Is there a rift between Starlin Castro and the Cubs?

Is there a rift between Starlin Castro and the Cubs?

Starlin Castro has had enough it seems.

The young shortstop has decided he is done listening to the multiple voices he has endured all year. There have been many suggested theories as to why Castro has struggled this season, and the too many voices theory has been brought up and debated.

Castro made it clear yesterday he believes in that theory himself.

“You’re not supposed to think [at the plate]”

“Sometimes you have a tough season and you want to please everybody. But when you listen to everybody, it’s not right. You have to listen to the things that can help you, not everything.”

“I like to be aggressive, swinging the bat [early in the count]”

“Swing at strikes. See good pitches and be aggressive and hit them. See the ball and hit it. When you come to the plate, you don’t have any idea because you listen to too many things. That’s what I’ve been doing. There’s six weeks left. I just want to be aggressive and be me.” Said Castro.

This week things seem to have come to a head for Castro and the Cubs. First Dale Sveum pulled him from Saturday’s national televised game after his fielding gaffe. Today Castro was dropped to eighth in the order, much to the former all-star's dismay.

“I don’t like it there. It’s tough,” Castro said. “[Sveum] asked me if I like it. I told him no. … But I don’t put my head down. I have to stay aggressive.”

If you are like me, you clearly see there is a disconnect between Sveum and Castro. At the very least, it seems Sveum tried some ultra tough love that has backfired. The tide may have ultimately changed back when Sveum threatened both Castro and Anthony Rizzo with a trip to Iowa.

Apparently Castro was miffed, and took that incident as the organization not having his back. Now there are whispers of a rift that exists between Castro and the Cubs. You could see why he would long for the last regime.

They helped get Castro to two straight all-star appearances, now this regime wants him to change( in his eyes). Castro declined to place any blame at hitting coach James Rowson, however.

Who knows what the future holds now for the Cubs and Castro. There has been some speculation the Cubs would look to deal the shortstop in the offseason. The emergence of Javy Baez has only ignited that thought. Castro’s value may be too low to deal now, but on the flip side there may also be teams that still see the 2010-2012 player in there. His contract and talent may prove to be tempting to other clubs.

From what I’ve heard, some in the Cubs organization just do not think he is “Their kind of player”.

Maybe Chicago won’t be Castro’s kind of town for long.


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  • fb_avatar

    Imagine if we'd traded him a year to a year and a half ago.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Moody:

    Why would you have traded a team controlled 21 year old all-star? For what, a mike olt?
    Better question: imagine if we had hired a manager that knew castro's hitting style from
    managing him in the minors, and was a minor league manager of the year. Oh but wait, Sveum had 12 days of major league dugout experience. If push comes to shove between Castro and Sveum, I'd launch Sveum in a heart beat.

  • In reply to SKMD:


  • The upside to this development is that the Cubs won't have to find a new position for Baez. Also, Javy will not displace others off their best position in order to fit his offense in the lineup.

  • IF the FO gets to the point where they feel the only solution is an amicable parting of ways, they better get good value back and better pray they are right. Young all-star SS on team friendly long-term contracts do not exactly grow on trees. I think the average fan sees a good kid who was a 2 time all-star and is puzzled by how that is not this FO's "kind of player." I understand that underneath that there is all manner of nuance, in terms of culture, Castro maybe just having naturally hit a ceiling on his own, SS now being a position of some depth in our farm. However even the most patient fan (myself included) would have to wonder exactly what the plan is if Castro gets shipped out for a couple more prospects and seemingly delays the return to contention by another year or 2 for a bet on some golden future. I just worry that the FO is overthinking this one.....

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    In reply to Ryno2Grace:

    Baez is forcing the issue. I've said for a while I'm not convinced they move Javy off shortstop, and Tom's article is yet another brick in that wall.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Moody:

    41 errors is a strong argument against Baez at SS.

  • In reply to Ryno2Grace:

    Well if they do indeed trade Castro it wouldn't be for just prospects as it would likely include major league young talent along with prospects. No question about that and that they won't sell low (would be just barely not closeout sale on him even if they see great leaps of improvements in Baez and bryant who seem to have the fast track in their future to see some time on the big league club possibly next year midseason especially if do Fall league and start and finish strong).

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    In reply to Cubs Future:

    So somebody is going to give up top prospects and young major league talent for Castro? Is his last name Trout? I don't get that. Castro is struggling major league talent. Why would somebody trade young major league talent for young major league talent and then throw in prospects?

  • In reply to Ryno2Grace:

    I really agree with this take. Now the Cubs will be trading 23 year old talent at premium positions. This was supposed to be the kind of player the Cubs would try to acquire. Trading him is like treading water at this point. You set the time line back yet again for players who are no guarantee to be any better -- especially since you'll be trading him at the low value at this point. It's already messy and trading him will probably make it more so.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    They have messed this kid up so bad John I don't know what they can do to fix this. I doubt this is going to work out well for the Cubs, too bad, kid had a lot of potential.

  • In reply to peoria cubfan:

    Maybe all sides just need a break, step back and let things soak in. I think Castro needs to adapt things to what work best with him.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Is it possible to send him to double aa the rest of the year and play for the fun of it with no pressure, come back next spring and start fresh. Probably not reality but both sides need to hit the restart button. Too important a part of the Cubs future to get this far offline.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to peoria cubfan:

    Why AA? You've got Baez and Alcantara down there. Where the hell would he play? Besides, the minor league season is all but over. No. That's not the answer

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    I used double aa as an example, could be anywhere, if he could get away from he stress he's in now and play for the love of the game again perhaps that's all he needs. It was just meant as a possible idea how to turn this around, not the only way.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Personally I seen Castro decline once Rudy J was fired.

  • In reply to Jorge Soler:

    You may be right. I think Jaramillo favored a more simple approach and that may have worked easier with Castro's instinctual approach.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    The off season cannot come fast enough for Castro and Rizzo. They will lick their wounds, gain some perspective, and come back next spring with some incorporation of their hitting instructions through their own filter. They are not permanently damaged goods. No decision is going to come down except after clear-eyed analysis from the FO. It IS painful to watch but this will pass. Talent will out.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Go to the stats and see what kind of year Santo had in his third year as a Cubs.

    And then look at the rest of his career.

  • In reply to DaveP:

    Good one, Santo may even be a better comparison for Cubs fans.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to DaveP:

    Santo's decline in his third year can largely be explained by a .241 BABIP that season, which is out of whack with his career .292 mark. He also finished with an OBP far above his batting average, which shows he was maintaining his good approach at the plate, as he did his whole career.

    Castro, on the other hand, has a .289 BABIP this year, which shouldn't alone sink a season. It's far below his first two years, but I think we can all agree that those were abnormally high.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    All good points. However, a big part of the Cubs' problems in the past have resulted from not having uniform expectations as to how their players play the game.

    I think Castro's problems in the field are slightly overblown. But those issues coupled with the way he approaches his at bats (it's scary that he thinks you're not supposed to think at the plate; can you imagine if Greg Maddux said that about pitching?) mean you are going to have a high profile player who has openly snubbed the "Cubs Way."

