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starlin-castro-batSeems like an appropriate time to remind folks that BN does have a commenting policy as part of its Terms of Use. Might I direct your attention to items 1 and 10, in which you agree not to to abuse, harass, threaten, impersonate, or intimidate other Bleacher Nation users, and agree not to “engage in behavior that is not in the interest of facilitating enjoyable, productive discussion (i.e., disruptive comments, “trolling,” comments designed to annoy, irritate, or otherwise inflame the passions of other users). Disagreements are fine and encouraged. Persistent, irritating behavior is not.” This isn’t an issue for 95% of you, but it doesn’t hurt to remind everyone. And, another reminder: just because someone else is doing the above stuff doesn’t mean you have full authority to blast them. Don’t. Not only does that usually make things worse, but it also could violate some of the very things you’re trying to stop.

  • Vine Line features an interview with Cubs GM Jed Hoyer this month, and you can see a portion of that interview here. It’s an interesting read. Among his responses, I found his thoughts on Starlin Castro’s struggles this year, as they relate the Cubs’ relatively well-publicized efforts to make him a more patient hitter, to be particularly interesting: “I personally think that line of thought is a little bit overblown. Every young player can improve. He had a great two seasons when he first came up, but I still think for the power that he has to come out, he’s going to have to be able to hit in better counts. To say, ‘Just keep your hands off him, and don’t try to improve him,’ we’re not going to be a championship organization if guys don’t continue to get better and better. Whether he tried to do some things that confused him during the course of the year or not—and he might have—we want all our guys to focus on getting a pitch in the strike zone and looking to drive it. That’s how you become a really good offense.” Hoyer’s right that there’s no sense in not trying to develop better overall hitters, and the possibility of making Castro into a more patient, more slugging version of his 2010-12 self was worth the risk that it wouldn’t take (as it seemed not to last year). The hope, I suppose, is that the only problem was one of messaging, and that can be fixed with a new staff this year.
  • My concern is that Castro just isn’t going to be able to be that guy, and the Cubs might lose the aggressiveness that made him what he was before the approach changes. Castro saw more pitches last year than he ever has before, but he wasn’t able to consistently convert those deeper at bats into situations where he was in a hitter’s count and he forced the pitcher to come into the zone with something he could drive. That’s where a hefty slugging and OBP come from, but it didn’t happen for Castro last year for what was probably a variety of reasons. Historically, he’s been at his best when he simply did the old “see ball, hit ball” approach, which obviously had the byproduct of shortening a lot of his at bats (and making him something contrary to the Cubs’ current hitting philosophy). I won’t pretend to know what’s best for him going forward, but you’d hate to see so much natural talent squandered. Oh, and also, the Cubs kind of need him to be good.
  • The Cubs have released Dave Sappelt (per Matt Eddy), who never got over the hump that held him back from being what it looked like he could have been: a quality right-handed half of an outfield platoon. Sappelt was derostered earlier this year, so the release is not a surprise.
  • It’s been a long, productive year of baseball for Kris Bryant, and he’s going to do some well-deserved resting. Here’s a nice profile from his hometown paper.
  • Patrick Mooney with a take on the Cubs’ radio and TV situations, noting, among many other things, that Doug Glanville is probably not a realistic candidate for the open radio gig.
  • South Dakota Cubbie

    Thank you Brett!

  • South Dakota Cubbie

    That is to say thank you for the lead in….. as for the rest… lets hope we see some growth from this still young player.

    • jay

      As I’ve said numerous times—how do you look at a 20-year old who’d hitting .300 and getting 200 hits a season and decide he needs fixing??? WTF? Classic case of over-coaching. Yes, we’d like him to develop into more of a power hitter given his frame but really, who cares? This whole OBP bullshit gets out of hand after a while. You took your best pure hitter and totally messed with his head to the point that now he’s behind on fastballs because he’s got the coaches up his ass and he’s thinking too much.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    They should hire Crash Davis to work with Castro. “Lesson number one, don’t think, it can only hurt the ballclub”.

  • Spoda17

    I think Castro is at best batting second hitting .285 – .315… with OBP .350 ish… which if he can do, I’d take it. I doubt he can consistently pull that line off though. I think he will never hit more than 10hrs in a season… It is what it is. Unfortunately, I think 7th in the order and a BA of .275 is more realistic.

  • Blackhawks1963

    I have to be honest…I want Castro to become an ex-Cub my mid-season. Just not a fan. Hopefully he can reestablish some measure of value and be traded. I’m not the only Cub fan with these sentiments either.

