Juan Uribe would add veteran leadership, mentor Starlin Castro

Juan Uribe would add veteran leadership, mentor Starlin Castro

One of the things Jed Hoyer has said is that one of his goals is to add some of the veteran leadership the Cubs have lost in the past couple of years.   The team has seen Aramis Ramirez, Ryan Dempster, and most recently, Alfonso Soriano depart as the Cubs try to shed contracts and get younger.

One of the things Epstein said at On Deck in a response to a question about Starlin Castro is that he needs to stay focused and that you need to stay on some players a bit more than others.

While the Cubs desperately needed to shed that payroll and begin the rebuilding process, Ramirez and Soriano were the guys who stayed on top of Castro.  The Cubs need to replace that.

This is where someone like Juan Uribe can be a great fit depending on the price.  Uribe is 34 and is coming off perhaps the best season of his career, hitting .278/.331/.438 with 12 HRs and playing excellent 3B defense.  It added up to a 5.1 WAR season for the free agent.

I don't expect him to repeat those numbers, but Uribe can add some defense, pop from the right side and, as mentioned, fill that veteran leadership void.

In fact, he is already familiar with Starlin Castro, as this article from Mark Gonzales notes,

"A bad year?" Uribe said of Castro's .239 batting average. "Everyone can have a bad year. He can come back. He's a good player. Sometimes he's thinking too much."

He understands that Castro needs to mature with his approach at the plate, especially when it comes to things like situational hitting,

"When the team needs a run, they want you to get it," Uribe said. "Just think about getting that run and not worry about what happened in the game.  I want to hit but I want to win."

Perhaps that is a lesson Castro can learn from the 13 year veteran.  And there are similarities between the two.  Both were highly touted shortstop prospects and like Castro, Uribe struggled with focus early in his career and once received a 7 game benching from then White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen in 2006.

"Sometimes when you're not doing something you need to do, you're thinking too much about something. That's what happened to me before. You know you can do it but don't."

What makes this even a better fit is that Castro admires Uribe,

"He's a guy who looks happy to play," Castro said.

The Cubs need Castro to bounce back and be the kind of player they thought he was going to be just over a year ago when they signed him to an extension that could take the 23 year old into his age 30 season.  Uribe, for one thinks he can.

"I think the Cubs will be all right with him."

I agree, but just to help it along, maybe the Cubs should stick Uribe at 3B and see if he can help Castro relax, simplify, and enjoy the game again.  I think it would be worth the investment.




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  • Can he play 2B? I'm hoping Olt locks down 3B.....

    What would his WAR look like at 2B? IDK if we'll sign him. When you start ticking off boxes, he checks off every one of them except this FO's unwillingness to pay for past performance vs future performance.

  • In reply to HoosierDaddy:

    Not a 2B anymore, but he's a good defensive 3B. I think you can bring him in and give Olt some time in AAA or maybe the OF if he forces the issue.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    It's an intriguing possibility. I'd think he would to be on a contender so we may have to wait it out. But the 3B FA market is sparse so I'm sure he'll have other suitors.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I like the idea of Uribe as well but I was also hoping he could play some 2nd as well.

    I really hope that Olt wins the 3rd base job in Spring Training as he's like a lottery ticket for the Cubs right now. As you say John, Olt could move to the OF though and I doubt Uribe plays more than 130 games at 3rd anyway, plus he could DH sometimes etc.

    It's just that sending Olt down to AAA is not a great scenario in my opinion if he does well in the spring as the Cubs have Christian Villanueva (a decent prospect in his own right) set to start the year at 3rd in AAA and he is the best 3rd basemen in the organization defensively.Then the Cubs have top prospect Kris Bryant set as the 3rd basemen in AA. Then the Cubs have Jeimer Candelario another top prospect set as the 3rd basemen in A+ Daytona.