    I don't think they're worried about Castro becoming a superstar after they deal him. Because the only way that happens is if he changes some of his ways (in my opinion his problems would have surfaced even if the coaches hadn't messed with him because the league was adjusting), and now he's openly said he won't.

    As we've all said, he still could become Edgar Renteria, and I think the Cubs could live with that given that it's obvious he doesn't fit that "Cubs Way."

  • fb_avatar

    There's more I'd like to say here.

    I think everyone knows that I'm a fan of Theo's and the rebuild, but there really are some troubling signs that need to be examined.

    His three big contracts have been Castro, Rizzo, and Jackson. Jackson has been kind of a mixed bag. Rizzo has struggled. And Castro has done terribly.

    Their best player in the minors (Baez) is guy they likely wouldn't have picked. Although #2 is Bryant, and they get full credit for that one.

    We're two years in. There are still a ton of reasons to be hopeful about the future. But I do think we have to acknowledge that there are some negative signs, as well.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Moody:

    I think Baez would be set up for failure if the old regime were still in charge. The key to Baez was them getting a hold of him while he was still a prospect. They're never going to completely take the aggressiveness out of Baez, but they seem to have gotten him to tone it down enough that teams have to play him honestly.

    It's true they wouldn't have drafted Baez. They would've taken George Spinger, and we'd probably be even more pleased than we are with Baez, but that isn't to say that Baez may end up closer to Springer than he is now.

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    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I agree with much of this, but I'm not so sure that I would take Springer over Baez at this point, especially given that Baez is so much younger (at least I think he is, should have looked it up).

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    I agree about the contracts, Mike.

    The Cubs FO definitely "jumped the gun" on signing Rizzo and Castro to long-term contracts when we still had them under team control for several more years. I believe they just plain "out-smarted" themselves on those two signings. Even though the results have been meh, would give them more slack for the Jackson signing, however, at the time, we needed more stability in the rotation.

    Of course, Theo had/has a (bad) track record of signing FAs to high-priced long-term contracts, who didn't perform up to those contracts (Crawford, Gonzales, Beckett).

    Maybe that is his "weak spot" (evaluating when and when not to give out huge contracts for mediocre results).

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Good points, but I have to tell you, I can't give them much credit for Almora and Bryant.
    Almora was picked 6th in a draft that the top 12 guys are having success already. so they couldn't have gone wrong.
    Bryant was picked 2nd in a draft that had 3 top players. If everyone who reads this blog were in the draft room, 50% would have picked him, 50% Gray. I don't see how that pick was all that tough.
    (I will give them kudos on P. Johnson and Rob Zastryny).

  • fb_avatar

    Is this a moment where we can actually put the blame on the front office and not the player? Obviously the front office tried to get Castro to be a different hitter than he was, and that clearly has backfired. I hate to say it, but it really seems like the front office screwed this one up. You had a 300 hitter who had 200 hits at a very young age. That is not a bad thing, and hopefully it isn't too late for the front office to realize that.

  • In reply to Demarrer:

    Totally agree, but that may be to see if he can turn it around and than trade him when value is higher. Which wouldn't be a terrible thing (he is still an asset) if absolute outstanding value. I still am fine with how his production was before (not thrilled but happy considering normal production from SS).

  • In reply to Demarrer:

    Good point!

    I wonder if the FO would ever admit they screwed-up with a player's development (in Castro's case), or would they just continue to spew the company line that player "X" is not the type of player the Cubs are looking for, and eventually get rid of him?

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to DetroitCubFan:

    People seem to think that Castro has almost no accountability for his struggles. I think there is a bit of "The Emperor Has No Clothes" fable going on here.

    Many players deal with having coaches tell them different things. The good ones adjust. I will go along with the idea that he has had too many voices and that it has affected him to some degree. But it's ridiculous to say that a would-be star was brought down by this. If he is the player many think he is, he will get through it, and I hope he does.

  • fb_avatar

    My question is, and it's one none of can really know the answer to, but how much of Castro's struggles are really the team asking him to be more selective at the plate and how much can be attributed to the league adapting to what Castro does?

    Honestly, I think it's probably both, though maybe not necessarily 50/50.

    This game is about adapting. Pitchers and defenses adapt to hitters, hitters adapt to pitchers and defenses. Those who don't adapt don't do well. Those who adapt very well end up in the HOF.

    Castro is very talented. He can get wood on a lot of balls that others can't, but that isn't always a good thing. Some pitches should not be swung at, but at the same time, you don't want to be afraid to swing at a truly hittable pitch just for the purpose of seeing more pitches. Selectively aggressive is what we should want all Cubs hitters to be. Don't be afraid to let them walk you, but at the same time, be ready to swing at a pitch you can drive no matter what the count is. To me that is the ideal.

    I don't think the organization is asking Castro to take pitches just for the sake of taking more pitches. Yes, the organization wants to drive up pitch counts so as to get into a team's middle relief, which is everyone's weakness, but I think, just as much, the organization wants hitters to simply make sure they're swinging at quality strikes when they do swing.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    That's always possible, but the game has such advanced scouting that it doesn't take 3 years to find a player's weakness. It really takes a year or less much of the time, so Castro having 3 good years before the league figured him out seems a bit unlikely to me.

    I think it's the approach and perhaps more importantly, it's gotten into his head. There's a part of the game we may never fully understand and that's the mental makeup side of things. We know Castro is a good person and that he works hard, but how players react to crisis or uncomfortable changes can be defining. I don't worry about Castro's ability or talent -- but Castro has had it good since he signed as a pro and now it's not going well. How he reacts to that next season -- and even this offseason, may define whether he is going to be a star level shortstop or a guy like Edgar Renteria, who bounces around because he's never exactly what you want him to be -- or even worse, the similarly talented Yunel Escobar, who never really lived up to big expectations.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    That also plays into the adaptation factor though.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    You bring up some great points Michael. I think Castro benefited from having a high BABIP his first two seasons. There was no way he was going to sustain a .345 BABIP throughout his career. A lot of balls fell for him early on. Last season saw his BABIP come down a little closer to the league average (.315) and brought his stats closer to where I think he is as a hitter. .280 avg, 14 HR's and 78 RBI.

    I see him a a No. 6 hitter in an average lineup and a No. 7 hitter in a good lineup. He's neither a top of the order hitter nor a middle of the lineup hitter either.

    Maybe this is who Castro is as a hitter and that's okay. Having such success early on in his career brought expectations that were way too high for a 21 year old. Calling him the "face of the franchise" was unfair to a kid who barely had a cup of coffee at AA.

    I've read all the Castro comments over the last few days and they have been polarizing to say the least. When a player falls after having so much success early on, it's amusing to read how many people play the blame game. Whether it's people bashing Castro's mental makeup or the FO for screwing him up; I guess the blame had to be laid somewhere.

    I like Castro and would like to see him succeed. I want him to be the best player he can be and not try to live up to expectations or his unsustainable stats from early in his career.