    • Voice of Reason

      I believe the front office agrees with your thoughts about getting rid of Castro.

      That said he is so young and less last years numbers has been putting up stats comparable to some of the best shortstops ever.

      I think that the length of control he is under and his salary being so low I think they should keep him. I don’t think he ever hits .330, but what’s wrong with .280 to .290 at the price were paying him?

      • YourResidentJag

        His low OBP? Lower than what you’d like to see for someone you want at the top of the lineup.

      • Ivy Walls

        Teams don’t access a player like Castro as you are. First they look at his financial liability, Castro is signed through 2019 with a favorable option. Second how does he fit their needs and plan. Cubs were or are looking for a cornerstone while a team like Pittsburgh or Washington or even StL is looking for a piece to fit into their puzzle to complete a championship contender.

        Cubs sought to improve Castro into a cornerstone, he is not mentally that kind of player to set up a pitcher and drive the ball for 20-25 dingers a year and an OPS over .850. He is less powerful Vlad Guerrero, good even flashy/spectacular defensively but a classic see-ball where ever it is pitched and hit it.

        Time is now to trade him between Dec and July….best deal top 20 prospect, another Top 50-60 level prospect and a functional MLB player plus exchanges of other 101-150 level prospects based on blocks/needs.

        • YourResidentJag

          I’d be inclined to agree here.

    • BenRoethig

      Castro has 6 years left on a $60 million contract. We’d have to pay his contract and not get much back. Let’s say we trade him for nothing, he rebounds, and Baez and Alcantara bomb, then what? How about trading Rizzo too as he had a down year. We’re talking about young players in the worst environment they could be in (all the pressure, no veterans) and a completely misguided attempt to make them match computer stats.

      • Whiteflag

        ^ love this. Baseball has become so stat heavy. Stats have their place, but people act like its the whole picture. Their are so many other variables in the game. Cubs need some veteran players, who can take the pressure off. Let’s hope Santa brings us something good.

  • jt

    That is a photo of how they would like to see him end his swing; not how he usually ends his swing.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    How many teams would love to have a player that gets 200 hits every year? I think people had visions of Castro turning into a mini version of Aramis Ramirez hitting more than 20 homers and driving in 80 RBI’s while maintaining his 200 hits. Considering the regression of Rizzo and Barney last year also, I think that you really have to question the approach that was being used last year. Considering that in two years that Rizzo and Bryant may well be the only non Latin players in the lineup, I think that Renteria was by far the best choice going forward. Even though I personally liked Dale Sveum I don’t think he was the type of guy to make a player feel loved. I think if you look at how close Castro was to Soriano it is an indication that there is a place for the role of a mentor needed. Sveum simply wasn’t meeting that need. I think Castro and Lake at the top of the order will translate into a lot of runs if we can find someone to bring them home. A Schierholtz, Rizzo, Sweeny middle of the order simply isn’t going to cut it. The sooner we can plug in Bryant and Baez into that equation the better off we will be. I hope that they will be up by the trade deadline this summer.

    • Ivy Walls

      Managers are not mentors, they are boss on the field. An old HOF coach once said the only power I have is to tell a player who has to listen, where and most importantly when he can play. They have to earn that. Some do it by having exceptional talent, some do it through out working the next guy and perform consistently better, some do both, some use up that potential quick and sit.

      Managers play performers and can’t be mentors, they can be better communicators. Now players and coaches can be mentors, better players than coaches.

      Castro liked Soriano’s game, and his numbers$….get it.

    • Pat

      The thing is, Castro has not had 200 hits every year. He has had 200 exactly once. And if he can’t get his OBP back up into the .340 – .350 range, you can’t afford to bat him high enough in the order to have a chance at that many hits. What he has done every year is lead the league in outs, you can’t have that at the top of the lineup.

      He still has a ton of value because of his position, but I think it’s time to scale back the expectations of him becoming a superstar.

      • Rebuilding

        Random stat: Castro has led the league in at bats the last 3 years in a row. Not many people have done that because its hard to continue hitting up in the order with no patience

  • Frank

    Why is it when it comes to the Cubs having 1,2,3,4 years of sucking, It’s “have patiences, their doing the right thing”. But when it comes to Castro, it’s trade him or hang him by the short hairs?

  • sven-erik312

    Have always thought they brought Castro too soon. But that moment is over. Have also thought that sending him to an AL team as a DH might be a good idea. But, he’s still here and now I hope that with new coaching I’ll be proven wrong. I’d like to see him succeeding.

    • Abe Froman

      DH….whaaaaaa?