    So having Olt go down to AAA just throws everything off in my opinion. I do want some cost effective veteran leadership on the team though.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    I agree it causes some issues if they did this. It may forces players to change position before the cubs were ready to make that decision. I do like the idea on principle though.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Olt can cover 1B adequately too - if I remember from some scouting report I read last year, before the Cubs got him. So he could get some ABs there spelling Rizzo in a pinch.

    I like the idea of Uribe slotted in next to Castro defensively - I still hope that Olt successfully forces the issue and opens 2014 as our starting 3B.

    There are far worse things to have than 'options' as to whom to play. If Uribe can be signed for a reasonable contract - then he's probably worth the signing for a year or two.

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    That is actually an intriguing idea. John do you have any idea what the market is for Juan? I always got the sense he would try to sign with a playoff contender. He might need more money to sign with the Cubs.

  • In reply to Sean Holland:

    I really don't know on the market. I get the feeling he'd prefer a contender and it may take a bit of an overpay to land him. But if it's short term and it can impact Castro long term, why not?

  • I like Uribe to a point. I do wonder about how much of an impact he could possibly have on Castro and how much of an impact he would actually have on Castro. Can't quantify that and I don't think we could rely on that. Therefore, I hope the Cubs offer him up to what he's worth as a ballplayer only and hope for positive externalities. No premiums for mentors, please. Though there's nothing wrong with preferentially targeting veteran leaders over non-leaders, all other things being equal.

  • In reply to StatHead:

    He's a good ballplayer and the Cubs would have probably have to pay a premium simply because all things equal he will go elsewhere. I'm into metrics as much as the next guy but baseball is still an organization of people. Mental makeup and being a good teammate matters. I think the idea that there's some objective value that teams adhere to rigidly is almost certainly not practical.

    If you have objective qualifiers on two players, one is a Milton Bradley type guy and one is Juan Uribe. Let's say they play the same position and you project the same numbers...if you had to pay a little extra to get Uribe, wouldn't you do it?

    And it's not even just a little. I know teams -- progressive teams-- that have completely written off certain players regardless of their objective numbers.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I agree with your point, but your example is not realistic. If I was limited to two options, of course I would pay more for Uribe!

    I also think there are enough vets who have good mental makeup that you don't have to pay a premium for it. Simply targeting them at each phase of free agency should net you those kinds of vets. DDJ was that kind of signing.

    Now, the reverse--staying away from clubhouse cancers. I totally buy into that. However, I think it's easier to identify cancers than it is to identify someone who is going to help Castro turn himself around.

    The real question is how much is Uribe's veteran leadership worth over, say, Mark Ellis, Kevin Youkilis, Placido Polanco, or Omar Infante's veteran leadership? In the end, I'm not convinced Uribe's leadership is worth anything more than those guys and I wouldn't pay anything extra for it so long as there are alternatives that are not clubhouse cancers.

    Maybe I'm wrong, but finding a vet to turn Castro around seems like an even more uncertain task than finding a coach who can do it. If the Cubs like Uribe as a player, then by all means they should go after him. If they need to pay a premium to get the guy they want then sometimes you do that. But I don't think the Cubs should base that on Uribe being likely to positively influence Castro.

  • In reply to StatHead:

    I'm dealing in hypotheticals to prove a point. It has value. Not easily quantifiable, but we know it's there somewhere. It becomes easily apparent when you use extremes but there is value and it's the front office's job to find out who fits best. Some of it will have to do with statistics and some with things we can't easily measure, such as leadership ability.

    This is about Castro, so Youkilis and Ellis probably not the best choices. Polanco isn't nearly as good a ballplayer right now. Uribe can contribute in both respects. The FO can identify players they think are good leaders. It's part of their job. But It's all part of an equation and Uribe seems to fit best.

    There is value beyond numbers. Good front offices can find it. They're in the business of understanding the value of ballplayers, not just statistics.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Sure, being a good leader is valuable but it's not rare and it's not reliable as far as making certain other players reach their potential.