  • fb_avatar

    Sveum's job, moreso than winning games, was to develop the young talent. It appears he's failing that on some fronts. I predict if Starlin and Rizzo don't finish with a flourish the Sveum era comes to an end this offseason and all the pundits will say "he didn't have anything to work with," but we'll know it wasn't (mostly) for losing, but for failing to develop the young guys.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Theo Einstein:

    I don't see Sveum being sent packing after this year, but I also don't see the Cubs making a long-term commitment to him at this point. He will get at least one more year.

  • I don't know if everyone has to be their type of guy. Their type of guy should be someone who provides surplus value -- which Castro did at a premium position.

    The Cubs are now in a less than ideal position with having a SS who will make decent money over the next few years and is coming off his all time worst season -- at any level. So trading means selling him at his low point in value And yet he's just 23 and is nowhere near his prime, so there's a good chance he'll turn things around again.

    I don't see trading him in the offseason as a realistic possibility. It seems odd that the Cubs would make a huge commitment and give up on it just one year later. You can say, "What if someone offers the Cubs top prospects A and B?" I say that's the case with any player -- you have to listen and pull the trigger if it makes sense. But who is going to trade the Cubs premium talent for Castro right now? Any team that approaches the Cubs about Castro will come to them with the very idea that the Cubs are in this bad position. They're not going to bail the Cubs out by giving them elite talent, they're going to want to see if they can buy him at 50 cents on the dollar.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    Baez is critical here. If they have determined that he is the "shortstop of the future" -- and they will never signal that -- then the Castro situation has be resolved sooner rather than later. He doesn't have the bat for third, especially with Bryant almost ready. Even second long term is tricky because Alcantara looks like he's going to be ready soon, and he gives you the switch-hitter thing.

    Added to that is if you move him off shortstop, you further reduce his value on the trade market. They may well have to accept 50 cents (or less) on the dollar to clear the boards of a terrible mistake.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Moody:

    "Sooner rather than later," not necessarily. Even if they think Baez is the shortstop of the future, they don't have to move Castro this winter. In fact, they probably shouldn't. Baez isn't likely to be ML-ready until this time next year. In the mean time, they still have Castro in the fold, and if he rebounds in 2014, his trade value will be right back where it was. They can move next summer or next winter.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Suppose they think he's going to hit .240 next year. (Increasingly, I do.)

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Mike Moody:

    LMAO! Good one Mike!

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Front office doesn't make projections based on what they did in their last season. All projections take in a larger sample of data, so it's highly unlikely that's what they're thinking.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Not everything the FO does is subterfuge of some kind. When the say Castro is the SS and that Baez will have to switch positions, that's what they mean. That's how it's played, not just in this situation, but with any situation around the league. It's the basic protocol.

    Selling him for 50 cents on the dollar is a panic move. This is not a front office that's going to make that type of reactionary move. They are analytical, progressive. That type of panic trade will never happen.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    There is no reason to sell low on Castro right now. The odds are good that he'll bounce back, and if he does and they decided they like Baez at shortstop better, then they can trade him, and if he doesn't bounce back, is he really going to be worth much less than he is right now?

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    I can agree with that to a degree. There's still time to sort it out. Castro may bounce back and from a statistical analysis standpoint, that's actually likely.

    We don't hear the Rangers looking to see Andrus low to stick Profar at SS.

    Or look at it this way: Would you trade a 23 year old at a premium position who hit .216/.274/.321 with 6 HRs in his 3rd season?

    I can tell you that his team never entertained the idea and that team is a successful one the Cubs model themselves after.

    That player, of course, is Yadier Molina.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Good point about Molina. Also, Andrus is having a season (and a contract situation) similar to Castro's, but doesn't get tinkered with or criticized as much.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    Not really fair, Andrus is as good or better as a defensive SS.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Andrus also steals bases. Actually, what bothers me more about anything with Castro is his K rate and his drop in HRs.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Very fair. Profar was a better prospect and more of a true SS than Baez, but without the power bat to potentially play outside the middle of the field. All the more reason to put him at SS.

    The only difference to me is Texas is a perspective where we can see things more objectively.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    The only definitive statement I remember on Castro as the SS was over a year ago. Since that time, every single FO statement on Castro has been negative ("He's not where we thought he'd be") or a backhand compliment ("He was great once, we think he can return"). Given that, I do think it's fair to ask if plans have changed.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    If if they have determined that, I don't see how they would roll the dice and trade Castro. No one can predict if a guy will hit in the majors. Castro has hit in the majors.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    There was a time we heard that you couldn't have too many good players regardless of position. Now that they messed up Castro, an all star shortstop is suddenly expendable?

    Maybe the people who messed him up are the expendable ones. Imagine telling a player who can make consistent contact to take more pitches. Wow, what a good deal. After you're down 2 strikes you get pitchers pitches to hit. When you follow orders and fail to hit, you are suddenly last weeks meatloaf.

    The more I know, the less I understand.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    I just don't see how they're going to be able to push their message as to how they want their players to approach the game when their high-profile shortstop has openly dissed them.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to John Arguello:

    If you wait and Castro has another really bad season, his value is zilch. There is no point waiting for him to bounce back to sell high because if he returns to form they wouldn't deal him anyway.

    It all comes down to whether Theo and Jed think he will bounce back. If they think he will, they should hang onto him (unless his recent comments are viewed to be too detrimental). If they think he won't, they need to seriously shop him now while he still has value.

  • In reply to Gregory Shriver:

    No team is going to approach the Cubs with a value offer If anybody approaches the Cubs, it will be with the idea of buying low, much as the Braves did with Justin Upton this past offseason. Cubs won't make a deal like that.

    So, Castro will be with the Cubs both because they believe he'll bounce back. They have always looked beyond one year trends (unlike Hendry) and because they won't get value anyway. And there is NO way they're trading a 23 year old SS if they don't get significant value in return.

  • Anybody remember Garry Templeton? Similar situation may be brewing here. The St. Louis FO, fans, and media made it impossible for him to stay there, so they dumped him to San Diego. That one worked out for both teams, however.
    And closer to home, Lou Brock. The expectations built for Brock here were unattainable. So they got rid of him and well, you know....

    If Castro is frustrated, I can't blame him. And if there is a rift, not just a posed-for-posts flyer, the FO must fix it asap. Something tells me they are smart enough to protect the Cubs' assets -- in this case, Starlin Castro's future -- and handle this quietly.

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    Lessons to be learned. I mentioned Yadier Molina above (.216 with 6 HRs in his age 23 season). Good organizations don't panic or give into frustration.

  • Unless the Cubs get a huge offer there is no reason to trade Castro yet. Who would play short next year. The organization is still in an evaluation mode and things will look different after an off season. As 2014 season plays out many of these issues will sort themselves out.

  • I still think Sveum needs to step up and be a leader and take some hits tor this kid. I would just like to hear Sveum say we have failed this kid and we (or I) need to find a way to get him on track. What happens when Baez comes up and struggles ? will Sveum move him up and down the lineup and pull him out of games for screwing up.

  • In reply to kansascub:

    I think that would be helpful.