  • Bill

    Thank god Sveum isn’t here anymore to screw up more young hitters like Castro,Rizzo,Barney and Brett Jackson all these guys have gotten worse listening to Sveum’s advice.

    • jay

      I’m no fan of Dale, but it wasn’t just him. You had Rob Deer as a hitting coach, and then the whole idiotic “Cub way” lifted straight from Moneyball.

      • Jim L

        Did you read Moneyball or are you taking Joe Morgan’s word for it?

        • Camiata2

          I think he took Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill’s word for it.

  • waffle

    VERY interested to see BIll M.’s impact on the hitters. He was such a pro

  • jeff1969

    Castro has been both a future hall of famer and a frustrating doofus in his short career. Fans can live with the lapses as long as he hits. When he stopped hitting, everything else we were nervous about gets that much worse. Now we all notice. In my opinion, the Cubs should keep him for at least two reasons: to build his value back up so we get fair value back for him, and/or until we have someone in the same neighborhood production wise to replace him. Trading him now & sticking Barney over there or some other much lesser replacement is dumb.

    • Voice of Reason

      Jeff1969

      I agree

    • Mike F

      Castro was a future HOF is the prefect return of too good too mess with. While I think when you take apart hitters mental approach whether Sveum or Mueller, you are asking for trouble, you completely lose me when you call him a future HOF, He has never been that. After 4 or 5 years of something spectacular you mint be able to say that. But being generally better than average in a lot of categories and hitting right at 300 for two years does not qualify you for future HOF status on any planet. It pops up now and then and lays the predicate that as a future HOF he is special and should be treated as such. Starlin just hasn’t shown he’s special.

      • Professor Snarks

        No one said e was a future Hof’er, but he is/was on a pace for 3000 hits. How many guys with 3000 hits aren’t in the Hall? 3 or 4 maybe, they they didn’t make it because of cheating.
        Trading Castro for prospects sets us back a year.
        Anyone who thinks we should trade Castro, please think about this. If Baez can’t play shortstop, our next best shortstop prospect was just made available for the rule 5 dratf.

        • MattRM

          I want to keep him. I think the approach should have been more kind of putting a small idea in his head etc…. Instead they basically just force him to go up there and take pitches then not ever being in the weird counts he was in he cannot figure out what’s actually coming next. When your brain gets I the way of a reaction then your reaction is going to slow down! In this case I don’t believe his bat speed is any slower it’s just his brain getting in the way of something that should not have a brain involved.

          That said I GUARANTEE YOU that I know his problem and it has nothing to do with the fact that he does not care etc bc this kid cares and wants to do a good job.

          His issue is and always has been that he has ADD! There is no way around it. That lack of focus SMACKS of ADD. He has it so bad that even doing something he loves he still loses focus!

          I wonder how the process is for someone that actually needs a drug like Adderall! I’m telling you guys that this kid is actually playing with a handicap and if he got that fixed he definitely could be a Hall OF Famer!

          I actually had the same problem as him. I pitched and play golf two things that make you NOT want to have bad thoughts creep into your head. In my case I would be about to throw a pitch and I would get it my head I was going to throw a ball bc the seams didn’t feel right etc. Sure enough boom! With golf I’m halfway into my swing boom bad thought boom shank! I’m and now on Adderall and seriously I went from a 12 handicap to a 6 just from not having bad thoughts creep into my head! Same when I would bat and you can see this with him now you go up there and you should be sure of a pitch that’s coming in a count or if not just prepared to react. In this case I would see it coming and half way there split second think Oh no this is a curve when it’s not and swing right underneath it.

          Castro does that hardcore! It looks like his swing is slow but it’s not his head is not into it! If got an evaluation I know he would be diagnosed with ADD. If he was allowed to take medication you would see a different person hands down! I don’t know what MLB’s policy is for people who are actually shown to need it though.

          • Mike F

            You do know Adderall is a banned substance in the NFL and why without a prescription……

        • http://Theymaynon-tenderBarney Mike F

          You need to read more carefully, he said he has been both a future HOFer and doofus…. what did he not mean about Future HOFer? Indeed someone has said exactly what I said and posted to….

          • MattRM

            Wow ok….You guys didn’t read what I said very well….. I’m saying HE SHOULD GET A PRESCRIPTION! THATS WHY I SAID HE SHOULD BE DIAGNOSED WITH IT! That said I don’t know that EVEN WITH A PRESCRIPTION if MLB would allow it.