    Soriano was, by all accounts, an excellent veteran leader. He spoke spanish. He mentored Castro. Why did Castro not reach his potential under Soriano's good spanish veteran leadership? Why would Uribe be successful where Soriano was not? Also, why is this just about Castro when Rizzo is also a young guy that needs to reach his potential? If we can't consider Ellis as a mentor to Castro can we also not consider Uribe as a mentor to Rizzo?

    I'm not arguing that there isn't value beyond numbers. Don't let my tag, Stathead, mislead you. Stats are only one type of evidence. My argument is not because there are no numbers to back it up. My argument is based on the fact that I don't see evidence of any kind to make me think we can predict with any certainty how much impact one guy will have on helping another guy reach his potential.

    I do agree that there is evidence to support signing good clubhouse guys. I just think that good clubhouse guys are common. Therefore, while I would pay to avoid a bad clubhouse guy (what I'm really paying for in your hypothetical between Bradley and Uribe) I would not pay a premium for a marginal improvement in leadership.

    Your story is a nice feel-good story, but I don't think there is any evidence that Uribe will make Castro a better ballplayer. Like I said, if it was that easy then I think the Cubs would just hire a coach to do that. I usually agree with you and I'm not against Uribe, but we'll have to agree to disagree that he is likely enough to improve Castro to warrant paying a premium specifically for that.

  • In reply to StatHead:

    We'll put aside that both Jed Hoyer and Theo Epstein have specifically said they are looking for veteran leadership to replace Soriano.

    I think this is always downplayed because people are afraid to assess want they can't quantify, but that's why some people deal strictly with numbers, some with people, and FO members are adept with both. What I see are artificial lines being drawn.

    Of course there aren't numbers to back it up, but it doesn't mean it isn't there. And you are using premium so liberally as if we'd pay Uribe so much more ...strictly because he may be evaluated as a better coach/mentor whatever you want to call it without regard to his abilities on the field. He'll get paid in large part because of his abilities as a ballplayer, that was never in question. But you don't believe he deserves anything extra because he may also lead?.. But yet you'll pay a little more to bring in another coach? Meanwhile player value can only be measured by statistics. Those are divisions you create.

    It was my old line of work to judge intangible qualities of people. If I were to base on a decision on any particular person solely were based on years of experience or where they went to school or their GPA, then it's an easy decision, but it's not hard to see there's more involved to making a person the right fit for a certain job. And surprise of surprises, sometimes you pay extra for the candidates you prefer. It's easy to say they're just ballplayers but what if they were applying to be teachers or for leadership positions in something outside of baseball, certainly you could make that same kind of assessment. I don't know why it's so hard to fathom that the same principles and characteristics can be assessed inside of baseball.

    If you've been in the teaching business a long time you know who the good teachers are. You know who you'd want your kids to take a class from. If you're in business, you have a pretty good idea of who is going to lead a department and who is going to do the grunt work...even if they happen to have the same exact IQ.

    It's an art, but it's not a complete mystery.

    And what do you think Uribe would be? He'd be a de facto coach on the field. You make these artificial delineations. Just hire a coach. Coaches coach, ballplayers play. The reality is some do both. And some are better players and some are better teachers than others, just like the real world. There is no real evidence that teacher A will make your kid better at math than Teacher B, but if you thought Teacher A would provide an environment more conducive to learning. I'm sure you'd pick that person if you had the choice. You may even pay a bit extra. But maybe not. Maybe you'd say any teacher with experience is a teacher, it doesn't matter. The difference is marginal and it doesn't matter who teaches them. Maybe you would. Most people wouldn't.

    Or maybe you make that exception for baseball for whatever reason.

    But in baseball, we can't identify good teachers/leaders? Well, Unless we call them coaches Bring in a new long as he doesn't play baseball too. Pay an extra one. You pay more for some managers (Girardi) than others (Quade). You want good coaches, not bad ones and you'll pay a bit more if you have to. But if we also call them players, then it doesn't apply?

