Cubs sign Starlin Castro to 7 year/$60M extension

Cubs sign Starlin Castro to 7 year/$60M extension

UPDATE:  It's official, the deal is done.

This deal has been in the works for a while now.  The money had been decided but apparently the two sides had agreed to change some of the contract language.

According to Ken Rosenthal, the guaranteed money breaks down like this,

  • $6M signing bonus.
  • Salaries of $5M, $5M, $6M, $7M, $9M, $10M, $11M.
  • $1M in the form of a potential buyout on a club option in the 8th year for $16M.

Rosenthal also sent out the following tweet,

If Castro wins MVP or finishes 1-5 twice, final year and option year each escalate by $2M. Max value including option, escalators: $79M.

Now that is what you call a club-friendly deal.  With a "win" currently being valued at $4.5M/year, Castro only needs to perform like an average SS (2 WAR) for the length of this contract for the Cubs to end up getting good value.    Castro is already a 3+ WAR shortstop the past two seasons and if he continues to play at his current level or if he improves as many expect him too, the deal could end up being a steal.  If he plays at the MVP level as outlined above, then it's still a huge bargain even with the escalators.

The Cubs got good value here.  Thanks to Obstructed View for doing this calculation a few days ago.  Here  is what Castro would get paid if he were a free agent...

Let’s start with a 3-WAR projection in 2013 and increase it by .5 each year for 4 years and then decrease it by .5 the final 2 years. That’s 22.5 WAR.

We’ll star the win value at $5.5 million and increase it by $0.5 million each year.

2013: 3 WAR, $5.5 million/W, $16.5 million $WAR
2014: 3.5 WAR, $6 million/W, $19.5 million $WAR
2015: 4.0 WAR $6.5 million/W, $26 million $WAR
2016: 4.5 WAR, $7 million/W, $31.5 million $WAR
2017: 4.0 WAR, $7.5 million/W, $30 million $WAR
2018: 3.5 WAR, $8 million/W, $26 million $WAR

That’s a total of $149.5 million

Of course, Castro is not a free agent,  but even if the Cubs were to go year to year and go through the arbitration process and then pay him for the first two years of free agency, Castro's expected payout would be around $90M (again, according to OV Blog's calculations)

Nobody would have paid Castro that amount because the whole point of signing an early extension is to get him for something less than full value   The benefit goes both ways.  Castro is guaranteed to make this money even if he gets injured or regresses badly and the Cubs get a discount for committing to Castro for 7 years.  That discount turned out to be around 33%.  The deal buys out 2, potentially 3 years of Castro's free agency and assures they will have him for his peak performance years.  Under this deal, Castro won't be a free agent until he is either 29 or 30 years old.

It's also important to note that while some would have preferred to see Castro perform better before committing these kinds of years and dollars, the truth is that if Castro were to take a big step forward this year, there would be no way that Castro would sign this kind of deal.  In effect, Theo was buying low on this deal considering Castro's struggles this season.

Great deal for the Cubs and a nice move by Castro to buy himself some security.  Win-win.

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  • A good deal for the Cubs. I know there are a lot of people who soured on Castro already, but that's way premature, he's having a classic sophmore slump. He'll be back by next year and a lot of people will be glad the Cubs made this deal.

  • In reply to Steve Flores:

    It appears the league has adjusted to him a bit. I think he'll make the adjustments eventually. I'd prop his eyes open and keep showing him horrible images alongside that slider away with two strikes.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John, there was some guy who played 2nd base for the Cubs. Don't remember the name, but he wore a number that's fairly famous in Chgo for some reason.
    He too had trouble for a good part of his career with two strike, low and away sliders. If memory serves me right he wound up having a decent career.

  • In reply to MoneyBoy:

    Good call, MB. Ryno used to chase those low and away sliders. Eventually he learned to recognize/anticipate them better and the rest was history.

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    Don't really care about the projected T stats (although those are nice numbers)...if this deal (or something like it) goes through, then it's win-win for Starlin and the Cubs.

    Castro, Rizzo, and dare I say it, Barney, are the core players of the Cubs for the next 3+ years.

    The front office has been dealt their cards. They gotta play 'em.

    Be it Gin or Hearts or Blackjack or Spades; you gotta play what you're dealt. If you're a good player, you can win....

  • In reply to Bobby Douglas:

    "Castro, Rizzo, and dare I say it, Barney, are the core players of the Cubs for the next 3+ years."

    Ya. I have agree with you Bobby. Barney might not look great on the offense, but what he lacks on offense he greatly makes that up on defense.