            Also, the ADD issue is WHY in ONE INSTANCE HE IS A HOF’ER AND IN ANOTHER HE IS A DOOFUS! When you are in a high pressure situation and you have ADD you tend to be able to focus better, but when you are in a low pressure situation you have your issues. Fielding is a definite form of focus. You go from not a big deal on the team to magically the guy who is looked at to make the play. So you go from bored to excited very quickly I.E. you do not know when you have to focus so you focus the whole time!

            Also, the issue with Castro’s problem with pitch recognition is that now that negative thoughts are in his head it will be difficult to get them out of his head.

            That’s the issue with ADD. He most certainly has it and someone should have him see a psychiatrist as soon as possible because it is fixable.

  • kyle

    I think u guys are all wrong on castro he has never failed at all-in the majors or minors till this year u have to have some room for failure cause every young player does at some point its just part of the game and everyone always talks about his mental errors how about all the balls he gets to that not all shortstops can get to, in my opinion he is poised for a breakoutyear

  • MattRM

    OK….after looking at Hoyer’s response……It just tells me they SUCK!!!! I mean come on!!!! You morons hired Sveum with no real reason of thinking he would be successful. THen to make matters worse you go and hire Rob Deer of all people to help out our player? What!

    You know why they were at it they might as well have hire Mitch Williams to work on our pitchers’ mechanics!

    On top of that this clown can’t even admit they made a mistake and screwing up Castro! Come on! This reminds me of Andy Mcphail all over again!

    THis STINKS of Andy Mcphail! Seriously! If you recall he comes in on the back of his success in Minnesota and says oh well we can save tons of money by doing this the way I did in Minnesota! What that meant was to cut half of the scouting department and have the smallest front office in baseball! Oh and also to make stupid manager and coaching decisions! The one thing I never heard was that he got into actually forcing managers and coaches into screwing with our players’ approaches. I’m pretty sure Mcfail also gave a time frame!

    • Senor Cub

      “THis STINKS of Andy Mcphail!” Here I thought Andy had done a great job with Baltimore Orioles. Does Tillman, Machado, Davis, and all the All-Stars they seem to have suck as well? Sometimes you should do a bit of research before you go blasting your mouth, c’mon the internet is free, you can find all kinds of good stuff on it.

      • MattRM

        Senor Cub if you were not old enough to remember how Mcfail screwed up our organization then you have no business trying to check me on this. Why don’t you do some research before you spout your mouth because in this instance you have NO idea what you are talking about!

        • Senor Cub

          Matt – I am quite familiar with who Andy McPhail. I know he has been quite successful in Baltimore and I am quite familiar with what he did in Chicago. I’ve been a Cubs fan for over 30 yrs and will be until my last breath.

          Reading your posts you seem to want to “blame” someone for everything (Andy and Rob). I hope you realize that in baseball the difference between being great and being awful just isn’t that wide apart from each other.

          • MattRM

            SenorCUB apparently you do NOT know about Andy McFAIL! There was a book written about him entitled Entangled in Ivy that explains how bad his approach was. He also tried to blame ownership! DOes that sound familiar?

            He also cut scouts and FO and then tried to ONLY develop Pitching which screwed us up for more than a decade!

            It’s also the reason why we could NOT develop and decent hitting approach from our minor leagues.

            I’m telling you that if you are THAT bad they write a book about how BAD you are then yes it is your fault!

    • Kyle

      MacPhail did like to keep a small front office, but he actually expanded the scouting department quite a bit in his early days with the Cubs. The shrinking didn’t come until after he left but before the Tribune sold.

      • MattRM

        Kyle…that is not true he actually got rid of scouts and lessened the front office. Hendry was also his hand picked successor. Hendry’s approach was taken from Mcfail directly!

        You have to remember that Mcfail was president for a while before he got in and started acting like GM. Ed Lynch was his GM for a while….. HOw did that turn out?

        • MattRM

          Mcphail came in after the Dallas Green era….Think about this for a second. In the 80’s how many AWESOME prospects did we draft and develop? Um a TON! Mcphail comes in in the early 90’s and what happened then?

          I don’t know what Senor Cub is trying to say. The facts are there! Mcphail RUINED the decade of the 90s for us! Big deal he goes to another team and does something! He did nothing for the Cubs!

          • YourResidentJag

            Hard to disagree with this.

          • MattRM

            McPhail was SO BAD that they even wrote a book about his stay in Chicago! It’s called entangled in ivy. It talks about how they tried to JUST DEVELOP PITCHERS and did not worry at ALL about position players etc!