    It's taken as a whole and if you think those in the industry make decisions only based on things they can put on a spreadsheet, then that's your limitation, but don't trivialize it by calling it a feel good story. I could trivialize your opinion because it lacks imagination and takes a cynical view toward teachers and the impact they have on students. I could even call it a feel-ennui story. Ehh..what does it matter anyway? A veteran is a veteran, it won't make a difference if I pick one or the other.

    And lastly this also has to do with the quality of the ballplayer. It's not just about paying a veteran because you think he can help a player. You pay him because he can help the team too, that is where he will get the overwhelming percentage of his value, and if he can do both, then he has a bit more value. The player with the best combination of the skills will get more money because those things have value.

    My suggestion is Uribe, it could be somebody else that has a better combination of skills and how much they're willing to invest. But Uribe isn't going to make a lot more money than Polanco because, hypothetically, he's a marginally better leader. He's going to get a premium because he's a much better player. But hypothetically if Uribe and Polanco where equal as players and let's say for argument's sake, Polanco was a good guy but didn't teach well or wasnt interested in doing so. Didn't hurt you in the clubhouse, but he was just kind of there. Then let's suppose Uribe spend extra time to work with young players, a veritable coach on the field. You wouldn't pay a little more for Uribe? Let's say you offer both $5M but Uribe decides he wants $ wouldn't pay that if you like his potential impact as an instructor on the field? You'd save 500K and get a guy who won't hurt you but won't do anything extra? I guess we can agree to disagree on that.

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    In reply to John Arguello:

    Guess I'm not the only one with insomnia tonight...

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Haha :) It's been brewing for awhile. Comes and goes with me but been falling asleep later and later.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    What I'm suggesting is that baseball teachers can be identified generally, but I didn't think you showed strong evidence saying that Uribe will be likely to improve Castro. I'm sure the Cubs FO didn't think the last guys they brought in would get Castro thinking too much and send him into a tailspin. The approach they thought would work backfired big time. Soriano's mentorship didn't send Castro to new heights. Why should Uribe's? What is the link there? That remains unanswered and is the crux of my criticism.

    I can't predict the sun will rise tomorrow based on numbers. I would point to the fact that the sun has risen every morning of my life. That doesn't fit into a spreadsheet, but it's still evidence. Just because I'm unconvinced by your claims, doesn't mean I'm limited to only things that fit in a spreadsheet. Just because we're not talking stats doesn't mean you can draw a conclusion with weak evidence and expect me to accept it.

    The things you listed in your article are sufficient evidence to support a claim that Uribe and Castro have similar backgrounds. You could have also pointed to their BB% and K% being similar early in their careers. Ok, your article brought me to the point of thinking they're fairly similar ballplayers. But I don't follow the jump in logic to making the claim that due to those similarities we can expect Uribe to improve Castro. To me it's non sequitur. At best it's a gut feeling perhaps that there is a link there.

    I referred to the story as a feel-good story not to trivialize it, but because while it didn't convince me Uribe would improve Castro, it did give me more hope to see that Uribe and Castro have had similar career paths and that Uribe turned his path into a nice career. If the point of an argument is to provide reasoning that another person willingly accepts, then it's important to keep in mind that not all people will find the same reasoning persuasive. Reasonable minds will disagree and that rarely has anything to do with one person being "limited" or being "afraid to express what they can't quantify".

    And I think the time has come for me to bow away. Thank you for the discourse.

  • In reply to StatHead:

    I'm not presenting "evidence". I'm presenting an idea I think is worth exploring.

