Marlins infielder Starlin Castro would prefer not to suit up for his new organization, according to a report from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter). He recently landed in Miami in the blockbuster swap that sent superstar Giancarlo Stanton to the Yankees.
It’s not difficult to see why Castro would prefer to find a new home. The Marlins are clearly in a rebuilding stance, with several top veterans already having been dealt and a few more still on the block. Castro is already guaranteed to earn at a healthy clip for the next two seasons — $10MM and $11MM apiece followed by a $1MM buyout on a 2020 option — and he’d surely prefer to draw his salary while playing for a contender.
It is not apparent whether Castro has communicated his preferences to his new organization directly, though Rosenthal’s report will have that effect regardless. Miami has made clear that it won’t make decisions about who stays and who goes based upon player requests. The organization has recently been forced to respond to reports that stars Christian Yelich and J.T. Realmuto want out.
From the Marlins’ perspective, clearing salary has obviously been a major motivating factor, and it has long seemed that Castro’s contract could be sent forward in another deal. On the other hand, the payroll situation is much improved from the start of the offseason and Castro could conceivably be retained — particularly if the club decides to keep Yelich and Realmuto (among others) while attempting a shorter rebuild.
The other factor here, of course, is market demand. Many organizations have already met their needs at second base, the position Castro has played most recently. And players such as Neil Walker and Howie Kendrick remain available in free agency. While it’s possible to imagine a few landing spots for Castro, it seems unlikely he’d be heavily pursued.
Still just 27 years of age, Castro is coming off of his best offensive season in some time. Over 473 plate appearances in 2017, he turned in a .300/.338/.454 batting line with 16 home runs while earning his fourth All-Star nod. But he was a below-average performer in each of the prior two seasons and has not graded as a plus defender in the middle infield.