            DOes that sound familiar to anyone? Oh and he also tried to blame his failure as a GM on ownership even though they told him multiple times he could spend money!!!!!

            • Senor Cub

              Ok. Obviously you have to have it your way. Not sure what the 80’s, 90’s, 2000’s have to do with the current FO. You win, I am bugging out of this conversation.

              • MattRM

                SenorCub you are arguing something that EVERY Cubs fan knows who went through the 90’s!

                We got Mcfail thinking he was going to be amazing and finally take the Cubs to the promised land with his NEW APPROACH! We gave him 12 full years!

                I hope we NEVER do that again! Someone on here said the other day that 3 years should prompt a review of a person’s job! I totally agree with that!

            • MattRM

              OMG! I forgot about this quote from Mcfail!!!! The following quote is from Andy Mcfail after six years with the Cubs of failure!

              “We’re not failing. We just haven’t seen the results of trades, and our farm sytem…”

              UGH!!!!! It’s already what 3 or 4 years into this new regime?

              You know what….now that I think about it…..It’s hard to blame Hendry for our suckiness because he inherited a terribly organization!

              • 1060Ivy

                BTW, hope that everyone realizes that MacPhail was canned in Baltimore – actually his contract was not renewed after 2011 season.

                The players he drafted and developed went on to the playoffs in 2012 so 5 years into MacPhail’s plan but a year later than his contract.

          • Kyle

            I’m not going to be twisted into the position of defending Andy MacPhail, who failed as Cubs president (and offers some striking parallels to the current regime). But it’s hard to blame him for ruining the 1990s when five of the ten 1990s seasons were gone before he took over.

        • Kyle

          You are incorrect about MacPhail’s history with regards to the size and spending on the scouting department.

          Ed Lynch was an unmitigated disaster. Hendry was an extremely effective farm director who went on to be a mediocre GM.

          • MattRM

            Hey Kyle…..It’s in the book I told you guys about. Check it out and you will see what I’m talking about.

            In my opinion Hendry was HANDS down better in the drafting department and really did try to change the farm system. The problem is that you CANNOT change something that has been that way for so long in the time had.

            Theo and Jed have NO idea what that’s like bc Hendry did improve some of it. If Theo and JED inherited what Hendry did from Mcphail OMG! We would be looking at a 15 year plan from them!

          • MattRM

            Kyle, Also Lynch worked directly under MacPhail in the same way that Hoyer works for Theo! That unmitigated failure from Lynch had MacPhail all over it as well!

            If this fails you aren’t going to say that Hoyer failed up Theo failed. That’s the same thing as back then!

            This is earily close!! UGh!!!!

  • Senor Cub

    Castro had an off year, even the great Albert has had an off year now. Castro is extremely young still. I am more concerned about his fielding then I am about his hitting. He is not exactly costing a ton of money if you look at the position he plays. I would consider trading him for top of ration prospects otherwise, no point in doing that. This FO is quite smart, they don’t just grant contracts for the sake of doing it. I agree in that you need more mentors on this team but who is to say that Castro can’t be the one to step up into that lead role. Shark isn’t exactly young(in MLB terms), he could also take on that role. Rizzo had his off year and went back to the minors. He has ~ 700 hits in 4 years which average ~175 hits a year. How many 23 yr olds have that kind of track record. Let’s collective stop bitching about Castro and realize what a productive player he has been for 4 yrs. Heck he was in the majors for two full years before he could have an adult beverage.

    • MattRM

      Senor Cub I do agree on some front with you…..The difference is that this was a MANUFACTURED off year. Castro was not going have a year like this until idiot Rob Deer got ahold of him!

      There is a difference between having growing pains and having a coach screw you up!

      Think about this….. Jeff Bagwell was a GREAT player but what would have happened had some wanna be coach in the minors or his first five years in the majors tried to change everything about how he hit? DO you think he would have been as good as he was?

      • Senor Cub

        “Think about this….. Jeff Bagwell” Ugh…say what! I loved Jeff when he played, one of my all time favorites. Not sure what that has anything to do with Castro.

        I get your point about trying to coach up Castro, I unlike you believe that in the long term, Castro will be better for it.

  • rockin’ dawg

    Alot of good/contrasting comments on here. I’m not even sure which side of this argument I’m on!

  • MattRM

    P.S. I don’t blame Castro one bit on this!!!!! If they don’t screw with him think about this….if Baez comes up at second and becomes HALF the guy he is in the minors and one of Bryant or Olt turns into what they should be….we have the makings of a Yankee offense.