  • Has any player actually improved un Sveum?

  • In reply to Ike03:

    No, all of our core guys this year have regressed, and I can't think of one positive thing Sveum has brought to this team. All he has done is blaimed players for there faults. Instead of taking some of the pressure off them he just adds to the fire. I really think he needs to go before he manages to mess up our next wave of prospects.

  • In reply to Peter Chicago:

    Peter, you "can't think of one positive thing Sveum has brought to this team".

    1. Last year Soriano was in a horrible slump and Sveum got him to go to a lighter bat and he has his best offensive year of his career.
    2. The coaching actually turned Soriano into a decent LF when he was pretty bad before and hopping on each catch.
    3. Barney was a slightly above average fielder. Under Sveum he wins the Gold Glove.
    4. Rizzo was a career .141 hitter before being traded to the Cubs. He is better now.

    My point is if you are looking for nothing but negatives that is all you will find.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Ike03:

    several pitcher have improved uder Bosio and Schierholtz and Navarro are having their best years FWIW

  • Castro being unhappy is not the same thing as being angry at his manager or FO. People are really looking for issues to blow out of proportion. He has accepted the responsibility for his problems very humbly in my opinion. And I think it's fair to say that everyone including the FO and manager understand that he has gotten confused with the changes they were asking of him and all the different voices in his ear. I see disappointment sure, but not a rift. Not yet anyway.

  • In reply to Bilbo161:

    It's what I was told and it checked out.

  • I think for the most part the pitching has been better (other than the bullpen struggles) the fielding is better even though they still tend to make boneheaded plays but the hitting especially the young guys have been terrible.

  • In reply to kansascub:

    Agree with that and your previous mention of Svuem needing to stand up for his players more often. It's such a difficult balance when the team is so bad.

  • I've said for a while that Sveum should be fired primarily for having their top three major league core players having regression years. Castro is a perfect example. He is a natural hitter. Doesn't have to think much - see ball hit ball. Tinkering with that has caused him to think too much and regress. I think Castro's statements show a high level of maturity that he has recognized the problem and will fix it. FO should see this and side with him. Of course, there may be things we don't know.

  • cubs won't 'sell low' on castro. the kid has had a really tough year, for whatever reason and i guess now is the time for the 'autopsy'. it's been ugly. but good players have bad years.

    at the end of the day, we are still looking at a player that has a fabulous track record. expecting him to be better in years to come is not a stretch at all. the cubs rebuild is all about acquiring as much young talent as possible. castro still is in that category.

  • For the record I would like Castro to stay put. However if Sveum and Castro are at impasse...seems likely Sveum wins out at this point?

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    i'm surprised sveum would win that battle. but what do i know?

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    "...seems likely Sveum wins out at this point?"

    It's the world we live in. now the bad guys win. Whatever happened to Randolph Scott etc.?

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    In reply to Tom Loxas:

    Since Sveum is supposed to be carrying out the game plan of Theo and Jed, I think he does.

  • I haven't watched as many games this year, but Castro looks totally different at the plate. Two years ago, seemed like every time he came up I thought 'Man, Starlin always seems to hit the ball hard and make something happen'. Now, he takes strike one, swings at ball one - and it down 0-2, 1-2 every time. Then its like he panics. You can almost see him thinking about what the next pitch will be and what he should do.

    Castro should have been trying this out and making adjustments in AA two years ago. When he wasn't under the microscope of the Chicago media. He is an unfinished product and the face of a big market team and an incomplete player.

    Let him be. Let him be a .300 hitter with a .330 OBP. He will rack up hits and hit a few bombs. I have no idea where he should fit into a lineup, and I don't care. Maybe he continues to make small adjustments every year - and by the time he is 29 he will take more pitches and hit for some more power...

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    In reply to Roscoe Village:

    But doesn't that compromise Theo and Jed's effort to emphasize quality at bats. "Javier, we let Starlin do what he wants, but we need you to go deep into counts."

    I've asked managers at all levels about this, and if you read between the lines, they generally say that if a guy is a superstar he can do what he wants. Otherwise not.

  • Trading Castro makes me think of one thing: Lou Brock.

  • I think Sveum should be fired. Our top 3 core players in the majors are all regressing this year. Castro is a natural hitter. See ball - hit ball. They are tinkering with that and it hasn't worked. Castro is mature enough to recognize the problem and is taking steps to rectfiy it. I think this shows a high level of maturity and applaud him. Hopefully the FO also applauds it.

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    In reply to cubman:

    Who's the third? Please don't say Barney. I am not in the mood for bad humor.

  • First of all I'm not a Dale Sveum fan. His decision-making has been poor on many levels and he calls out his players publicly. That has to be a sore spot for many on the team. But with that being said, Starlin Castro is to blame for his problems- period. He holds the bat in his hands when he steps up to the plate and is has been in the league four years now. The definition of character is when Rizzo is spending time at Children's Hospital visiting cancer patients- not Castro clubbing and fending off lawsuits from women that frequent the nightspots he attends. Thankfully, the extension Castro signed isn't cost prohibitive and the Cubs should be able to deal him away at some point, but right now a WAR value of -.6 is hideous and would drive most trade partners away. The entire vibe around this player just isn't what the FO can be looking for in building a winner.

  • In reply to Paulson:

    There is that! It's a whole different perspective Paulson.

  • In reply to Paulson:

    With that kind of specious innuendo about Castro, it looks like you're not a fan of him either.
    What do you know about his character and what he really does off the field? I see a lot of "Rizzo's a good guy but that Castro is a head case..." although they are BOTH performing poorly.
    Why does Rizzo get a pass and not Castro? Not aiming at you specifically, but I hate to say it -- I fear that it's a bias based on lower motives that have nothing to do with judging performance or character.

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    Because Rizzo provides other things besides hitting. And while Rizzo is hitting for low average, he's still getting on base via the walk and hitting for power. Castro does none of those things and he's not good in the field and he makes little league mistakes at times.

  • In reply to Ike03:

    Yeah Rizzo really has come through with RISP lately. All that walking and power is showing up daily.
    And Castro is "not good in the field" with 25+ errorless games.

    Selective memory and cherry-picking. And bias. And maybe something else....

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    He hasn't been hitting well with runners in scoring position, this is true. But that isn't the extent of someones offensive value. Also, Castro has been lucky not to be charged with errors a few times. He missed a soft liner that cost the Cubs a game, he double clutched a ball at short and the runner beat the throw, he lets a guy tag and score on a ball hit 20 feet into the outfield. Not ruled errors, but competent players make those plays. Its not confirmation bias that he is known as a bad defender, he is one. You can defend him all you like but he's a -.6 WAR player this year. According to fangraphs there are 4 worse players in all of baseball.

  • In reply to Ike03:

    I see that you and Paulson are squarely on the side of the confirmed critics.
    Fortunately others don't have to result to moral judgmentalism and statistical nitpicking to see the situation clearly.

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    Statistical nitpicking? Castro is one of the worst every day players in baseball this year. He's been awful.

