Cubs Shortstops Could Be Wild

Cubs Shortstops Could Be Wild

Who's on short?

That is the riddle these days when it comes to the Cubs' future.

Reporters from both Chicago and New York surrounded Starlin Castro's locker Friday to ask the young incumbent about the reported interest the Mets may have in him or other Cubs shortstops.

Normally it would be quite awkward for a three-time All-Star who has yet to turn 25 to be facing such a line of questions. The future of the position would normally be a moot point for most clubs.

However, the Cubs happen to have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to shortstop.

Top prospect Javy Baez was just recently relocated to second base to ease his way into the major leagues. Yet, Baez was carefully mentioned by general manager Jed Hoyer Friday as still being a capable shortstop in the organization's eyes.

Castro was also asked about his willingness to change positions to make way for a top prospect like Addison Russell. He told Mark Gonzalez in no uncertain terms he wasn't ready for that.

"I showed a lot of people that I can be good at my position," Castro said Friday night before extending his hitting streak to 14 games with a single in the second inning against the Mets. "I don't have control (over my future). I think a lot of people see me and know that I can handle that position my whole career. That's the position I always play."

When the Cubs acquired the top-5 shortstop prospect Russell from Oakland, it only helped to make the positional waters just a little more murky. He is usually mentioned as the best of the bunch, defensively. Oakland GM Billy Beane supposedly told Cubs brass they were getting the next Barry Larkin.

Personally, I've been asked about this pleasant little dilemma many times during some recent local radio appearances. Each time I have stated my romantic wish for the Cubs to find a way to play all three somewhere, somehow.

Hoyer was asked if the Cubs can make this a reality. He teased my dream with the answer he gave Gordon Wittenmyer

“I think we can be a better team for it in a lot of ways if we end up doing that,” Hoyer said.

Hoyer also told Wittenmyer he feels no pressure to alleviate the logjam.

“No,” Hoyer said. “Not at all.”

Yet, I get the sense that something will eventually give. I hope Hoyer is being sincere when he envisions the possibility of all three residing in Chicago simultaneously. Yet, With the Cubs in need of young, impact arms they may get the kind offer they can't refuse this winter. Those offers can be commonplace from New York.

The Mets and Yankees will both be looking.

When it comes to the Mets, young arm Zach Wheeler is a name that has been mentioned to me specifically, and the Cubs supposedly have had a keen interest. Wheeler didn't do much to hurt that opinion as he struck out 10 Cubs Friday night in a 3-2 win.

But again, as I have stated before, I'd rather take my chances with keeping the young bats, adding pitching through other avenues.

With young bats at a premium these days, the Cubs are holding a lot of cards.

I'm just hoping for a shortstops-are-wild kinda hand.

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  • We will have to wait & see what type of hitter Addison Russell will be......if he is better then Castro, it would be better to keep Russell at short and either move Castro to a new position or trade him.............so many people were eager to see Baez come up and hit, and we are now seeing lots of strikeouts.............we are also seeing the league adjusting to Alcantara........I still say put Alcantara back at second........if the Cubs want Baez at second, then trade Alcantara......Alcantara does not have a strong outfielder's arm............expect the Cubs to break the all time strike out record for batters next season.......Baez, Soler, Bryant.............the pressure will be on Bill Mueller to tell these kids to cut down on the K's...............Samardzija & Hammell lost seven games since being traded to Oakland ( could be nine loses if A's did not mount a major come back in the 9th of two of Sharks games ).....and many feel the A's will not be in the playoffs now......how good does that trade return look now with the Cubs !........and is it possible that Samardzija might come back and sign with the Cubs to be part of that World Series in 2016 !.......no rush now to trade any of our shortstops.

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    In reply to CubsTalk:

    Soler doesnt strikeout very much. I wouldnt group him in with the others.

  • In reply to CubsTalk:

    Yes, Russell needs to hit, but ultimately the choice of Russell v. Castro v. Baez is not about who hits best. The value of a quality glove at SS cannot be underestimated. A good glove takes away runs, shortens innings, and limits pitch counts. A good shortstop (as well as defense everywhere) emboldens pitchers to trust pitching to contact, go for the DP, and not just try striking out 3 hitters in a row to get out of bases jammed and no outs.

    Look at history. No team with a Silver Slugger-only SS has ever won a World Series title. The closest was the 1984 Padres with Garry Templeton at SS. But many have won with a Gold Glove-only SS. (Of course best is to have both a Silver Slugger and Gold Glover at SS.) This is the dilemma Whitey Herzog inherited when he took over the Cardinals in 1981, and he immediately traded Silver Slugger Gary Templeton for defensive whiz Ozzie Smith setting up 3 World Series appearances in the 1980s and 2 titles. Interestingly, Theo faced a similar dilemma when he took over the Red Sox with defensively average slugger Nomar Garciaparra. Theo, though, first played around with signing Nomar long-term but ultimately traded Nomar to the Cubs in 2004 and getting Gold Glover Orlando Cabrera to anchor shortstop in that WS title season.

    So unless Russell suddenly tanks, he's our SS for the rest of the decade. The real question is whether to trade or re-position the other two. But Theo/Jed need not be in a rush. Russell will probably play much of 2014 at Triple A, and you let Castro and Baez play on as the the DP duo, unless someone blows you away with an offer for one or the other. Time is on the Cubs side, and one thing you can bet on, is Theo/Jed will not sell low on any of them.

  • In reply to SkitSketchJeff:

    Nomar was a different situation than this, nomar's career was almost over. You can't afford to let russell just be a glove guy because there are to many holes in the lineup. I know your counting on bryant and others but as a FO you can't assume all prospect reach there ceilings.

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    In reply to SkitSketchJeff:

    Well said, for sure.
    I must say if the Cubs send another potential Hall of Famer(Castro) away, I might cry for the rest of my life!
    Myself, along with many others are tired of that crap. Due to his age, durability, the fact he's had more hits than any player since he arrived in MLB (and I think the most doubles, also) is to much to let go.
    Cubs Insider writer Evan Altman said it best "A bird in hand is better than 2 in the bush league"
    Who knows what kind of player Russell will be, even with the crazy talk from Billy Beane.

  • In reply to SkitSketchJeff:

    I think that you meant to say that Russell will spend 2015 at AAA! Is he not at Tennessee now?

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    If Lester signs on as a free agent then no need to resign Shark. Shields would have been a possibility there as well, but his age and the Cubs not being ready to contend before 2016 make that unlikely.

  • "Wheeler didn't do much to hurt that opinion as he struck out 10 Cubs Friday night"

    Is that it? Seems like everyone in their mom has at least been getting 10+ Ks against the Cubs....

    *Yawn*

    But seriously, I'd want more than Wheeler...I would want quality quantity. 2 potential TOR arms. But that's just me. I'm greedy.

  • In reply to cubbie steve:

    Greed....is Good.

    Castro would be bring in a haul.
    But I would wait it out for more.
    No rush to trade any of our shortstops.
    Let these other GM's push the panic button when the time comes.

  • In reply to cubbie steve:

    Yeah, I hear you. I was pretty clear in stating my preference to keep all 3. Yet, Wheeler would be a guy they would have interest in.

  • In reply to Tom Loxas:

    I really don't have a preference on whether they keep all three or not. I'm just greedy about getting 2 TOR arms. And couldn't resist the joke about the Ks.

    Anyway, why the sudden change of heart for Castro? I thought just not too long ago he was willing to do what was best for the team...

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