    I'm not trying to construct scientific theory nor I am an attorney proving a court case with a smoking gun. You are never going to have that in these situations. If you lock yourself into needing evidence to take any and every action, then that is rather limiting, even paralyzing. There are many situation where we don't have evidence and as I said, my job was to make those kinds of decisions all the time in personnel decisions, but if I had to wait for hard evidence to know whether someone would fulfill his potential and become a leader or impact employees in a positive way, then I would have hired nobody. Sometimes you make judgments when it comes to people and have to make decisions without direct evidence. Sometimes you are right and sometimes you are wrong, but you don't always have a nice tidy answer in front of you and that applies to baseball as well. Uribe was a suggestion based on his experiences, background, and similarities as a player. Is that ironclad evidence? No. Do I have reason to believe he might help? Yes. And if I have reason to believe Uribe would be a better addition than a similar player based on his projected impact as a player and teammate, then yes, why wouldn't I pay him a bit more than the other guy? There are no absolutes and no guarantees when you are dealing with people, only patterns, inferences, etc. and sometimes that has to be enough.

  • He could mention Castro in Spanish

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    It does make communication easier.

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    OT: CCO has a heart-palpitation-inducing interview with Callis up. This quote in particular I found comforting:

    CCO: For years, Cubs fans heard about the next big prospect on the horizon. Why should these players be viewed differently from the likes of Corey Patterson or Felix Pie?

    JC: Both Patterson and Pie were pushed aggressively through the system without ever being forced to address their weaknesses. Neither performed in the upper minors like Baez has. Neither had close to the power Bryant has.

  • In reply to Mike Moody:

    Good to hear.

  • Like the quotes and piece, but prefer Eric Chavez myself.

  • My first reaction to Uribe is he's a classic PED guy who simply "beefed up" his 2013 numbers last year ahead of a final multi-year contract push. So his regression back to norm could be pretty scary given he put up negative WARs in 2011 and 2012. Uribe is also basically a platoon player at this point in his career, and his free-swinging, all-or-nothing plate approach isn't a good match for the Cubs organization or mentoring Starlin. Last, doesn't it seem wasteful to dedicate two positions (SS & 3B) to develop one (SS). I'd prefer to see Olt or Villaneuva getting time at 3B if either prospects spring training performance merits promotion, and then let our new manager and his staff focus on Starlin. And Castro's problem isn't ultimately mentoring. Remember his second half of 2013 after the Soriano trade was actually better. But veteran leadership is a need. If Ellsbury/Salty/etc. don't ultimately slide somehow to the Cubs in this weak FA market, then signing a Jose Molina as backup catcher, and finding a veteran leader for the OF could be the best way to cheaply find those veteran voices.

  • In reply to SkitSketchJeff:

    Where the heck did that come from? Please provide the link to the story that found Juan Uribe guilty of steroid use!

  • In reply to SkitSketchJeff:

    This post is wrong. Unless I'm mistaken Juan Uribe has never tested positive for PED's.

  • In reply to Ghost Dawg:

    "This post is wrong." Never said he failed a drug test. Based on my experience playing with PED users and basic patterns he fits the classic PED model. I know most fans prefer not to believe many players use PEDs -- that to believe otherwise would lower their enjoyment -- but the fact is actual major league players say at least 80% use. Of course, most use within the regulated allowable levels. (Even the Olympics let sprinters have up to 3 times the normal level of steroids.) Others stretch it further and use masking agents.

  • I just hate watching this guy hit. Look at his face in that cover pic. You can just imagine him thinking "alright, I'm a power hitter!"

  • In reply to Eddie:

    I agree. The whole free-swinging, "from the cock" moon-shot hitting stroke.

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    In reply to Eddie:

    It's a solid idea John, Castro needs someone to get him thru this, lets face this, Sveum should have managed a veteran club, granted these guys are now in the bigs but these guys like Castro and Rizzo are still learning.. If I recall it took Jim Freys influence three years into Ryne Sandbergs career to teach him how to turn on a fastball,it's a work in progress and hopefully this staff and any vets added build his confidence and Rizzos confidence etc. not throwing them under the bus like Dale did

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    I am not a fan of Juan Uribe other than he seems to have a propensity for big plays when most needed, which is not quantifiable, of course, but extremely coincidental.

    I'd prefer, since we have a new coaching staff in place, to have them work with Castro and Rizzo. At some point, these guys actually need to be leaders.