  • In reply to Bobby Douglas:

    It'll be interesting to see how that infield shakes out. I think Barney has a good shot at sticking around for a couple of years but not sure he's a core player yet.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    The thing I love about Barney and the reason for hope that he can be more than just a glove is his work ethic. Castro leap frogs him from AA to MLB, he says what do I need to do better? He wore down last year, he shows up with an extra 15lbs of muscle this season. He knows he's inconsistent offensively, he shows up for extra BP on an off day. Give a coach a team full of "Barney's", and he'll win more times than not.

    If Barney could get his MLB offensive stats to match his MiLB stats of .287/.335/.376 (he's roughly .020 off) to go with his glove, I'd take that as part of our core. Especially if Beef develops offensively as projected, then Barney is our only weakness offensively and teams will still be careful pitching to him with the Pitcher due up next. I think Sveum needs to leave him in the 8 hole, but I haven't done the statistical analysis to support that theory.

    Worst case scenario, we have an excellent defensive replacement coming off the bench once someone displaces him as our everyday 2B, or He's traded for prospects.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Absolutely, few work harder than Darwin Barney. He continues to defy expectations.

    That said, he probably has some physical limitations as to how good he can get and considering he's reaching his prime athletic years, I think he's approaching that quickly, if he hasn't reached it already. If he starts making some good money via arbitration, the Cubs may not be getting the kind of surplus value they want from Barney. He's a bargain now, but he may not be that going into 2014-2015. I think money and lack of offense will eventually start to balance out his great defense and it will force the Cubs to make a decision on him one way or the other in the next year or two.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Which is also why, he's a candidate to be traded by the 7/31/12 deadline... We've got Valbuena & Cardenas to man the 4 position until we're ready for something more from that spot.....

    Like I said, if Barney increases his offense, we win! If he doesn't, we trade him to contender in need and we still win! We've got replacement/platoon candidates on the 40 man roster now and long term 2B prospects in the system. I see no downside for us here.....

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Agreed. It's a nice position to be in right now with Barney.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I wouldn't trade Barney. I consider him a core player. He's too heady a player to trade. You need someone like that, especially considering you don't know who'll replace him and who'll be playing 3rd base in the future. Its always good to have someone who keep their hear in the game as a model for whoever's playing SS or 3rd. He's only 26 now, barely out of the minors. We used to have a 2nd baseman years ago that also had a high baseball IQ, and didn't peak as a batter until he had been in the league for 7 years. He didn't have a lot of pop, but he was good enough with the bat to advance the runners by hitting behind them to the right side of the infield. He was a .280-.295 hitter or so until he hit .342 when he was 31. That was Glenn Beckert, and Barney is better than him in the field. I'll take Barney over Beckert.

    Considering the high attrition rate of prospects, I'll take this bird in the hand every day.

  • Do you sleep?

  • In reply to Steve4cash:

    Haha! I just woke up ;)

  • Great deal for both sides. Extremely club friendly, and as an individual, you have to sign a contract that pays you $60M guaranteed at age 22.

  • In reply to Clark n Addison:

    Agreed. It really works on both sides. Team friendly, yet Castro got a better deal than some other young guys who signed similar extensions.

    This helps make up for bringing him up a year early.

  • Well I'm happy.

  • Also happy that Brett Jackson has decided to stop making outs. What a homestand he's having: 5 for 10 with 3 HR, 5 BB/3 K.

  • In reply to Eddie:

    Yes, really happy to see that. Suddenly he has an OPS over .800. He's not going to hit for average but I'm encouraged now that he can cut down on those Ks (2 in the last 3 games) and hit .250 or so, which will work considering his walk rate. And he has a nice power/speed combo.

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    Why backload the thing this extremely? It seems, given the expected payroll next season, if ever there was a time to frontload a contract, this was it.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    The only upside to "front loading" is the possible avoidance of a future luxury tax payment. Given the uncertainty of that happening and the relatively small incremental dollars involved, I'm guessing the downsides outweighed the upsides.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I've never seen these kinds of deals frontloaded.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Me neither. Just doesn't make economic or business sense unless a luxury tax is exceptionally punitive or if there is a hard cap.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Another big reason for backloading contracts is bang for their buck. With the rate at which the value of our dollar is falling, it just makes more fiscal sense to backload.

  • I forget -- can contracts be torn up and reworked part of the way through? I'm guessing no, since Soriano's is still under his old contract, but are there any risks of grumbling for a better contract if Starlin starts to grossly outplay his contract?

