Cubs, Starlin Castro Working On Long-Term Deal

FRIDAY, 5:58pm: Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that it would be a six or seven-year contract with a club option for one additional year. Castro is a Super Two, so the Cubs would be buying out all of four years of arbitration eligibility plus two or three free agent years. Talks continue to progress and a deal could be completed by next week.

THURSDAY, 10:58pm: Castro's agent Paul Kinzer confirmed to Bruce Levine of that he has had talks with the club about a new deal.  "I've been working with the Cubs on contract negotiations for a period of time," Kinzer said. "Starlin would like to be a Chicago Cub for many years to come."

8:23pm: The Cubs are working on a long-term deal with shortstop Starlin Castro, two industry sources told David Kaplan of  The deal could be for six or more years and is expected to be finalized before the end of the 2012 season.

A six-year deal would buy out Castro's remaining arbitration years and two years of free agency which he would reach after the 2016 season.  Castro's agents at Wasserman Media Group are likely to look at fellow shortstops Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes, and Troy Tulowitzki as possible comps for the 22-year-old.

Earlier this year, Mike Axisa estimated that the Cubs will have to spend roughly $20MM to cover his arbitration years and $12-15MM for each year of free agency.  Theo Epstein & Co. have an additional year of arbitration to cover as the shortstop is likely to qualify as a Super Two.

One baseball source opined to Kaplan that the Cubs were foolish to promote the shortstop as early as they did in the 2010 season.  Had they waited longer to bring Castro to the big leagues, they could have delayed the start of his service clock and prevented him from achieving Super Two status.

Castro's offensive production hasn't been as strong as it has in the previous two seasons as he's hitting .276/.307/.422 with 12 homers in 495 plate appearances.  Defensively, Castro has a UZR/150 of 5.1, the best of his three campaigns.

Mike Axisa contributed to this post.

40 Responses to Cubs, Starlin Castro Working On Long-Term Deal Leave a Reply

  1. JakeD 3 years ago

    Well, it’s about time!!!

  2. Guest 3 years ago

    Are they really about to sign him long term in the middle of the worst year of his career? When your latest year is your worst year, your career is pretty much never certain.

    • Hi 3 years ago

      True, but if it’s anything like the Hanley deal, it’ll be a good deal for both sides. Not a huge risk for cubs, and Starlin gets paid. Plus he’s so young.

    • rainyperez 3 years ago

      It could be a buy low situation for them and a PR move for the fan base that doesn’t look at advanced statistics and hate players taking a walk.

      • You’re so right, rainy. I’m a Cubs fan and I think WAR is that group from the 70s that wrote “Low Rider” and know damn well that all walks ever do is clog the bases.

        • His quantity of hits more than make up his lack of walks. Especially at a defensive position. Hit > walk

          • jwsox 3 years ago

            quantity of hits never make up for walks. yes a walk is a good as a single but considering his entire OBP for his career is very close to his AVG for his career thats just a bad statement

          • Quantity of hits DOES make up for it. A Single, at it’s minimum advances each runner one base. A Walk, at its maximum, advances each runner one base. A single is much better than a walk, no questioning that. The question of much debate, especially on fangraphs, is how much value is in a walk compared to a single.

          • rainyperez 3 years ago

            But the problem is Castro would rather put the ball in play with his free swinging which could mean DPs or an out.

            Taking a walk means you see at minimum 4 pitches and don’t have a chance on an out unless the ball passes the catcher and he throws out the runner trying to advance to an extra base.

            With Castro’s free swinging he’s likely to see less pitches. Seeing more pitches is valued because it directly affects the pitcher’s endurance and the batter on deck gets more time to evaluate the opposing pitcher.

            It’s not a surprise that the leagues best hitters often will take walks and see over 4 pitches per at-bat.

          • Taking pitches is not valued over a high batting average. While what you state about taking pitches being important is true, how you are valuing taking pitches is incorrect.

        • rainyperez 3 years ago

          Didn’t mean to generalize the hardcore fans in the Cubs fan base. I apologize and I should’ve been more specific. The majority of fan bases in all of baseball do that and only a minority of each fan base actually knows the value of taking a walk.

          I think the general fan base only sees the AVG/HRs and only until recently have OBP and SLG been factoring into broadcasts along with Baseball Tonight’s new buzz word “WAR.”

          While I do enjoy advance stats I don’t live by them as I believe not all of them are perfect.

          • Fair enough, and I apologize for being glib. I actually agree with your original point that the Cubs may be looking to buy low (at least in some sense) with Castro based on his down offensive season. At the same time, they must be assuming he’ll rebound at the plate in the future or they wouldn’t be offering him a long-term extension.

  3. sdsuphilip 3 years ago

    Good move, Castro might not reach his OBP totals in his first 2 years going forward but I suspect the power spike will get even better and make up for it more.

  4. bobbybaseball 3 years ago

    As long as Castro can continue to play SS, he’s worth the risk. His offensive production is good at such a premium position. If he has to move to third base or the outfield, not so much. Unless he develops significant power (25+ homer power), Castro must bat for a high avg to be of value since he doesn’t walk.

    • jwsox 3 years ago

      his numbers translate well into left field, which is probably where he will wind up, adding to that having his cannon arm in left is an extra

      • baseball52 3 years ago

        Please make sense of this. There’s no reason why a kid who has plus range and a plus arm at SS should move to left field. Especially not because of some defensive miscues at the age of 22.

  5. Jason Zenk 3 years ago

    Castro will not be cubs ss long term.

    • Based off — defense? low-walk rate? Why do you think this?

      • petrie000 3 years ago

        honestly, his defense isn’t spectacular. If a better defensive prospect comes along and he doesn’t continue improving his glove work, moving him to the 2B of 3B long term would make sense.