    Offensively Castro is very close to Jeter, Baez COULD be like Cano with the power and then Bryant or Olt! Wow!

    But now you have screwed with a kid and taken his confidence away from him. I dunno if he comes back from this season! Unless Mueller is good at communicating the approach that made him successful as a player! I mean COME ON!!!!!! ROB DEER PEOPLE!!!!! ROB DEER!!!!! I thought Thed was supposed to be smart!!!!

  • Kevin F.

    After all the Hendry years of hands-off practice towards prospects, and the resultant failure of many of them, I tend to defend the new approach with Castro.

    • YourResidentJag

      That would be great as well if Castro was in the low minors. At this level, really hard to teach plate discipline.

      • MattRM

        Exactly!!!!! I have no problem with the “Cubs Way” in the minors, but you can’t try to do a total overhaul in someone’s approach once they’ve played two full years with TONS of success at the plate.

      • YourResidentJag

        I know I’m gonna get killed on here. AZ wants to trade Didi Gregorius. I’d rather have him at SS. Better defender. Shows inclinations toward putting on some decent power and has a higher OBP.

        • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

          No, If Didi is on the OUTS, his 2013 numbers on swinging at balls and making contact have improved, trending right:
          http://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=6012&position=SS#pfxplatediscipline

          Castro’s have trended the opposite way. But 2014 has to prove Castro’s rebound year, else…the discussion centers on in-house options.

          AZ has to figure their response to SF, SD, and LA…can they add something that is going to overtake LA? (Their budget is pretty tight…at least that’s the story they are sticking to, so far.)

          Appreciate the mention yesterday…thanks.

          • YourResidentJag

            I’d rather Gregorious glove though. Are you saying that he’s headed the wrong direction with plate discipline? Am I missing something? AZ also has a prospect by the name of Owings at SS. That’s why they’re making Didi available.

            • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

              Didi’s numbers improved where you would like them too.

              Chris Owings, yep. Though I think they are leaning towards 2B on him.

              AZ/Cubs would have to be a massive trade, I think. But I can’t see Kevin Towers risking his blue chip pitching pieces for Shark or biting into Castro…it would be a massive trade that neither side would live down if it failed.

              KT loves Lake, evidently…leverage?

              AZ best hope they get great seasons from their current roster. Minor swaps..But no guts, no glory.

              No telling….

              Cubs: maybe drumming up interest in hopes Shark turns in a hot 2014 1st half. If he does, and the team ain’t getting anywhere, then you get those Will Myers type prospects coming to the Cubs. We can hope…

              • YourResidentJag

                If the Diamondbacks said will give you Didi for Arietta would you do it? I would, even if meant moving Didi to 2b.

                • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

                  Long term, I get the younger guy. Position player I can use elsewhere. Jake Arrieta – I do like his stuff – but he’s teased before….

          • YourResidentJag

            Your welcome. BTW, your analysis convinced me that David Murphy would have been a good acquisition for us. Too bad.

            • http://deepcenterfield.blogspot.com Jason Powers

              Well, Cleveland liked acquiring him. And they paid about what I thought they would. But the results will dictate how well that works out….Cleveland obviously saw what Detroit did…their response will be obviously less pricier.

    • Mike F

      So hands off Hendry develops Castro and brings to the majors. Hendry’s two years Castro hits 300 and then we get the new Cubs way and intelligent hitting and it’s ll down hill and that is exactly what is happening. Maybe Castro doesn’t fit their model? Seems obvious. Or we can continue to blame Hendry for all the problems. Only thing is Castro wasn’t struggling like this under the Hendry approach. I personally think the logical and right thing to do for all involved is to trade Castro rather the screw around with his hitting.

      • MattRM

        You know I came to the conclusion that really Hendry was not the problem! If you think about it our system had been so screwed up by the time he got it it had no real chance of coming back!

        Mcphail only wanted pitchers and then after Mcfail left we start drafting and trying to develop quality players other than pitchers like Hee Sop Choi and Cory Patterson etc…

        If you think about it if we actually had an organization at the time that could develop hitting Choi and Patterson might have turned out much better than they ended up.

        Before that in Mcfail’s tenure I can’t think of ONE really highly drafted position player!

  • Justin

    I am still trying to wrap my head around just how freaking bad Castro was last year. I would have never imagined he could be that bad at the plate before his age 40 season. He was clearly in between and lost much of last yr, but his bat speed seemed slow to me as well. At this point I would be happy to take back the Castro who hits .300 with moderate power, 30 errors a yr, and chasing butterflies while in the field Castro. I miss that guy….

