Amazin' Avenue: With significant shortstop prospects in the Cubs' minor league system, are Cubs fans itching to trade Castro now?
Al Yellon, Bleed Cubbie Blue: Absolutely not. Cubs fans see Castro for who he is—an All-Star talent who turned the corner on a bad 2013 and who is having an excellent 2014, with the possibility he could hit 50 doubles this year—only two Cubs (Mark Grace, 1995 and Derrek Lee, 2005) have done that since 1937. He's on pace for a career high in home runs. And his defense seems improved.
AA: Mets fans have heard a lot about Castro's poor defense and his apparent lackadaisical approach to the game. Are either of these concerns significant?
AY: They were concerns, though I have not seen Castro do any of that this year. He seems much more focused and his defense is better. Normally, measuring defense by errors is pointless, but since a lot of Castro's errors were due to lack of concentration, the fact that they're down a bit this year is significant. The rest of his defensive numbers are average or a bit above.
AA: Whether he's traded or not, what will Castro, who is still just 24 years old, look like by the end of his current contract?
AY: I think Castro has made a significant leap offensively this year. In addition to hitting a ton of doubles, he is only three short of a career high in home runs and could hit 20+. That would likely be more than any shortstop in baseball except Troy Tulowitzki (and maybe Ian Desmond, but Castro appears to have passed Desmond offensively). At 24, he is on track to have the best year of his career, really worthy of his All-Star selection, rather than the previous two times, when he made the ASG mostly because the Cubs had to have a rep. In the past, he stole 20 or so bases a year, but that's not likely to be the case going forward; he seems to have become a mid-range power hitter. It would be great to have five more years of that.
AA: And, of course, would you expect the Mets to give up one of Zack Wheeler or Noah Syndergaard to acquire Castro, or could they make a deal using less-heralded prospects?
AY: Without question, one of those pitchers would have to be the centerpiece of any Castro deal. Wheeler has the MLB experience but I (and I think most BCB readers) would rather have Syndergaard, given his age and possibly higher ceiling. Besides, now that Jeff Samardzija is gone, I need a pitcher on the staff whose name is hard to spell.
Bottom line, though, is that I don't think the Cubs are going to trade Castro, nor do I want them to.