It has been a very disappointing season thus far for Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro.
He currently owns a .228/.264/.318 triple-slash and those numbers are, simply put, terrible. His three home runs, 24 RBIs and six steals are not very impressive either. Unfortunately, his struggles at the plate have carried over to the field. Defensively, Castro has not improved this season as he has 14 errors, which is tied for the most in MLB with Pedro Alvarez of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Even with this horrendous start to the season, Castro is still a player with a ton of value. He is only 23-years old, has had past success and plays a premium position at shortstop. Also, he recently signed a long-term deal that makes him affordable for many years. Being in a slump for three months does not change his value in the eyes of front office personnel. They realize that baseball is a long season, and small sample sizes do not mean anything.
Ever since Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer took over the baseball operations for the Cubs, I wondered how well Castro fit in to their plans. His free-swinging mentality does not fit in with the normal approach that Epstein and Hoyer like, as they usually target players who work the count and take walks.
That is certainly not Castro, who is a guy with an elite ability to make contact at the plate. Yes, he does need to become more selective, but you do not want to hold back his natural abilities.
Because of his lack of plate discipline and obvious trade value, should the Cubs consider making Castro available for trade? The team is currently in the middle of a rebuild and could use Castro to acquire a ton of young assets. Obviously their asking price would be high, but if a team was to offer them a mess of legitimate young talent, should the Cubs consider trading their young star? I say absolutely.
The Cubs have one of the top minor league systems in baseball. Most of their talent is position players, including shortstops Javier Baez and Arismendy Alcantara, who are both considered top 100 prospects in all of baseball. That being said, they are severely lacking in the minor league pitching department, especially at the higher levels.
Any trade involving Castro would have to involve the Cubs receiving a few highly-ranked young arms. Obviously, you never know what will happen with prospects, but having top guys like Baez and Alcantara waiting in the wings at shortstop makes Castro a little bit more expendable.
There is a price for everyone, especially for a team that is rebuilding. I think the Cubs should let teams know that they would consider trading Castro and see where it ends up. If they do not receive a package of young talent that they like, there’s no harm done and they move on with Castro at shortstop.
No matter what happens, I think his early season struggles are just a bump in the road for Castro. I strongly believe that he will turn things around and have a long and successful career. The guy is too talented to struggle the way that he is. Will his long career be in Chicago? We will just have to wait and see.