3 Reasons the Chicago Cubs Should Trade Starlin Castro

I’ve been saying for weeks on Twitter that the Chicago Cubs, who will be one of only a handful of MLB teams selling over the next couple of months, should trade Starlin Castro, their young shortstop who has been labeled the franchise player for the time being.

But when I look at Castro, I see a great piece for a team rather than the guy that an organization should build around.

I’ve boiled it down to 3 main reasons why the Chicago Cubs should trade Castro:

3. Castro a Misfit in the Field & in the Lineup

Photo courtesy Rex Arbogast via Associated Press

Starlin Castro is currently the shortstop for the Cubs. This position is the de facto captain of the infield, and it needs to be manned by someone that will be very reliable in the field.

Castro and his .958 fielding percentage is anything but reliable.

If a team had that fielding percentage overall, it would be a nightmare. So for one of the captains of the defense, who should be reflective of the unit as a whole, to put up that number suggests his is a liability to his team.

Because of that, I see Castro moving to third base sooner rather than later, staying on his natural left side of the infield. And if you’re trying to build around a third baseman, that player needs to be a major offensive producer, most likely a power producer. Take a look at the Pirates building around Pedro Alvarez, the Nationals with Ryan Zimmerman, the Rays around Evan Longoria, and the Giants with Pablo Sandoval.

That doesn’t mean that Castro can’t be an extremely valuable player for a team at third base, it just means that it’s not wise to build around a corner infielder who isn’t going to hit more than 10-12 home runs (give or take) in a season.

There are franchise players and there are guys that are great pieces. Organizations that are building or rebuilding can do so around those pieces, but only if they have a bonafide franchise player or two by their side. Sure, Anthony Rizzo looks good, but talk to me when he’s done it in the big leagues.

And this leads us in to the next reason why Castro should be dealt.

2. Wasting the Years Away

The Cubs have had Castro looking impressive in their lineup for almost 2 1/2 years now, yet it’s essentially a forgone conclusion that they won’t be legitimate contenders until 2015. With 2 1/2 seasons left until then, 2015 will be Castro’s 6th big league season. While his age is not a concern, since he’ll only be 25 at the start of that season, I think the five years wasted should be a big concern.

Sure, Castro will still be good when the Cubs are in contention mode, but they could trade him now for a few impact prospects that would have more of their best years when it counts more. In other words, the Cubs could “cash in” for the next few of Castro’s expected impressive campaigns instead of having them go for not. If they get a couple guys who puts all of his good years toward a contender, it would make it worth the risk of trading a proven talent like Castro, especially considering the fact that he’s not a 3 or 4 hitter, as previously described.

Photo courtesy Associated Press

1. Sabermetrics

Sabermetrics is an approach to analyzing baseball players that revolves more around intensive and predictive statistical analysis than simply using scouts’ opinions, box score stats, and gut feelings.

Theo Epstein analyzed players this way in Boston, following the lead of the A’s Billy Beane and placing special emphasis on on-base percentage, and it brought Epstein’s Red Sox two World Series titles.

The fact of the matter is that Castro doesn’t fit well into this sabermetrics type thinking.

While you can count on Castro to rake in a lot of hits and compile an average around .300-.310, his on-base percentage will likely only ever be about .20-.30 points higher than that. He simply doesn’t take pitches, which can either lead to walks or increasing his chances of getting good pitches to hit.

Is it okay that a very good hitter doesn’t walk much? It can be for certain players talented enough to overcome it. But when Theo looks through the sabermetrics lens evaluating his team, he’ll likely view Castro and his .340 OBP as very replaceable.

A few infielders who could replace that OBP at a much cheaper price are Jed Lowrie, Marco Scutaro, and Omar Infante, just for reference.

So whether you as a Cubs fan would like it or not, Theo may see a trade of Starlin Castro as far too sensible to pass up.

About Zach Gropper

Zach Gropper is a sports broadcasting major at Indiana University in the beautiful town of Bloomington, IN. He is from Flossmoor, IL, a small Chicago suburb.
Zach was was the sports director for WHFH 88.5 FM Flossmoor his junior year of high school and Television Station Manager of Viking Television during his senior year.
He runs a White Sox blog at GrabSomeBench.com and also contributes and reports for AssemblyCall.com. Last summer, Zach interned for ESPN 1000 AM Chicago, working on programming for the Waddle and Silvy Show.
He is currently eager to get out into the professional world of sports media, wherever that may take him.


  1. John Smith says:

    When you look at Starlin Castro you see incredible upside, How many 21 year old players have led the National league in hits, you could probably count them on one hand. Statistically Castro compares with Derek Jeter. In Jeter’s first full year as a pro he hit .314 with 10 HR 78 RBI OBP of .370. In the Field Jeter had a .969 fielding percentage while committing 22 errors. Castro Meanwhile in his first full year as a pro hit .307 with 10 HR 66 RBI with a .341 OBP and lead the National League in hits. In the field, Castro had a .961 fielding percentage while committing 29 Errors and was a whole year younger than Jeter in his first full year as a pro. My point being is that Castro is still developing into his body and into more of a complete player. In terms of upside and projectively, Castro’s is through the roof with developing power and defense. Castro should develop into a 20 HR guy. With the Cubs in a complete rebuild mode you can shop Castro but unless a team gives you an overwhelming offer in terms of prospect and major league ready talent but Castro is a guy your going to want in your clubhouse when your ready to compete in 2015 and by that time he should be a Veteran voice on your team. Face it you need to have veteran leadership to make a deep pennant run. Castro is exactly the kind of guy you want to build your team around.

  2. Darrell Birkey says:

    Now are you ready to start the list of 100 reasons why the Cubs should not trade him? You are at an age where is better to watch, listen and learn. If you had more experience watching MLB would understand that good young players who are good athletes get even better. He is the cornerstone for rebuilding. You don’t trade the cornerstone.
    As for not competing until 2015, according to who? They will compete long before then.
    Watch and learn, then you may have something to say.

  3. Darrell Birkey says:

    And you’re a White Sox fan.

  4. cool_story_bro says:

    I think trading SC would be the most beneficial move for their organization. In other words, it would help them win for their fans sooner. So the fact I’m a Sox fan has nothing to do with this. I’m not saying all of the things I do in this article so I could LOL because the Cubs have 1 less good hitter, that’s idiotic. In my opinion, it is the best business move to make. Just my opinion. Thanks for sharing yours.

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