  • In reply to Ike03:

    "He's been awful" -- OK, you've convinced me with your cogent and balanced argument.

    You have a dossier full of more Castro Faults than the CIA has on the other Castro, and they're etched in stone, and ready for posting whenever someone points out anything positive.

    No point wasting time with biased folks.

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    I say it for you One is white and one is not !!!!

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    Tell you what Kenny... a player meets a strange woman in a bar right after the last game of the year, spends the night with her, and flies out of the country immediately afterward. Now the case against Castro was dropped, but the entire situation is slimy to me. I don't much care if you like the way I feel about it but mark my words- this guy will have more character issues in the future. And perhaps you should read about Rizzo's charity work a bit before you wonder why his rep is better than Castro. Besides, Rizzo's performance this year is way better than Starlin-- his WAR value of 1.5 isn't spectacular but is at least average and the .251 BABIP is lowest among starting 1B. Not only is he being pitched around to some extent (as his higher BB rate indicates), but he's hitting into some bad luck. Such is not the case with Castro- he's just simply been bad.

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    To be fair Rizzo should be charged with rape.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    HUH ?!?

  • In reply to StillMissKennyHubbs:

    Sorry! I was being sarcastic.

  • you know, I am not Starlin's biggest fan right now. But I don't mind him saying he doesn't like batting eighth. I don't WANT him to like it. I hope it's real effin' embarrassing that the team's NEW highest paid player (yep) is batting just ahead of the pitcher.

  • In reply to Rob Letterly:

    Agreed. You want him to believe he's better than that. You want him to be embarrassed.

    If Castro was all hunky-dory with batting 8th, I'd be a lot more worried.

  • i'm not usually a fire the manager type of guy, but... he's a hitting coach and none of our hitters are getting better. darwin barney somehow is worse with the bat this year. castro, worse. rizzo, worse. the only hitter playing above expectations is schierholtz. if sveum can't make the players better then what exactly is he doing?

  • In reply to cantstandja:

    That's a good question. It's early but we haven't seen evidence yet that players are progressing. In the absence of talent to compete, you at least want to see players develop. With very few exceptions, that hasn't happened. For me if you want to queston Sveum, it's not his record or the in-game decisions he's forced to make with an undermanned roster -- it's how the core develops. That's how he should be judged.

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    If I were in charge, Starlin would be allowed to hit as he feels comfortable for the rest of the year and then evaluate his performance. If it significantly improves, allow him to use that approach going into next year. He is a successful hitter who can thrive and rebuild his trade value. His defense has improved minus the occasional brain fart. If he bounces back to a 300/330/440 guy next year at his salary rate, this year is an aberration.

    Why does Dale have to stay and win this? Joe Girardi's contract is up after the season. He seemed to do OK when managing the young Marlins team.

  • The end of the season can't come soon enough for Castro. What he needs most right now is to get away from the glare, clear his head and look up whatever hitting guru or coach he has trusted coming up and work on regaining his instincts.

  • With the strength of the minor leagues concentrated in high impact bats (Baez, Bryant, Soler, Almora etc) and projectable #3 starters and hard throwing reliever types, the Cubs may look to trade with a team loaded in pitching prospects and short in positional prospects. The NY Mets farm system are the mirror image of the Cubs' system. If the Cubs believe that Baez is the answer at SS, you could see them exploring a trade of Castro to the Mets for a package built around former Blue Jays prospect Noah Syndergaard who has dominated at AA for the Mets. The Mets have soured on Rueben Tejada and their 2012 first round pick Gavin Cecchini is years away (playing in rookie ball at Brooklyn).

  • I can see Baez going through the same criticisms once he gets here and struggles. He will struggle at some point. Then the unfair Castro comparisons will start.

  • In reply to GoCubsGo:

    That's only going to happen to Baez if these dum dums ask him to alter his approach and become a more patient hitter. I realize Baez has increased his walks this year but he is a power hitter who is going to strike out a lot. He is not really a patient hitter.

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    In reply to jorel1114:

    He's already modified his approach significantly and is laying off tough pitches.

  • In reply to GoCubsGo:

    I can see that as well.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Except the Cubs have already addressed Baez's free-swinging ways. And his improvement in this area has correlated with his taking the next step as a hitter.

  • This Castro stuff is really starting to piss me off. The guy is a garbage ball hitter. He turns bad pitches into hits, that is one of his strongest offensive attributes! And the Cubs tried to make him change that approach and it has failed. I understand why he'd be pissed at the team. The Cubs can't possibly trade him at this point because he is struggling so much. What could they possibly hope to get for him right now or in the offseason? Unless he really goes back to his old approach and finishes the season strong. But even then, if he can come out of that funk why do you want to get rid of him? To me he has already proven that he can hit in the major leagues.

    What is wrong with a guy who can give you over 200 hits, hit over .300 and potentially hit 20 home runs with around 85 RBI? He had 14 HRs and 78 RBI last year, numbers that up until 2013 had steadily been climbing. This is not the league adjusting to him, as John previously said. The league did adjust to him already and he readjusted. And when he struggled last season after Jaramillo's departure he eventually pulled himself out of that funk and finished 2012 strong. This kid can hit in the majors and Baez and Alcantara are still question marks.

  • I gotta think Castro wouldn't be saying these things publicly if Soriano were still here.

  • I have to say that I feel for Castro not so much for Rizzo. Starlin has the right to be frustrated. Why change a guy who hit .300 his first few seasons and was hitting over .300 before Rawson came and also Rizzo. This year has been awful for Starlin and Rizzo and Rawson needs to leave and so does Svuem. Why would the Cubs want to get rid of one of the best hitting coaches in baseball and replace him with a AAA hitting coach who is a yes sir and Svuem has turned into that. The FO needs to wake up and stop trying to change everyone otherwise the Cubs organization will be in trouble. The Cubs need a strong personality that demands respect from the FO like a Joe Girardi type I believe would be an awesome addition,

  • I agree Jorell1114

  • I think it's to early to say that Svuem's benching of Castro hasn't worked. Perhaps, it has been one variable that has added up to putting a fire under Castro. Different people respond differently, but my hope is that this fire really translates for better production for Castro these last 30+ games, but I can also envision him pressing and it getting even worse.

  • Castro is taking one to many first pitch fastball strikes and when he says he is trying to please everyone thats what he means laying off of fist pitch strikes. Why take that away from a solid line drive hitter. Same goes for Rizzo, tooooo many times he strikes out looking at a stinking strike this is his 3rd trip up to the majors. I am more concerned about Rizzo than Castro if Rizzo can get back to swing at more strikes he would be leading the N.L. in Slugging and RBI's on a bellow average team. But I think Rizzo wants to please the front office where Castro has some balls and speaks his mind I like that.

