COMMENTARY | It's so easy to jump off the Starlin Castro bandwagon these days.
When the young shortstop made his debut in May of 2010, things couldn't have gone much better. Castro hit a three-run home run in his first at-bat and a three-run triple a bit later. Castro arrived to much fanfare. His opening big-league salvo took that fanfare to a fever pitch.
Fast forward to 2013. Castro's numbers deteriorate every day (.233 AVG, 4 HRs, 26 RBIs, .268 OBP) and he falls a little more out of favor with Chicago Cubs nation all the while. He also has 15 errors at shortstop.
The question that is simmering below the surface is whether or not the Cubs should consider trading their young shortstop -- especially with Javier Baez (also a shortstop) recently being promoted to Double-A Tennessee -- as the trade deadline approaches. The answer is no.
Boy, have the Cubs been in this position before. It's way too early to be thinking Castro won't improve, but the Cubs locked him up for seven years just last season.
Even though his deal is nothing like Alfonso Soriano's in terms of the money on the table ($60 million versus $136 million), the Cubs will more-than-likely stand by their commitment. Castro is only 23. It's easy to forget that because this is already his fourth season. If he continues to struggle, teams wouldn't want to deal with that length of contract anyway.
His Current Trade Value is Low
Regardless of whether or not Castro is the elite superstar so many believed him to be, it would be hard to find someone who believes Castro's current numbers are indicative of the player he is and always will be. He is mired in a terrible, season-long slump, but he really only has one direction to go and that's up.
If the Cubs opted to trade Castro, not only would they be trading a potential superstar, they wouldn't get very much for him.
Even though there is an urgency surrounding the Cubs as they scramble to rebuild their organization, they can afford to be patient with their young stars -- Anthony Rizzo and Castro are the only two in the majors. If the Cubs were on the cusp of a playoff run, you might be quicker to consider a move, but since they aren't, it doesn't really matter if Castro scuffles.
It might matter in a year or two if he isn't improving as the Cubs attempt to gain relevancy, but here in 2013, with the Cubs out of contention, it's hardly the time to make a knee-jerk trade.
Javier Baez is Good, but More of the Same Defensively
Baez should be a nice addition to the Chicago Cubs when he's ready to make the jump. Offensively, he appears to be a step up from Castro -- .274 AVG, 17 HRs, 57 RBIs in High-A. Defensively, he's as much of an adventure as Castro. Prior to his promotion to Double-A, Baez had 31 errors in 73 games. Yikes.
Baez is only 20, so he has endless room and time to grow. And with both players being so young, the Cubs are in no need to have to pick one over the other. I wouldn't be surprised to see one of them move to second or third base at some point in the future.
Brian is a lifelong Chicago Cubs follower. Living in Illinois his entire life has given him a chance to closely follow and report Chicago sports as a freelance writer through Yahoo! Contributor and Yahoo! Sports. He is also a senior in college majoring in English and Creative Writing.
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