    • Senor Cub

      “..and chasing butterflies while in the field..” Love it!

  • Mike22

    I see last year as simply a development year for Castro. The attempt to teach him better habits at he plate wasn’t to completely change him, rather to allow him to see more MLB pitching and start to realize what pitches look like before flailing miserably at balls in the dirt or out of the strike zone. By doing this for a majority of the season it should have allowed Castro that opportunity. As he goes back to his previous approach, he will have a much better plate discipline because he will recognize the garbage pitches much sooner.

    • Senor Cub

      Mike 22 – right on!

    • Mike F

      The problem is he isn’t going back to the previous approach. They are going to use Mueller and Rick for Round 3 of the Cub’s Way tinkering. I get it as to why, they think he can hit more for power and they are right, but it won’t happen in my view the way they are going about it. They want him to be an intelligent intellect type hitter and want to teach it. I don’t think at this point he has the tools to use what they are trying to teach. Results aren’t going to be much better on the upside than 270 and a couple of home run increases. And if he rejects it the fall continues. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting the same results. The Cubs are changing the faces and trying to do the same thing with Castro.

      • Good Captain

        I agree Round 3 as you coin it may turn out as you say but I think it gives better insight as to how the FO perceived the prior manager’s batting instruction efforts.

        • http://Theymaynon-tenderBarney Mike F

          Yeah I buy that and am not really nor have been critical of them for that. I am critical of them for having not seen the obvious that Castro doesn’t fit their mode. They beed to get the best deal they can for him. I think they are trying to recreate Manny and he isn’t Manny…..

  • Crazyhorse

    Castro made 5 million dollars last year while Scott Baker earned 5 million dollars sitting in a physical Theapy office for 3/4 of the season in his first and maybe last season as a Cub. Castro will make 5 million on 2014 and 6 million in 2015 . The time to quit on Castro is not this season or the next

    Clearly the actions the Front office did not help Castro and to some degree they fired the man responsible in conveying that message to Castro and other young players for a dismal 2013 performance. Tis the reason Sveum was fired and Renteria hired

    Renteria played 2b/3b and has the grasp of instructing young players in his field of expertise( the infield) and with Baez soon to come up , a bilingual manger should be able to convey instruction on a more personal and constructive form of guidance to these two players and hopefuly that will translate to better performance on the field.

    I expect a good turnabout from Castro mainly because critical communication can be relayed faster and precise in the are of instruction Now if Castro can not improve and sinks further then the blame is soley on castro and his behavior.

  • Bill

    I can’t help it but when I see Castro in the field it reminds me of little league when a kid would be day dreaming and wandering around in the field.

  • Mike F

    And you make my argument for me. If its the Cub Way and Castro and he hits 260 say, then next season at this time his value is less, much less. And if we delude ourselves here and end up going to Florida thinking Mueller can be the magician to fix Starlin trading Baez it could get even more dicey. If a guy doesn’t fit what you do, sending him somewhere he can succeed is good for both the organization and him. If making Castro the face of the Cubs is the future of the MLB roster, then it is not all that good.

  • FullCountTommy

    I see a lot of trashing here about trying to change the approach for Castro?? What was the harm?? If you look at his at bats, he was working deeper counts, but he wasn’t doing it the right way. Castro simply didn’t understand what they wanted him to do. The approach is about looking for the right pitch, not taking pitches for the sake of taking pitches. I can’t tell you how many times this past year Castro would take a first pitch strike right down the middle just to swing at a borderline second pitch and then wave at a third strike way outside the strike zone. Castro is a perfect example of a “see ball, hit ball” hitter. He has excellent bat to ball skills and has the ability to keeps his hands in the zone for an extended period of time. He won’t hit for a ton of power, but I can easily see Castro being a career .280-.290 hitter with 40 doubles and 10 triples per year. Some guys are just naturally talented at hitting and aren’t really heady baseball players. If Castro can get his confidence back and get back to what he did starting his career, he should be just fine.

    • Crazyhorse

      Confidence is the key. and communication is the vehicle to help recover that baseball trait that most people take for granted. When Castro came up he had a good communicator in Rudy Jaramillo. last season he had Deer. not hard to see who was the better instructer was /in Castro performance.

