The Cubs agreed to terms with All-Star shortstop Starlin Castro on a seven-year deal with a club option for 2020. The 22-year-old two-time All-Star is will reportedly receive $60 million in total salary, erasing his four remaining arbitration-eligible years and first two years of eligibility in free agency. He can hit the free-agent market at age 30 if his $16 million option isn't picked up in '20. The Cubs have a $1 million buyout. The deal was finalized Tuesday, according to the Cubs, after 10 days of negotiations that centered around specific contract language. Castro ended each of his first two seasons with a batting average over .300. He entered Tuesday with a .296 average. Deals to buy out arbitration and early free agent years have become more common in recent years. The Brewers signed slugger Ryan Braun to an eight-year, $45 million contract after his rookie season. The Rays signed Evan Longoria to a six-year, $17.5 million deal in 2008 with club options through 2016. If Castro continues to deliver and matures into a leadership role as the organization would like, the Cubs could do as Milwaukee did with Braun in 2011 and again address his contract so that it reflects his market value. Braun's new deal, signed last season at age 27, was a five-year, $105 million extension.
- Starlin Castro