Out with the Old, In with the New?

Out with the Old, In with the New?

Some may have been surprised to hear news over the weekend that Starlin Castro would no longer be in the starting lineup for the Cubs. Others, not so much.

Castro’s lingering struggles have finally forced the Cubs to face an issue they have seen coming for awhile: there’s to much talent in the infield. Of all the problems a team could have, (and let’s think about the problems the Cubs could potentially have) this is actually a good issue.

While Castro is once again stuck in a slump, now seems to be the perfect time to let rookie Addison Russell have his time in the spotlight, moving from second base to his original position, shortstop. The movement shuffles Chris Coghlan from left field to second base in place of Russell, and Kyle Schwarber moves from catcher to left field for Coghlan as David Ross and Miguel Montero take care of business behind home plate.

It’s a lot of movement, but at the moment the pieces of this intricate puzzle are fitting together perfectly, as the Cubs have won 11 of their last 12 games. Clearly Joe Maddon and his team are doing something right.

It can’t be easy for Castro, a three-time All Star, to be benched in favor of a few rookies, but this is where we see Theo Epstein’s work within the Cubs’ farm system come into play. Versatility is encouraged in the Chicago’s minor league system, increasing a player’s value. Russell, Coghlan and Schwarber have had the benefit of training to play multiple positions as they were working their way through the system — Castro didn’t.

Versatility doesn’t make Castro any less of an asset to the Cubs than the rookies who can play several positions, but it’s currently putting the 25-year-old at a disadvantage, along with his disappointing .236 batting average.

While the Castro Haters of Chicago have made their voices loud and clear on social media about what they would like to see happen to our now former shortstop, I admire this young man for handling such a frustrating time in his career like a true team player. After told of his demotion and talk of a potential move to second base, ESPN writer Jesse Rogers reported that Castro responded, “I just want to play. No matter where they put me, I want to play.” He later added, “We don’t think about me, we think about us. It’s the team now.”

I commend Starlin Castro for taking this setback in stride. He could throw a tantrum about being benched, but his focus appears to be on improving as a player and the overall well-being of his team. If that means putting him on the bench for a bit and letting some of these rookies work their magic, then so be it.

Will the rookies push Castro out of the North Side, or will he earn back his spot in the starting lineup?

Only time will tell.

 

 

 

 

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