    I wouldn't mind seeing Castro traded for pitching and waiting on Baez. As the season ended I felt the timing was wrong and that Castro would be a sell low commodity. But given the market this year and next, I don't think I believe that anymore.

    The best case scenario is that Castro simply mans up, learns to focus on defense, and gets back to being an insane hit-tool SS. Then this discussion ends. Uribe wouldn't be a bad backup IF, but jeez, the Cubs have Valbuena, and they need a starting 2B and a starting 3B way more than they need another backup type player.

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    In reply to Michael Canter:

    Michael, I think Rizzo has all the attributes to a great clubhouse leader but needs to get more vocal perhaps and that will happen..the true leader for Cubs in the future may well be Almora

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    I agree the last thing Castro and the team needs is a special assist for one player. I get the feeling that Starlin has turned the corner, but focus and maturity is an inside out development.

  • There is little value (or logic) in signing a veteran at a position where there are at least 2 guys waiting in the wings who will probably see MLB time in 2014 (Olt, Bryant). Plus, if Jed/Theo sign a 3B it would be someone who understands their Sabermetric approach (Youk). The spot to look at is LF, where the Cubs can sign a veteran to a short contract who won't end up blocking another guy.

  • In reply to VaCubFan:

    I agree. The best fit would be a corner OFer, but it an interesting idea. My question really is why is it all about Castro? Why aren't people worried about Rizzo? Rizzo will have more impact on the cubs success then Castro being the only LHed power bat.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    This is definitely true. Rizzo needs to seriously improve his hitting vs. LH pitching.

    Rizzo's splits...

    2013 -- AVG/OBP/SLG%
    vs LHP - .189/.282/.342 <<<<<
    vs RHP - .252/.342/.454

    vs LHP - .208/.243/.356 <<<<<
    vs RHP - .318/.383/.508

    Career vs LHP : .194/.270/.347 <<<<< Ouch!

  • In reply to KGallo:

    I think Castro needs it. And as a SS, he has a chance to provide unique value if he can hit and defend above the MLB average, which isn't that far out of the question. He's done both, just not at the same time.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    I've been wondering about that. So much talk about Castro. The new coaching staff will deal with everything. Obtaining players to help Castro to me seem ridiculous.

  • In reply to rockyje:

    They've already stated they want veteran leadership and that they are looking for it. So ridiculous or not, they are looking for it. They aren't bringing in guys specifically for Castro, I wrote that in my article because he is exhibit A of a guy who needs a veteran presence around him -- but they aren't making moves specifically for him.

  • In reply to VaCubFan:

    I'm not sure which you are looking for but Youkilis can't play LF and he probably can't even play 3B anymore.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    The point I was trying to make, is that if they sign a 3B (which I don' t think is a great idea) they are far more likely to sign Youk, who understands the approach they want, then someone else. As for left fielders - Michael Morse, trade for Josh Willingham, someone else? If the Cubs are going to sign/trade for a veteran, LF is the most logical spot (Since Nate plays RF).

  • I agree with all the reasons to bring in Uribe but why would he want to come here? If he is 34, I would think he would want to be on a championship level team not a rebuilding team using him to mentor a kid.

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    In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    Money and a possible chance to start.

  • In reply to Ray:

    I am sure he is safe on money. He also started for the dodgers, so playing time isn't gonna be a factor. He started for a playoff team that is close to winning it all.

  • In reply to WaitTilNextYear:

    That's the part I most agree with. Makes sense for the Cubs but for Uribe? Maybe not as much.

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    Okay John, you shot this by me last night while I was at work, and I really didn't have time to adequately respond, but I did have all night to think about it. So just for arguments sake, someone needs to play devils advocate here, and since I don't see where felzz has responded and Moody has dropped the ball on this one, I guess it's up to me.