  • Here's an article from early 2003 when the recently fired manager of the Cubs, Don Baylor, was ripping into Corey Patterson, saying he should be a table setter, ie, a punch and judy type hitter, instead of what he really was, a power hitting center fielder who should have hit around .275 while playing a terrific CF with blinding speed. Baylor compared him to Oddibe McDowell instead of accepting Corey for what he really was. As an 18 year old, straight out of HS and in his first year, he went straight to the Midwest League and hit .320 with 20 HRs, 17 triples, 79 RBIs, 33 stolen bases, while striking out 85 times in 475 ABs or 18% while playing at an elite MAJOR LEAGUE level center field. Prior to the 2002 season, Corey had already accumulated close to 1,500 ABs, mostly at the high minors level. Sound familiar?

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    In reply to shalin:

    Yep, Corey Patterson would have already punched his ticket for the Hall of Fame if not for Dusty Baker.

    I see it a lot differently. I'm not saying Patterson should have been made into a singles hitter, but the Cubs can't continue to enable free swingers. It's that simple. As a general rule, that approach doesn't work. Not everybody in your lineup has to be a true grinder (some players don't have it in them). But if a pitcher knows you are going to be ultra aggressive, he's got the upper hand right from the start.

  • Castro can't be trusted to even know the number of outs in the inning. Situational awareness and thinking are obviously not a strong suit in his game... so are we really that surprised that a hitting approach is not going to work with him? I just don't get the sense that he will ever win a chess match with major league pitchers.

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    In reply to DemonBerryhill:

    I don't doubt Castro's work ethic or that he is a good man. I do question his baseball IQ. He wants to play purely on instinct, and that may have worked in 1960. But with all the advanced scouting and sophisticated film analysis, it's hard to get by on that alone in this day and age.

  • There are several points in this discussion that are pertinent. First - Castro has talent but seems to have an inability to adjust to the way pitchers pitch to him. it's obvious to players and fans that he isn't selective at the plate. Second there is the problem of focus that has shown itself from time to time. He could be great,, but I doubt he can adjust and become better given the current situation.

    As for Sveum, I don't see where he has helped players develop either. IMO he does play favorites and he can lower a player's confidence by the way he uses him. I think this happened in one sense with Bryan Lahair (I'm not saying that Lahair didn't have weaknesses as a player but the way he was used didn't help him or the cubs.)

    Castro will probably be moved after this season but Sveum should be on his way out too. With young players coming up there needs to be a better manager at the controls.

  • In reply to pricewriter:

    There is absolutely no logical reason to move Castro after this season unless you are overwhelmed by an offer, which is not going happen after his struggles this year.

    Everyone needs to calm down and see how this all plays out. There is too much talent there to sell low and as amazing as Baez has been he is likely a year away and not a sure thing either.

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    In reply to Eric:

    I would have agreed with you 100 percent prior to his recent comments.

  • In reply to pricewriter:

    I agree 100% . Sveum has been a bad hire. No core players are progressing. His in game managing stinks. His favoritism in the press . So many reasons for this guy to go, only argument in his favor is the team seems to play hard. To me Theo needs to steal Girardi away from the Yanks.

  • I'd rather get rid of Sveum than a SS who gets 200 hits a year.

    Bad managers are much easier to find.

  • What, exactly, has Sveum done well with the Cubs?

    Starting pitching? That's not his expertise; that's Bosio's.
    Having players who still play hard? Who on this team DOESN'T have something to prove right now? Is there anyone left in that category?

    Yet we see significant regression from the team's two most important long-term hitters, a mess in the bullpen (he overworked Camp and Russell on a team that is visibly and purposefully tanking), and a series of questionable in-game calls.

    So far one can perhaps argue for the success of Navarro and Valbuena and perhaps Schierholtz, but given the success of players we know the Cubs wanted but didn't get, I'm inclined to give that win to scouting.

    To me Dale Sveum does not look good right now.

  • In reply to Matt Mosconi:

    Well, just for conversation's sake, who would you like to see replace Sveum? Girardi is a no-brainer having WS rings and being an ex-Cub. Mike Scoiccia apparently isn't in a good place. Who else?

  • In reply to good4you:

    I don't know but I don't think anyone would have said "Dale Sveum" when we were looking to replace Quade. Not implying Sveum was an obvious non-choice but rather that we'd probably look into hitting and pitching coaches again.

    Honestly, with this team I just want someone who can truly develop our young players.

  • In reply to Matt Mosconi:

    I agree on all counts except I wouldn't go so far in crediting Bosio. Just buy out Sveum at the end of the year. I can't believe that he was hired because he had major league managing experience. When I think that we might have had Francona, Sandberg, or Maddux instead, it's enough to make me swoon.

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    What really seems clear here are than the critical fans seem to have very selective memory and currently think that Castro will now hit .240 each and every year. They will be the same fans next year that say they have always been Castro supporters if the kid comes back next season and hit .285 or better with 20 HR's and 85 RBI's.

    The FO know this as well. A sit down with Castro to discuss what the Cubs can do to help him get back to being comfortable and just having fun playing a game he really loves should be in the best interest of all parties.

    One suggestions to Castro, "Stop reading the papers." These folks will never have his best interests in mind.

    Hater's got hate. It's what they do. So to hell with them. And go do what you do Castro.

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    Bocabobby, Like this post! Rooting for you Castro!

  • Only time and patience will turn Castro around. You guys really have no choice. Why not just accept the facts and move on...... patiently. Fans are too fickle sometimes. Myself included.

  • I have no idea what whispers you're hearing, but I just haven't gotten the impression of a rift. He SHOULD'VE been yanked, & he SHOULD be dropped down. What was Castro supposed to say, "I love being pulled from games & it's my favorite thing in the world to bat before the pitcher"?

    I heard hoyer say weeks ago he they think there's too many people in his ear- & they should just let Castro hit. Castro seemed to be reiterating that?
    I've also heard Castro say he never wants to leave the cubs & I've heard hoyer say castro's having a down year.

    Castro's English is spotty as well, but I just get the feeling he's very remorseful.

    But I don't know what whispers you're hearing???

    I feel like the whole thing's basically moot at this point anyway because his trade value couldn't be lower at this point.

    PERSONALLY, I think Castro needs to be traded as soon as he rights the ship. When we DO come to the point where we're in an NLCS game 7 in the 9th tied, you don't want him costing us the game because of a rule you didn't think to tell him about.

  • First of all, I don't think that just because Castro is saying that he doesn't like to hit 8th or that he's going to go back to his old way of doing things that there is a "rift." A rift implies, to me anyway, that there's not only a large philosophical difference, but also an element of personal contention/dislike. I just think Castro is tired of trying something that's not working and doesn't like hitting low in the batting order. For those of you calling him out for not showing "fire" or competitiveness, well... there's some evidence for you that he has a bit of both.

    Also, I think sometimes the whole "working the count" thing gets taken the wrong way or misunderstood (though I'm not sure if it's us as fans that are misunderstanding or the batting coaches themselves in this case). Driving a pitch count up to get to the bullpen is great. Seriously. I love it when players battle and have 10 pitch at bats. But the thing that *really* gets into a bullpen faster than anything is hitting the ever loving pi*s out of the ball and Castro was pretty good at doing that. That's what I don't really get out of tinkering with him. He just took a different route to get to the same location. I think the "approach people" can sometimes get tunnel vision in thinking there is only one way to summit the mountain so to speak.

