, etc.

        FWIW, when they came in, they specifically mentioned Soriano’s RBI from last year as an indication as to his value as a player.

    3. DocPeterWimsey

      The stat that could be meaningful is the proportion of baserunners that a guy drives in. However, once you take into account power, that varies randomly from one year to the next for individual players. The power is not random: so a guy with good slugging who bats behind guys with high OBP will drive in a lot of runners. Get a bunch of guys who can hit the ball hard and who get on base frequently (e.g., the Yanks or the Sox), and if you can keep them on the field, then you will score a ton of runs.

  8. Tommy

    After reading that article about Melky Cabrera, it makes you wonder how many athletes have done that exact same thing and gotten exonerated because of it. So sad.

  9. die hard

    This explains why Sveum was trying to belittle his value “6th 7th hitter on good team” last week….well orchestrated attempt to get Castro cheap…also a cheap way of doing business….the kid’s agent is right for being pissed….

    1. Flashfire

      No. Simply no. The deal was being hammered out between Castro’s agent and the Cubs — outside opinions were wholly unimportant. If the agent were really pissed, the response is: “Cool, if he’s a 7th place hitter, why don’t we make it $70 million over 6 years. $10 million for each place in the lineup, you understand.”

      Sveum’s response was almost certainly in response to the 5 millionth version of: “Why is he hitting fifth these days?”

    2. Cubs1967

      just another reason why dale quade won’t be around after 2014……cluelss on batting orders and clueless on good hitters…….really a joke this guy was hired over Ryno.

      1. DocPeterWimsey

        But Dale is correct: a low OBP, decent slugging guy like Castro bats 6th or 7th in a good lineup. Moreover, his bosses are big proponents of putting together rosters where you can bat guys like Castro down there.

        1. Featherstone

          I agree with you doc and the I think the key words that most people miss out are “in a good lineup.” The Cubs certainly do not have a good lineup and it shows, The fact that you can get that kind of power out of your SS position and still maintain the defense that Castro shows at time is a huge plus. Him batting 6th or 7th isnt a knock on Castro at all since most SS are of the light hitting variety and should bat 8th.

  10. Whiteflag

    And I finally thought the Ryno saga was over…

    1. Carew

      long time no see Whiteflag

      1. Whiteflag

        I’ve been around. Just not commenting.

  11. die hard

    consider this then…Todays NY Times features Barney as best 2B in baseball…based on WAR…poor timing for article or was it planted by Cubs to beat down Castro’s agent?…nothing would surprise me

    1. terencem

      Barney’s WAR on BBREF has been inflated all year because of the new way they calculate dWAR and how they include it in WAR. At one point, he was one of the 5 most valuable players in the NL on BBREF.

  12. Cubbie Blues

    Castro’s agent must be face-palming quite a bit lately. He keeps on putting quotes out there that he will leave money on the table.