Nearly one-third of the way into his third MLB season, Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro has a .317 batting average with 15 stolen bases and four home runs in 2012. The 22-year-old Castro has a great chance of clinching the second All-Star selection of his young career.
Sounds like a fine player to build around. With that said, USA Today's Bob Nightengale had supposedly reported that everybody except Jeff Samardzija was available for trade heading into the July 31st trade deadline.
Cubs president Theo Epstein addressed those rumors. Although Epstein claimed that the organization hadn't considered trading him, he didn't completely dismiss the possibility. The following were a few of Epstein's quotes.
"Starlin Castro is the type of player we're looking to build around. There has been no trade consideration with him, whatsoever."
"I never understood why there would ever be an untouchable. All you're doing is limiting your opportunity. That said, there are core pieces that it's almost impossible to foresee moving. You would have to be completely blown away to even contemplate it.
I suppose a trade involving Castro isn't impossible. However, it'd have to be absurd. The Washington Nationals sacrificed three of their top prospects and a MLB-ready prospect in Tommy Milone when they acquired Gio Gonzalez from the Oakland Athletics in December 2011. Castro should be even pricier than Gonzalez for two key reasons: upside and scarcity. Few shortstops have the potential to regularly hit for a .320 average with 40 stolen bases and 15 home runs.
The Cubs must restock the farm system. One of the best ways to do that is by playing a "Numbers game." This requires trading current assets for a plethora of long-term assets who will hopefully develop into stars. The Cubs are in a peculiar situation because they're a big-market franchise with an anxious fan base who wants to win now. The Cubs already lack star power. Can they afford to sacrifice more of that without hurting their short-term attendance figures?
There are too many risks involved with trading Castro. A player like Matt Garza could be more expendable. I wouldn't mind trading Garza if they could acquire a package of prospects that included a MLB-ready player such as Drew Smyly or Jarrod Parker. Ryan Dempster could be another expendable player. We'll see what happens in the next two months.
Joshua Huffman grew up in Michigan's Upper Peninsula as a Green Bay Packers and Chicago Cubs enthusiast. He immediately gained an admiration for Cubs fans after watching numerous games on WGN during the mid-90s. His favorite Cubs moment was Kerry Wood's(notes) 1-hitter, 20K extravaganza that was only denied of a no-hitter by Kevin Orie's defensive blunder. As a Packers and Cubs fan, he suffered through Steve Bartman and "4th & 26" in a span of three months. He can be found on Twitter HERE.
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