    • Mike F

      Ahhhh…………… so he’s the perfect see the ball hit the ball hitter? I don’t know about perfect but that question is better put to Theo. Yes I think he is a see the ball hit the ball hitter and probably always will be. But go back, Lou was a sharer of that philosophy as was Rudy a reacher of it and the aggressiveness. Under that he came to the majors and prospered under it hitting 300 and 307. Theo is the one who ran round 1 with Rowson and co and only pulled off when it was working initially in 2012, result was 283. Then we had round two and make no mistake Svuem got fired but Theo as the author and the result backed off with 60 games left and castro bounced back slightly to 245. So now the answer is round 3 of the Ted Williams approach and that is what it is with Mueller.

      The problem with the Ted Williams approach is only very few students were capable of getting it.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    I disagree that Baez will be the second baseman of the future. I think that spot is reserved for Alcantara. He’s a switch hitter and has base stealing skills. Bryant will go to the outfield and Baez will play third. I believe Castro will stay at short. This guy is like 23 years old? And had an off year and everybody is thumbs down on the guy. All the comments about Deere are probably valid. And then Sveum putting his two cents worth into the equation too. If it were only Castro i might be concerned, but it was Rizzo and Barney too. I noticed that last year it seemed like Castro and Barney were trying to pull the ball too much. Both of those guys used to dump that outside pitch into right field in 2011 and 2012, and many times for extra bases. I can’t emphasize the ability to use the whole field as a hitter too much. And we all know that Rizzo has a sweet inside out stroke to left when he chooses to go that way. Problem was he was trying to jack everything out of the park. And yes Theo fancies himself to be Mr. Money ball. I give him and Hoyer credit for the minor league rebuild, but the rosters they are fielding on the major league level is atrocious. They have dumped most of the salaries from the Hendry regime so the least they can do is spend a little money. Coming out with the attitude that this year is a wash doesn’t bode well for these young players in regards to instilling a winning attitude.

  • Ivy Walls

    Question for the Nation: Would you trade Castro and Villaneuva (3B) for Pitt’s Polanco (LH OF) and Taillon (RHP) both AAA level at 22 yrs (even throw in Szczur for Pitt’s Reese (C) or another pitcher like Oliver, opens another 40 man spot )

    Pitt needs to win now, NOW. Polanco is blocked by the Pirates OF and they have pitching and catching depth through the system. They need a SS who could give them 200 hits and improve their offense over STL

    Cubs would benefit greatly with a truly top RH starter who is ready, with a super FB and curve and also bring up a LH hitting power CF’er. It would allow the Cubs to trade Soler for value and bring along Almora as a future LF’er and play Lake throughout the diamond while opening two spots, Baez moving up and a 3B spot at AAA.

  • Bill

    I would make that trade in a heart beat but I don’t think Pittsburgh would.

  • RoughRiider

    Ron Santo hit .227 his third year in the league. I’m guessing a lot of you would have wanted him traded then. Be a little more patient. I believe that Castro, Rizzon and Barney will all hit and play better next year.

  • Jono

    Trying to improve castro’s approach was a nice try. Worth a shot. But it didn’t work. Isn’t a productive player who doesn’t fit the philosophy better than a non-productive player who tries to fit the philosophy? If they want the option to trade castro for a huge haul next off season, they better let him be who he is

    • http://Theymaynon-tenderBarney Mike F

      Clearly everything they are saying is they will continue to tinker with Castro as long as he is Cub. Why are we even discussing it. Both Theo and Hoyer are clear the Starlin tinkerfest will continue. What will change is Rick and Mueller will do the tinkering.

      • Jono

        Clearly that’s what hoyer said, but it’s nice to discuss legitimate disagreements with their approach.

  • Rebuilding

    The FO handling of Castro is one of my only WTF moments with them. Jed and Theo are smart enough to know you can’t teach plate disii e to guys once they are Castro’s age. That is all instincts he learned when he was 10. It’s just trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. If that’s what they want then they should just trade him because Castro is never going to be a patient hitter. I really don’t know why they did it other than obstinance and our way or the highway thinking. But now they’ve hurt his trade value, as well. Just one of the few things they’ve done that makes no sense

    • http://Theymaynon-tenderBarney Mike F

      I agree with a lot of it, but obviously it makes sense to them. It seems to be critical to them they turn Rizzo and Castro into great players. Rizzo kind of fits, but the fit with Castro appears poor. I think it is what academics do. Try to fit square pegs into round holes and practice theory and experiment. Nothing wrong with it in academic and research, but in the real world it is a mess. You have to have standards and this defines the Cubs. Winning is clearly no longer the standard. Now the application of winning and standard is being postponed. It is problematic so why not practice a little more with Castro and get him tinkered with to get the maximum out of him. I hope this is all incorrect, but the Cubs appear to me to be in a tinkering experiment where win isn’t an important measurement standard.

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