To be sure, it was always a very long shot that Starlin Castro would be able to make it back in time from an ugly high ankle sprain to get in a game or two. But now it’s a cinch that he won’t.
Castro, who hurt himself on a slide at home on September 2, is still sporting a walking boot. Rick Renteria explained that, with four games left, it’s just not going to happen.
“It would be very difficult for him to be back before the end of the season,” Renteria said Tuesday, per Cubs.com. “He’s still wearing his boot, and he’s not really doing any baseball activity. I think he’s done a great job trying to push himself and come back before the season was over, and that’s a credit to him.”
As we’ve said from the first moment of the injury, the priority is Castro’s long-term health, both in terms of being ready for 2015, but also in terms of being healthy for the offseason. Getting back on the field this year would have been a nice way to finish out a bounce-back year, but failing to do so won’t take anything away from a great year.
Castro finishes 2014 with a .292/.339/.438 line and a 2.9 WAR. His .341 wOBA is third best among all shortstops, and ditto to his 115 wRC+. Each figure was also the highest season mark of Castro’s career.
Defensively, Castro’s errors were down, and his overall defensive performance was in line with recent years. Couple that with his position and his offensive break-back-out? It cannot be overemphasized just how good Castro was this year. We’ll see what happens in the offseason, but if he’s locked in as the Cubs’ starting shortstop next April, there should be nothing but smiles about that.
For whatever reason – well, combination of reasons – Castro gets a disproportionate amount of disaffection from those who follow the Cubs, but the guy is just good. And he’s 24.