  • In reply to mosconml:

    If both sides agree. The MLBPA would be watching intently.

  • Why? Both sides agree to the deal and both sides benefit.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I think Ray means as long as both sides agree and there is no diminished value. OTHERWISE MLBPA will be all over it. Like A-Rod/Red Sox.

  • In reply to mosconml:

    Contracts are guaranteed and cannot be redone, just extended, I believe.

    But you don't see the grumbling and holdouts like you do in the NFL......which is mainly due to the market altering rules they have in place.

  • In reply to mosconml:

    No. You see that more in football where players have less leverage and have to use holdouts and such as bargaining tactics.

    At any rate, Castro doesn't seem like the type to complain even if that kind of stuff were done in baseball.

    Love this deal, especially the length. The only thing that could make this bad is if he gets hurt or he regresses to being a well-below average player. That's a great risk for the Cubs to take.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Yep and thanks for looking into that alternative Arb/FA scenario. I knew I had seen it somewhere.

  • In reply to Cubswin4harry:

    You're welcome. Those guys did a good job on that. These calculations give you a ballpark idea.

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    Awesome news!!! It's a win-win for everyone. It will be very difficult for Castro to under-perform this contract as long as he stays healthy, and it's very possible he will out-perform it. Castro gets financial security, and there are performance clauses in the contract to get him more money if he does outperform the contract.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Agreed, that sums it up pretty succinctly.

  • Absolutely wonderful way of cashing in on his "sub-par" season. Yeah, the hits and OBP are a little down as the league makes adjustments, but his power's starting to develop, and he's improved on defense. Yes, he leads the league in errors, but he's also on top of the NL in assists; leads NL shortstops in putouts, RF/9, RF/G, and was second in the NL in Defensive WAR behind Darwin Barney for a good chunk of the season.

    Just imagine the, let's say 2015 lineup for a moment.

    CF Matt Sczcur
    RF Brett Jackson
    SS Starlin Castro
    1B Anthony Rizzo
    LF Josh Vitters
    C Welington Castillo
    3B Junior Lake
    2B Darwin Barney

    Nearing major league readiness will be the likes of Almora, Baez, and Soler. A nice thought.

    Anyway, the league's adjusted to him for now. He'll adjust back and keep growing as a shortstop. Once he does, there's no limit to what he can do.

  • In reply to Jim Weihofen:

    Well put, Jim, and that 2015 lineup looks pretty realistic, in fact, all of those guys could be ready by 2014.

    I might put Lake in the OF though to take advantage of his superior athleticism. Ultimately, as you imply with the influx, guys like Vitters, Lake, and maybe Szczur will have a hard time holding on to those jobs if they get them.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I think Lake's future is as an intriguing utility man or trade bait. Right now, I see a very interesting future bench of Logan Watkins, Steve Clevenger, Tony Campana, Dave Sappelt, and Adrian Cardenas.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Jim Weihofen:

    Your underestimating Watkins bat, IMO. If he can put up similar numbers to his AA numbers in the majors, he bumps Barney out of the starting lineup.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I don't underestimate his bat, as I see him as the primary backup at both short and second. Thing is, he's got to be an absolute wizard with the glove to have a chance of taking Barney out of there. Yeah, Darwin's not an amazing hitter, but he's got a shot at winning multiple Gold Gloves. For me, Watkins will have to get on base to the tune of at least a .380 clip to have a shot of bumping Barney.

    Though, I do feel that the presence of Watkins likely means more rest time for Barney and Castro. Probably gets the starts against the top-notch righty starters in the league over Barney.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Jim Weihofen:

    Which is exactly what he's done in the minors. And he's a mid-tier base stealing threat. He is also not a bad defensive player. He could be a pure leadoff hitter -- and create far more runs at the top of the order than are lost with the drop in glovework. Barney's bat really is a problem. It makes him a slightly above average second baseman, all things considered. I think Watkins has a chance to be a substantially above average second baseman.

    And Torreyes and Amaya probably make the whole debate academic in the near-ish future.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I don't see any mention of Christian Villanueva, who just might end up with 2nd if Barney doesn't watch it.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I'm not going to deny that guys like Watkins, Amaya, Torreyes, and maybe even Villanueva can userp the starting job at second eventually. But only Watkins even has a chance of being MLB ready by then, to me.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Jim Weihofen:

    No, I agree with that. I'm just saying with Torreyes, Amaya, and I'll throw Villaneuva in there -- his bat plays very well at 2B -- the winner of the Barney-Watkins sweepstakes (70-30 chances, in my mind) probably doesn't stand much of a chance of holding it against the best of those 3, whoever it may be. (I have a man-crush on Torreyes, but logic says Amaya is the guy.)