    Starlin Castro is a 23 year old young man. He'll be 24 on opening day, and he'll be entering his fifth season in the show. If he still needs a baby sitter like Crash Davis was brought in to babysit Ebby Calvin "Nuke" LaLoosh, who was in A-ball at the time, we have a problem.
    Castro doesn't need a babysitter. He needs to put on his big boy pants and grow up. He's being paid millions to play a kids game, which is a chance most people will never get.

    Now I'm not saying your idea is scheisse. Because it clearly is not, but I am saying we should all find it disturbing that this might actually be necessary. It says something about Castro's mental makeup, or lack there of.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    Michael...I second your thoughts.

  • In reply to Michael Caldwell:

    As someone who has been either training/developing or teaching for most of my life, I think that's the ideal but the truth is there are all kinds of students. Some can be left alone, some need more attention, some respond to discipline while others respond better to a support system. I agree he needs to grow up and I don't know if someone like Uribe will help him do it, but I like the way A-Ram was always on him. I think Starlin needs someone like that around...for now. We know people change because Uribe was very much like Castro. In fact, he was a much bigger disappointment early on. At the very least we know that Uribe would be the kind of veteran presence + production the FO says they lack and are looking for. I think given he can still play, he's the best (but not the only) fit for that kind of that kind of role.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    John isn't that why you have a coaching staff ????

  • In reply to rockyje:

    Why would you so neatly define roles? Did you not work somewhere where there were more experienced people who helped guide you early on or did all your development as an employee come directly from formal instruction from your supervisors/management?

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    I see your point but that just is what happens all the time. The coaches are paid to to help and develop , players are paid to play and of course they interact with other players.

  • In reply to rockyje:

    Right, you just want good mental makeup veterans interacting with your young players. And some are more willing to take the time to spend time with young players (i.e. like David DeJesus and Marlon Byrd did). Not every player is willing to do that. I think it's a nice bonus and you prefer to go for that type of player all else being equal.

  • I have a name Jason Kubel. He is a little older and his defensive isn't great. But I have heard he is a great clubhouse guy. I think the Cubs are babying Castro too much and there his someone nipping at his heels so he is pouting. I am getting tired of the he is still young crap. When I was 23 I was in the military and being shot at. So I grew up quick. So I am sorry if Mr Castro is making million something needs his hand held. There is no point to coddling him. If he can't handle and you continue to coddle him you just make a monster.

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    In reply to KGallo:

    Thank you Kevin. The Southwest Asian League wasn't my favorite place to play either. A lot of kids playing in that league for a whole lot higher stakes that would give anything to be Castro's shoes.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    I appreciate this Kevin but didn't you have guys that had been in the "shit" before you got there who helped you out and maybe gave you a couple tips of what they do to keep themselves alive? At the very least your first weeks I'm sure you at least looked to some of the "vets" who had been their before you and followed their lead to some degree. It's just smart.

    In that same way I have heard from many players in multiple pro sports that what really got their career going, or what helped them in the beginning was having some vets to either listen to or just watch to see how they do it that helped them become the player they are.

    It helps to see guys who have "done it already" go about their business every day and show a young kid (which starlin still is, even at 23) how to be a professional, what look for in certain situations, and wisdom that only comes from experience.

    I definitely agree with you though that coddling is not the way to go. I think you need both positive reinforcement but also once in a while if Starlin is daydreaming in the infield during the dog days of summer to have Uribe (or another Vet) come up to him after the inning in the dugout and tell him that "stuff doesn't go around here, Wake up!)

    Sometimes even "tough love" can mean much more coming from a respected veteran that you look up to and be a true wake up call.

  • In reply to KGallo:

    It's not about coddling. It's about a support system. While I appreciate what you did at 23 and thanks for serving us all, it's not the same situation.

    Not many of us are taken from our families at age 16, brought to a foreign country one year later and then put on the biggest stage shortly after turning 20 years old. Some of us could succeed and even flourish in that situation, but not everyone will. Castro did, in fact, flourish, and had a support system when he first came up. It's since taken away, perhaps too early. Yes, he's 23 but who are we to say that is the age where he must be ready? People are different. I know many people who were mature at 23 and many who weren't. It doesn't necessarily mean you give up on them and it doesn't mean you thrust them into a situation they aren't ready for and see if they can sink or swim. You can lose a good player that way.

