It was the hot discussion topic in the wake of the Jeff Samardzija/Jason Hammel/Addison Russell trade: which shortstop will the Chicago Cubs move, and how quickly will they move him? The topic got particularly aggressive play in New York, where Mets writers connected the organization to Starlin Castro, in particular*, with varying degrees of veracity.
*(Though one Adam Rubin report indicated that Javier Baez might be a more realistic target for the Mets.)
Where I, and most thoughtful folks on the Cubs’ side of the aisle, have landed on all of this: the Cubs don’t have to trade anyone, particularly not immediately. As the move of Javier Baez to second base demonstrates, the Cubs can give themselves plenty of options to get all of their offensive talent on the field (well, the shortstops, anyway). Might it be worth exploring, for example, Castro’s value in the offseason, just to see what’s what? Sure.
But putting together a trade in advance of the Trade Deadline – just 10 days away – seemed like a risky approach, given the unproven players behind Castro, and the possibility that his value could be even higher after the season (if the Cubs went the trade route, that is).
And, according to Jon Morosi, that’s pretty much exactly what the Cubs are thinking:
Starlin Castro has drawn some trade interest, but the Cubs do not plan to move him this month, sources say. @FOXSports1
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 18, 2014
Given the Cubs’ situation – out of the race, obvious sellers, lots of infield talent – it’s understandable that teams would ask. Given Castro’s resurgence this year and his team-friendly contract, I’d like to think that just about every team in baseball would have some level of interest. And, yes, Castro would be even more valuable to a team already in a playoff race looking to add him immediately.
But, given that he’s just 24 and under control through 2020, there is plenty of time for a trade partner to get value should they acquire him after the season, rather than in a playoff race. So the impetus, from a value perspective, to deal Castro right now is not all that strong.
That’s why it isn’t likely to be seriously explored over the next 10 days. Let Castro play out the year and complete a full bounce-back season. Let Javier Baez continue to improve his plate approach, and also get in some work at second base. Let Addison Russell show that he’ll soon be ready for AAA. And then re-evaluate everything come November.