  • In reply to Jim Weihofen:

    If they draft 2 or 3, they might have a great college pitcher
    to go with this young core.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    Truth be told, I'm still not completely sure why they drafted Almora. Vitters, Jackson, Sczcur, Soler, and Lake could all potentially be starting caliber bats whose gloves dictate that they should be in the outfield. Depth is nice, but there's such a lack of pitching talent in the system.

  • In reply to Jim Weihofen:

    All the front line starters were gone by the 6th pick except for Appel, whom the Cubs passed up for obvious reasons now.

    I know I've said this a lot but, it's about BPA.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    By no means do I dislike Almora as a pick or player, I just have to wonder how far off any pitchers were on that draft board.

    Obviously they grabbed a ton in the later rounds, but any of those guys are still years away.

    All the same, we probably get two top-level college arms, as this team probably will still be something of a mess in 2013.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Jim Weihofen:

    Pierce Johnson is a 21-year old college kid. Late 2014/2015 is possible. Antiagua is closer than most, too. Vizcaino is the world's biggest question mark. Dempster seems like a decent comp, so figuring 3 years out of the 'pen starting next year might make sense. So we do have guys who get reach the majors sooner rather than later.

    And Almora: he really is a special guy. Unlike every other guy we're talking about in CF, he has the bat -- if it develops -- to be a middle of the order hitter (probably doesn't have the raw power for 4, but could be 3, 5, or a superb 6) as a plus defender in the premiere defensive position on the field. Getting that kind of production out of your center fielder opens up all kinds of other possibilities for your lineup.

  • In reply to Jim Weihofen:

    IMO, Almora, Baez, and Soler will advance rapidly and beat out some of the weaker links.

    At least a couple of 'em anyway.

  • In reply to eaton53:

    This is where I see those three guys in regards to the 2014 season:

    Baez: called up to AAA after about a month and a half at AA. Continues to progress. September callup, forcing Vitters to the bench.

    Almora: full season at AA, learning to hit higher level pitching in full. Not a call-up, but added to the 40 man roster in anticipation of his 2015 season.

    Soler: starts at AA, called up around the all-start break to AAA. Called up after Iowa's season is over to mixed results. Doesn't get the starting job in 2015 off the bat, much like Rizzo this season.

  • fb_avatar

    John, the word is that there is "NO" no-trade clause. Confirm please?

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Theo doesn't give them out. Not that he plans to trade Castro, but he wouldn't do this deal if that were the case.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    Adrian Gonzalez is currently sticking all sorts of pins in his Theo voo-doo doll for exactly that trait of Theo's. To be honest, Castro's agent should have taken this into consideration and gotten more money for it. (No evidence he didn't do exactly that.)

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Good point,wouldn't be surprised if he got a little extra $$ in exchange for NTC.

  • fb_avatar

    Totally agreed John. This deal is a very solid win-win. It's easy to get caught up in what is obviously a bit of a down year for Castro offensively, but at 22 he still has plenty of opportunity to grow as a player. Sometimes Cubs fans (and sports fans in general) aren't overly patient and focus solely on what a player has 'done for them lately.' But, my gut says that this deal will at least look solid, if not very good for the team down the road. I still anticipate that Castro is going to keep developing and should be one of the top shortstops in the NL every year for the foreseeable future. That is a very solid building block for the team moving forward.

  • In reply to Tom Wozniak:

    I think he'll keep getting better but the best part about this deal is that he'll give value even if he doesn't.

    Castro was about to get a nice raise as a super two guy this year and I'm glad the Cubs are going to avoid all the unpleasantness of the arb process with him.

  • With all that money Castro will be getting, lets hope Starlin can buy a bus ticket for Josh Vitters. I just hope Josh can get his act together by next Spring Training.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    I never thought Vitters was ready for the bigs, so I was okay with the Cubs protecting him, as I wrote earlier. The more he plays, the more his flaws are exposed.

    The best thing I can take out of this is that Vitters will be ultra-receptive now about changes to his approach. He works hard, but I think he has a tough time letting go the things that worked for him in high school and in the low minors-- kinda like Corey Patterson.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    For the right contract, I hope they bring Stewart back to
    start at 3rd.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    Stewart was quoted somewhere as saying he'd be happy to come back for 1.5 a year.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    What are the expectations that Stewart's wrist surgery will help his bat? I liked his defense for the most part.