  • OK, maybe Castro needs a mentor, maybe not. I'm not sure that Uribe is mentor material.

    Maybe Castro needs to grow from within. Hey! He had a bad year trying to please a bad manager. What player has never had a bad year? Let's let him be and figure it out. He seemed to be coming out of it near the end of the year when he seemed to be listening to his own inner voice rather than to a screwed-up manager and coaching staff. Then if Castro doesn't come out of it, then get what you can for him. There are other shortstops down in the system, and not just Baez.

    What we don't need is another 3B. We seem to have a few on their way. Money would be better spent on something else. Let's say - - - pitching!

  • I have another name that should help Starlin grow up fast - Javier Baez.

  • In reply to Eddie:


    When you have someone like Baez seemingly nipping at your heels, you would think that your heels would move faster.

    They better!

    And there's a kid named Gleybar Torres to think about too. But that's about 5 years from now. But keep those heels moving!

  • This is an interesting question/debate. I'm of the opinion that a young player, like Castro, could use an on the field leader. I think that veteran leadership is something that this team is going to be sorely needing in the next few years. True there is no evidence that a veteran will improve Castro (or others), but another teammate, that isnt a coach, that is a "mentor" figure for Castro certainly cant hurt.

    I think Juan Uribe could be good to do this. I dont know if he is interested & might cost a bit much coming off a pretty good year. I dont know if Placido Polanco would be an option? He's been around the game 20 years & might come across a bit cheaper. Then again, might not be interested either.

  • Would it just be best to have veteran leadership on the club generally and let Castro alone? He's at the point in some ways where he needs to find his own way IMO.

  • My criteria, is he better than Ian Stewart? Then that will be progress.

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    I like the idea, but it robs the system of development time at 3B... I think we need to have Olt on the ML roster next year... That gives Villenueva, Bryant and Candelario an oppirtunity to continue their ascent. Will they all make it? No but that is all the more reason to continue their development so that we can maximize our opportunities to develop our future hot corner mainstay. I am just not ready to give up on any of them in that position yet.

  • My problem with Uribe is hes always been a swing-at-anything type hitter. LAD really doesnt have a top-end 3b, yet they let Uribe go. So did the Giants before them. I agree hes a fairly solid 3b defender with decent power, but I just dont see him as the leadership type.

  • I see this as a good signing if he doesn't command long years or big money. Solid player in a utility role and he can legitimately play SS, which the Cubs haven't had in a backup since Castro came up. Plus I'd love to see a 13 year old mentor a 23 year old. I kid John, usually ignore typos but that made me lol.

  • In reply to Teddy KGB:

    Haha:) Did I write that? I meant to write 13 year veteran. Thanks!

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    Cubs just acquired Kottaras from Royals

  • Exactly how many third basemen do the Cubbees need?

  • In reply to Hey Hey:


  • In reply to John Arguello:


  • In reply to 44slug:

    I was only kidding :)

  • Yankees are going to go after Uribe, watch after all of this A-Rod drama goes away, and he starts his 211 game ban. Uribe in my opinion would be a great mentor for Castro, but the Cubs aren't in the mentoring hiring business. Why would the Cubs hire a $15 million-dollar babysitter? Give the job to Olt, or let Kris Bryant hit his way onto the team. I don't know, kick the tires on someone else.

  • In reply to LRCCubsFan:

    He wouldn't just be a babysitter. He did have a 5 WAR season last year which by itself was worth more than $15M. I expect to him to regress but a 3 WAR season seems very plausible, that alone is worth about $15M. You'd be getting him for his production and defense too.

  • I don't want Uribe. MLB network showed him getting caught with the hidden ball trick this past year. Sounds like something that could happen to Castro. Seems to me like throwing gas on the fire.

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