When the Chicago Cubs picked up big-time shortstop prospect Addison Russell as the centerpiece of the Jeff Samardzija/Jason Hammel trade with the A’s in early July, rumors immediately swirled that the Cubs were going to be soon trading shortstop Starlin Castro. Those rumors emanated almost exclusively out of New York, and most were speculative, based largely on the mere fact of the Cubs having three quality future shortstop options (Castro, Russell, and Javier Baez). Any thoughts of a trade were quickly squashed, at least before the Trade Deadline.
For their part, the Cubs also immediately let everyone know that when it comes to elite shortstop talent, there’s no such thing as “too many” options, as these are all guys that could move around if they had to. My take was, and remains: the Cubs will consider their options after the season, and will remain open to various possibilities. But if no deal presents itself that makes sense, there’s no issue in proceeding with all players in tow.
Patrick Mooney offers up an interesting additional angle to this discussion, writing, “There have been rumblings the Cubs are considering moving Castro – possibly as soon as this winter – to acquire the frontline pitching they need (someone like [Zach] Wheeler).” Mooney’s piece is a good read on Castro, even beyond that one rumor-y snippet (including some Castro discussion on whether he’d now be willing to move positions, something he’d previously indicated he would accept if it arose).
As far as I can recall, that’s the first indication that the Cubs would, in fact, consider dealing Castro this offseason to pick up pitching. It always made sense that they would consider it, though. The point of accumulating so much talent, of course, is that it gives you options in roster construction. While it would be difficult to pull the trigger on moving a guy with Castro’s remaining upside (and with proven big league chops and a team-friendly contract), nothing should be off the table right now.
To be sure, there is still plenty of Castro chatter from the New York media, especially with the Cubs in town. Examples here, here, and here. The last one contains a bonus “actually, maybe the Mets view Javier Baez as the better fit” rumor. Mostly, these pieces remain speculative, connecting the dots between the Cubs’ young shortstops and the Mets’ young pitching.
I don’t think we’ll stop hearing about these things once the Cubs leave New York on Monday. Until/unless other moves are made that preclude the possibility of a Castro trade, there will probably be rumors – even if they are merely driven by speculation. He’s too valuable and intriguing for other teams not to discuss.
In that way, the headline could be reworded and broadened a bit: the Starlin Castro rumors might soon start coming from outside New York and Chicago.