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    I think they should too. There isn't a whole lot out there as far as FA stopgaps. Give him a shot, give Vitters and Lake some time in AAA and maybe you'll find an answer there somewhere by the end of the year.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    Hindsight is 20-20, but I do wonder exactly what it would have taken to wrest Headley from the Padres last winter, too.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Moody:

    From what was being heard it would have taken a multi-prospect package to get Headley. The Cubs can simply not afford to trade 2-3 prospects for any one player. Especially a league-average- slightly above average one at that.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    If Chase Headley is league average, I hope we have an entire TEAM of league average guys in a couple years. :-)

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I'm sure it would have taken McNutt or Jackson as the headliner. Right now that doesn't look terrible, but with the Cubs still far away, Headley is at the end of his peak years. Not sure it was worth the risk.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    You know, that's true -- and imagine how we would have felt in March trading one of those two for an unknown third baseman -- but I think part of the reason we feel so "far away" right now is because the keys to competing sooner rather than later are Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro and, really, are there two bigger question marks on the team right now? If we had Castro and Rizzo performing the way we think they can + an aging Headley, it probably wouldn't feel so far away.

  • fb_avatar

    Man does Travis Wood have bad luck or what??? Every time I see his name on the lineup card he's going up against the other teams best pitcher....

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    Any chance we take a flyer on Erik Bedard? Just got released.

  • In reply to Marcel Jenkins:

    I don't think so. Would rather get a look at Raley and Rusin.

  • Say goodbye to Alex Hinshaw.

  • John, Tom, or another Den-izen willing to weigh in on this,

    Most of the analyses I have seen of long-term contracts in recent years point out that the a player is willing to sign at a lower salary than the going rate in exchange for long-term stability. However, I don't recall hearing inflation mentioned anywhere. This makes sense for most deals which are in the 3-5 year range, but it can be significant if a deal is long enough.

    I'm not sure whether the Obstructed View had the 2018 salary in 2012 dollars or not; if he did, then 26 million 2012 dollars would translate to about 32 million 2018 dollars assuming current inflation. Granted, the fact that inflation occurred means that the extra dollars saved don't go as far as they would today, but the great thing about a CONTRACT is that the values are static and independent of inflation.

    If he is due to make $10 million when he would potentially be worth $32 million, this could be HUGE.

  • Ha! I like "Den-izens"!

    Great point about inflation and that is definitely one of the advantages of backloading money. That money simply won't be worth as much by the end of the contract.

    That said, I'm not a money expert, but I'm sure one of the Den-izens are better at finance questions than I am :)

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Can't claim credit for "Den-izens," (that was from StillMissKennyHubbs two days ago commenting on felzz's "Samba in the Rain" recap), but I like the ring of it as well!

  • Steal.

  • Hey John, has a link to a very interesting article called “Fun with WAR: How Good Is Your Team?”. The article looks at every MLB team and compares their actual record (through August 23rd) with a calculated WAR record. It offers some insight into whether each team is overachieving, playing as expected, or underachieving.

    In the case of our favorite team, the Cubs actual record was 49 – 78 and their calculated WAR record was 50 – 77. The author’s conclusion is “Theo Wanted A Challenge”. His Cubs analysis is focused on Starlin Castro. I think your readers will enjoy this article, so here are the links.

    National League Teams =
    American League Teams =

  • Hey John, has a link to a very interesting article called “Fun with WAR: How Good Is Your Team?”. The article looks at every MLB team and compares their actual record (through August 23rd) with a calculated WAR record. It offers some insight into whether each team is overachieving, playing as expected, or underachieving.

    In the case of our favorite team, the Cubs actual record was 49 – 78 and their calculated WAR record was 50 – 77. The author’s conclusion is “Theo Wanted A Challenge”. The Cubs analysis focuses on Starlin Castro. I think your readers will enjoy this article, so here are the links.

    National League Teams =
    American League Teams =

  • I think it's a great signing. However, according to Fangraphs, Castro has not been a 3+ WAR player the past two seasons:
    2010: 2.2 WAR
    2011: 3.4 WAR
    2012: 2.3 WAR

    And his OBP and SLG are both down this year from last year. But his defensive improvement has been a big step forward, so even if his bat only marginally improves, I think it's a good signing.

  • In reply to baseballet:

    Projects as a 3 WAR player by the end of the season. At least he did at the time of the writing. I should have clarified that.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    You're right. He should be 3+WAR by year's end, my bad.

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