    As far as Sveum and his hitting coaches go, put me down as another one who is a little concerned about the lack of progress by most of our core players (position players in particular). I totally understand that progress takes time and is also not linear. In fact, some regression often takes place during the process of improvement. However, it's tough to see many signs of improvement with these guys. Rizzo has always seemed a patient hitter to me so the fact that he's still taking walks... well... that's not improvement. He just hasn't regressed there. Castro is seeing more pitches which is nice, but he isn't doing anything with them or walking much which are both far, far more important I think (see my point above). You could go down the list and saw the same for most of the players. You'd just love to be able to look at these guys and see some signs that progress is underway. Maybe it really is there hidden away from the casual observer and this is the ugly part of the process, but man... it's so hard to see.

  • Like most Cubs fans, I am excited by the hitters in the minors, but our supposed "cornerstones" currently on the roster are a disaster.
    Rizzo is flying under the radar with all the Castro focus, but he is a nightmare at the plate at a premium offensive position. He deserves to be batting third as much as Barney does. I know the FO would like to have his babies, and the fact he has beaten cancer is a great story, but he is an average player at best.
    The minors stars better pan out, because we have nothing on the ML roster.

  • In reply to Hawks12:

    Agree that Rizzo has had a pretty poor season offensively (defensively, he still adds value), but I honestly like the fact that Sveum is sticking with him at his place in the order. In fact, I wish that he'd show that level of confidence and support for Castro. It's a sort of "I believe in you... I believe you will get out of this funk" attitude that is helpful. It bums me out that Sveum moves Castro all over the order which is hardly conducive to improving his morale or letting him develop an approach.

  • In reply to Hawks12:

    Yes, because players at 23 to 24 years old never struggle or put it together to overcome those struggles. To assume either of these guys are finished products is ignorant. Maybe they flame out or maybe they put it all together - no one can predict which way it will go.

  • I think they need to tell Castro that he's starting at shortstop and batting in the 5 hole the rest of the season and get out of his way. The FO needs to tell Dale if he doesn't have anything positive to say keep his yap shut.

  • In reply to kansascub:

    Get out of his way, but the 5hole. After 4yrs. I still have no idea where in the lineup he fits best.

  • I agree Hawks12

  • I hate the idea of trading a good player low. I'm sure Theo/Jed will be as patient in trading him as they have been in watching his play this year. It will be interesting how Sveum is viewed. The pitching staff has had most of the successes this year and last (and proving most of the tradeable commodities). In terms of position players we haven't seen too much positive development. Too early to evaluate Sveum?

  • I don't have any insider knowledge of what's going on in their locker room, but to me it just looks like he's frustrated, and this leads to venting at times, especially with the lofty expectations and pressure put on him this year. He's regressed at the plate this year, not happy about it, normal venting occurs.

    This is the type of article I would expect from someone like Paul Sullivan. Not everyone is going to get along on the team at all times, especially when said team sucks and players are struggling with their game. What are you going to report if Rizzo has an argument with Sveum in the dugout the next game? Speculate on all of the possible trade scenarios that will show Rizzo out the door to another team?

    It just seems like pouring gasoline on a small brush fire. My two cents.

  • In reply to HefCA:

    I can't tell by Rizzo' s demeanor if he going well or not. One most likely won't see him in any arguments.

  • In reply to 44slug:

    Good point, pretty even keeled dude. But you could sense a little frustration even in him, in Greenberg's latest Cubs article. That's a good thing. I'd rather they get a little pissed when they are not playing well, rather than 'Oh well, not going to get them all. The pitcher is trying real hard, too, you know."

  • Sveum is exactly the opposite of what you want in a Leader/Manager in my opinion. A good manager knows that his success and the success of the team depends on the production of his individual players. His job is to maximize that production by any means necessary. A big part of that is creating an environment (including mentally) which allows his players to excel.

    Instead of deflecting the heat and pressure of the situation, Sveum directs it right at his players. He call them out in the media, criticizes every mistake. Nobody follows a person likes this. If it's a choice between Sveum & Castro, then Sveum needs to go. I dread the thought of him handling Alcantara, Baez, and others. Young players will have their flaws, and will make mistakes especially when they first come up. Sveum has shown nothing which would lead me to believe that he could turn those mistakes into positive learning opportunities for the players instead of a feeling of dread that their next mistake could be their last.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    Clap. Clap. Clap.

    Hopefully Theo/Jed are smart enough to see that, too.

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    What's the point of having a hitting coach or a hitting philosophy as an organization if players are just going to do it their way? It's best for Castro and the Cubs if these two part ways. That is, assuming the Cubs can get two top prospects from somebody's pool of talent. Hopefully, Castro will finish strong.

  • In reply to Gregory Shriver:

    A hitting coach and/or hitting philosophy should be a guideline. Not every player in baseball has the exact skill set they are looking for. it's okay to teach, but it would be smarter if, after a fair amount of time, they hitters be who they are. If they don't like who they are, than trade them.
    Look at the hitters who they have drafted. Amora is not a big walk guy. Braynt's on base ability is yet to be determined (his high college walk rate, according to his manager, was a function of teams not pitching to him).Why would they not draft players who meet their philosophy?

  • In reply to djriz:

    Totally agreed. The point of a philosophy is to give direction to an organization, to young players who may not have found their way or aren't excelling, to clarify what is being looked for. It's not to dictate that every player has to be a cookie cutter model. Castro doesn't fit the philosophy, but he was (is) a fine, fine player. Why in the world would you toss away a good, young SS because he doesn't take as many pitches/walks as you would like? There are many roads that lead to the same goal.

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    In reply to djriz:

    It is my opinion that one of the biggest reasons the Cubs haven't won more during my lifetime (I'm 50) is that they have consistently been at or near the bottom of the league in OBP. They give away at bats, go after pitcher's pitches, etc. Changing this culture was one of the biggest things the new regime emphasized when it came in. This group also mentioned that they wanted all levels to be on the same page as to how things were done. I don't think these thick player development books are guidelines.

  • By the way I'm glad Castro said that he is going back to what he knows the last 6 weeks. That's exactly the kind of mental shift he needs to allow himself to feel like he is starting fresh.

    Hopefully Starlin goes out and crushes the ball the last 6 weeks.

  • First time commentor. Long-time reader. Awesome site. All of the writers are awesome.

    I think it was a mistatke to say what Castro said. I don't think he would have made the comments he made had he not signed the contract he just signed. You don't make a public statement like that if you haven't been paid yet.

    I am a Castro fan. He's been a good Cub. I don't think he did himself any favors, though. I understand he's frustrated, but you have to go about it differently. I can't argue with anyone that says that management shouldn't make public comments either. The manager needs to be more careful there, too.

    I can tell you (as a former high school baseball coach who's been hired and fired) we try a million things to motivate players. Some work. Some don't. Some moves are reactionary that work and don't work. Some moves are thought out that work and don't work. You do what you feel is right and accept the consequences, I guess.