        Though if the original poster is implying he won’t but with the Cubs long term i need a moment to stop chuckling….

        • Jason Zenk 3 years ago

          Castro will have to make leaps and bounds on his defense. dont get me wrong. There are times, and plays he makes, makes ya think holycrap this kid is a BEAST. but as a SS he needs to be more consistent. SS needs to be a vacuum. I was thinking they will move him to 3rd, BUT thats even further from 1st. Maybe second would be a better fit? he has AWESOME range. IMO maybe they need to switch Barney and Castro around for a few games. Plus they have Baez coming up?? I just really dont see Castro as a SS

          • Baez won’t be in the big leagues for quite a while. Starlin has had some ugly errors lately but, overall, he HAS taken leaps and bounds defensively this season.

          • Jason Zenk 3 years ago

            i did say he wont be cubs SS LONG TERM.

          • baseball52 3 years ago

            If you think Baez will supplant him there, you clearly don’t understand Baez’ unique defensive skillset.

      • jwsox 3 years ago

        all of that haha left field or traded towards the end of the deal

  6. DerekJeterDan 3 years ago

    I never understood why they wanted to trade him. He is a young player with gobs of potential and a tremendously important piece for their franchise moving forward. Will be good to see them actually get a deal done. The Cubs are doing this rebuild correctly.

    • vtadave 3 years ago

      Who says they wanted to? All speculation.

    • petrie000 3 years ago

      because dangling a player like Castro costs you nothing and if some team really, really wants him… well, that could be half the rebuild right there, potentially

      I doubt they ever wanted to trade him, but it never hurts to test the market

      • DerekJeterDan 3 years ago

        Very true. He would bring back a ton. Good point.

    • jwsox 3 years ago

      They never wanted to trade him, they may have listened to offers on him but then again every single GM listens to offers on every player. The only logic behind moving him is that his defense is suspect, he takes plays off mentally, and he does not listen to advice or instruction from coaches(multiple sources including len casper have said this) His offensive production is boosted by a crazy first month and a half and has been on a steady decline all year. They thought is that if he isnt going to be in the team in 5-6 years when they are fully ready to compete(this deal might change that) then trade him now and get a ton of top prospects for him. But again they were never truly going to trade him.

      • DerekJeterDan 3 years ago

        I confused what I read as speculation by writers as actually thoughts of the Cubs entertaining a trade. If you didnt bring this up I would have still held the mindset that Castro was trade bait because many reporters wrote Bout interest from other teams and the Cubs listening to offers. Thank you and to the two other posters below for clearing that up !

  7. FrankRoo 3 years ago

    Lock him up long term, best PR move the Cubs can possibly make. Capitalize on down year and frankly a weak offensive career so far (only in comparison to Hanley). I’d be very surprised if he gets near what Hanley got, Castro’s numbers dont even come close to what Hanley put up his first few seasons before the extension. Lots of singles, but look at his production, Hanley drove in more runs,scored more and hit for more power. I dont understand why the three SS’s mentioned in the post would even be close to starting contracts for Castro.

    Hoping for a 6-7 yr deal, Cubs have the money and the fans deserve a break. I wish he would learn to think as a modern hitter. I wonder how the change in hitting coach has affected him…

  8. AmericanMovieFan 3 years ago

    I’m guessing 6 years/$75MM. 4 years/$40MM with 2 years at $17.5MM or so a piece. You figure with inflation from Hanley’s similar extension that’s a logical number both sides are probably aiming for.

  9. Ziggy22 3 years ago

    Let’s just hope he doesn’t assault anyone on the way to the parking lot.

  10. CT 3 years ago

    Sounds like a good deal for both sides. I hope the Braves look into a contract like this for Heyward and Freeman.

  11. ReHabit 3 years ago

    Though I’ve only seen 30 or so of his games, it seems like there is a lack of focus and intensity that all the great players have. Projecting that this guy will be worth 15mil/yr in 6 years seems like a risk for a player that has not shown a great work ethic.

    • Lunchbox45 3 years ago

      lol i love the the fact that you were able to determine something that really can only be analyzed by team management that watch him day in and day out in a 30 game sample size on tv.

      Did ESPN flash his focus average or his work ethic on base percentage? We’re you with him in the gym before the game watching him or something?

      well done.

  12. rainyperez 3 years ago

    Don’t worry it has happened to the team I root for in San Francisco. Posey and Belt are the only ones that are willing to take a walk. Everyone else just wants to hack, hack, hack.

    It works for some like Sandoval only because of high average plus power plus his uncanny ability to hit a baseball out of the strike zone.

  13. HIT is not “putting the ball in play”. HIT as in single which I have been referencing means said hitter safely reaches 1st base. A walk is not better than a HIT (e.g. Single, double, triple home run). I never refer to “making contact” as equal to a walk, no clue how you interpreted that when “single” is the example used

  14. rainyperez 3 years ago

    Since his walk rate is low it equates to putting the ball into play which is based on luck. He’ll most likely have 100 strikeouts this year coupled with the fact he hits over 67% of the baseballs through the infield which he can’t rely on. Taking walks will have to happen or he won’t be productive.

  15. It is not “luck” when hitters hit for a high average year-after-year. Tony Gwynn was not lucky. Clearly Starlin Castro is WAY to early to be compared to one of the greatest hitters ever, but to assume every hitter needs to learn how to take walks to be effective is a ludicrous statement (as ludicrous as me comparing Castro to Gwynn..). Vlad & Pablo are recent examples of hitters who are free swingers & have high BABIP. Castro is such a young hitter and has lead the league in hits already. He has shown to be a successful hitter at an early age which is why people like Hoyer & Theo (3rd generation sabermetricians) don’t just look at one stat such as walk rate to see the value Castro brings.

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