By Illya Harrell on July 18, 2014
Why should the Cubs even consider dealing Starlin Castro, a durable three-time All-Star? Easy -- they're a better team without him. That's no knock on Castro's skill set; it's just a fact. He will not be dealt before the deadline, but during the offseason Castro will go to a team with a weakness at short in exchange for a potential ace or No. 2 starting pitcher. You can bank on that, and here are few reasons why.
If Jeff Samardzija had not have been traded for the players he was traded for, especially the primary shortstop dude, we wouldn't be having this discussion. So who is the shortstop Superman?
Addison Russell is his name, and hitting a baseball is his game. Oakland drafted Russell out of a Pace, Fla. high school with the No. 11 overall pick in the 2012 amateur draft. He was moving faster than fast through Oakland's farm system until a hammy tear sidelined him in early 2014. The guy has nice pop for a shortstop, hits for average, has speed and plays well in the field. He's easily one of the best prospects in baseball.
Coming into the season Javier Baez was the consensus No. 2 shortstop prospect in the game (behind Boston's Xander Bogaerts). Baez can flat-out lay some wood. He's the guy who yanked a two-run job for the World Team in this year's Futures Game. So why did they trade for Russell, another shortstop? Good question. For the second consecutive night Baez has started at second base for the Cubs triple-A affiliate in Iowa.
Keith Law of ESPN just updated his preseason prospect list. Iowa Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant hopped from No. 14 to No. 1 with a bullet. Out of the University of San Diego, Bryant was named 2013's best collegiate ballplayer in the country. On Opening Day of 2015, do not be at all surprised if the Cubs are starting Bryant at third, Russell at short and Baez at second.
At 28, Boston hired Theo Epstein as the youngest GM ever. The first year, the Sox came from three games down to win the ALCS over the Yankees and went on to take the World Series. In 2011, he resigned from Boston and took the President of Baseball Operations post with the Cubs. Epstein said he was going to rebuild the Cubs. He wants his thumbprint on this team. Guess who was not an Epstein pick or acquisition? You nailed it, Starlin Castro.
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