    It was a risky comment on his part. The front office may or may not want to keep him. Let's say, for instance, that the front office doesn't want to keep him. They can reference his recent comments to the fan base as the reason they traded him. He just gave the front office a reason. Without his comments, they could have cited that he didn't fit the "Cubs Way", but the fans will swallow that he didn't want to fit a whole lot better.

    How much does the decision to trade him come down to money? There is no question that the Cubs are taking a small market approach, at least briefly. I think it was a great idea to give Castro, Rizzo, and Jackson the contracts they were given, but it's not hard to argue that they were signed to be traded when the right offer was made. All three are entirely capable of having huge first halves and being traded for quality prospects in July. Was that the goal all along?

    I wouldn't be in any hurry to trade Castro, but I don't think his value has diminished all that much. I think you can pretty much get for him this offseason what you could have last offseason.

    Would Barney be a superior defensive shortstop or would he lose all of his value there? If the Cubs are willing to find out, he could become increasingly valuable in a trade as well. If you trade one shortstop (Castro) this offseason for young pieces, you could trade another shortstop (Barney) for key pieces next July. Perhaps Baez takes over after that. It is something the front office has to consider.

    My question with this rebuild all along has been; "Where does it end?". Is Baez the future shortstop? Is Vogelbach the future first baseman. It sure would save a debt-ridden franchise some money.

  • In reply to Kodak11:

    Excellent post Kodak. Dale has Castro & Rizzo batting 1 & 2 in tonite's lineup. If Castro closes his stance, we'll have a winner again at SS in the future. Hopefully, that's his plan?

  • In reply to TobaccopouchinIvy:

    Thanks. Sounds like a winner. I never liked the open stance. I don't like how it changes your eye levels as you approach the baseball. Too much movement. I feel the same way about an extreme leg kick.

    Is what it is though. Gotta be careful cutting cookies and skinning cats. Lot's of people have had success doing things I wouldn't teach my players to do.

  • I don't understand why everyone attacks Castro on his character? Is it because he's Dominican? He made one bad mistake when he was 21 and all of a sudden, people are assuming he is a bad person off the field. Yes I have seen Rizzo and his charity work. At the same time, that doesn't necessarily make him a better clubhouse guy or more coachable. Not to mention, while Castro doesn't have his own foundation, he has visited children hospitals several times.

  • In reply to Cubs2438:

    Castro is a good kid and hard worker from every account I've heard.

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    In reply to Cubs2438:

    For me, it has anything to do with Castro personally. I just don't tend to be real fond of guys as baseball players with his approach at the plate (unless they are putting up .900 OPS marks, which isn't likely without a decent OBP. The Cubs can make things so easy on opposing pitchers by chasing pitches early in the count (swinging at the first pitch is not always a bad idea, but if you do and don't connect, battle your way into a deep count).

    Also, when Castro came up I thought he was going to have good speed, be a productive base runner, and hit for decent power. But the baserunning and power have been a disappointment and now the average is too. I still hope he can be a .300 hitter with a .350 OBP and an .800 OPS in a good year, but I'm not holding my breath.

  • I have always thought Castro as an arroggent young player. A couple years ago he said something along these lines. " hitting .300 is the norm, no problem". Having said that, I have to believe the Cubs have messed with him too much. Let him do his thing. Really a shame. I still think he has such promise. Forget Baez pushing him. Maybe it boils down to Castro is not a current FO pick or player. I am truly wanting him to succeed. As a Cubs fan for over 45 years, I certainly do not want him not to.

  • In reply to Wild Bill:

    All ballplayers think they're good, whether they say it publicly or not. If they don't think that, then I'm really worried.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Ironically, I did not like him the first couple years. I thought he was a cocky punk. The young man has much potential. I look at this year as a write off year. So what, both him and Rizzo are not having the steller years we as Cubs fans would have wanted. I figure better this year. So when our (hopefully) young prospects (Baez, Almora, Bryant, ect/.) come up, they all will be clicking on 8 cylinders. Better to have them both stink this year than the next few. talk of even ridding Castro is just insane to me.

  • In reply to Wild Bill:

    I agree this whole thing is comical. We are only two years into a massive organizational restructuring and the idea that the FO would jettison a 23 year SS who has done more learning at the MLB level than in the minors is absurd. I now the team is awful now but are we really getting this short-sighted? Patience people, patience. I'm not a fan of Sveum so it will be interesting to see how this plays out going forward.

  • In reply to JeremyR:

    Thank you for common sense as a Cubs fan. As I mentioned, i have been a fan for around 45 years. I have learned patience. For the first time being a fan, I can see the goal. This by far is the best FO i have ever seen. Agreed, not a fan of Sveum, but he will not be he one around when we have a good team to field.

  • John, not throwing too many accolodes at you and your team, but man, you all put together a heck of a great site for Cubs info. First site I log on to in the morning. So a big shout out and thank you!

  • In reply to Wild Bill:

    Thanks Wild Bill!

  • John, I have been a reader for some time, this is my first post. Your posts are really good and the discussions well informed. Well done.

    I may have missed it above, but it seems to me the "talented player getting mixed messages" is not a new problem for this organization. I was under the impression the Felix Pie, Cory Patterson and some other supposedly talented palyers had similar issues. Is this a case of the character in Office Space getting comments from 5 different bosses about his TPC reports? Do Sveum and the FO have some things to answer for in their handling of Castro? It has been a while since this organization has drafted and developed an all-star player, Castro being the first since...? Castro is 23 years old, he is having a bad year, it is very possible the apprach in his coaching is not effective.

  • In reply to All W Days:

    Haha! I like the analogy... and thanks for the kind words. It is something like that, perhaps. I think getting advice from different sources is part of being a major league ballplayer and so to me, some of it is on the player to try and apply it to what he does best. Right now it seems as if Castro is confused and has forgotten what helped get him to the big leagues in the future. You can't lose that part, adapt and incorporate advice to your strengths, but don't use it to completely replace what you do well.

  • Agreed, but, this organization does have a history with this issue. Sometimes you do need to tailor your approach to the particular ball player.

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    You know, Giancarlo Stanton has had a pretty eh year himself, I wonder if we could trade a devalued Castro for a devalued Stanton. Might be the classic change of scenery trade for both players.

  • The hitting woes began when the Cubs dumped Coach Rudy Jaramillo -- Castro, Rizzo, Barney, and all the others.

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    Is there a more polarizing topic among Cubs fans than Starlin Castro? Wow.

  • I agree he isn't this FO's kind of player. Low P/PA, low walk rate, too aggressive on non-strikes. My thinking is that the hope signing him was that he could be turned into their type of player, or if he couldn't, dealt for a considerable package. Little did they know his value would fall off a cliff once they tried to change his approach and got him thinking too much. I give Castro credit, he's tried - his P/PA are way up this year but it isn't translating to walks and selective aggression. Instead it's turning into Soriano with a 3-2 count. He wants to swing the bat and he's swinging at whatever you throw next. I'm glad Castro's saying he needs to stop listening to people because he does. Hopefully they stop whispering sweet nothings in his ear and hopefully it's not too late.

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