ESPN.com's Jayson Stark, who's usually fairly plugged-in to various executives in the baseball business, sent out this tweet Thursday afternoon:
Other clubs say #Cubs aggressively trying to include Starlin Castro in any deal. It was interesting that Addison Russell played SS yesterday— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) July 30, 2015
I don't think it's that interesting that Russell played shortstop yesterday; Castro was due for a "breather" day. And since this is officially silly season as well as trade season, you might want to temper any expectations of Castro being dealt:
There are reports #Cubs are aggressively trying to move Castro. I'm told that right now, it's just noise— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) July 30, 2015
Any or all of this could be misdirection on the part of executives, too. Many times baseball GMs will float ideas through various media members. Don't think it doesn't happen, because it does.
Castro, after having a good rebound season in 2014, is having the worst year of his career, hitting .237/.271/.305 and not having a particularly good year in the field, either. He's currently at -1.3 bWAR. There are 1,082 players ranked by WAR on baseball-reference's 2015 Player Value page. Castro ranks 1,078th. Only Angel Pagan, Cody Asche, Rene Rivera and Danny Santana are worse. (Note: the 1,082 players include a large number of pitchers ranked near zero due to their hitting. The players near the bottom of negative territory are all position players.)
Castro is also near the bottom in OPS. Of 158 qualified hitters, he ranks above only Mike Zunino, Omar Infante and Billy Hamilton. All of those players provide value (defense or baserunning or both) beyond their bat; Castro does not.
This, at age 25, a year in which Castro should be entering his prime years. He seems to be a classic change-of-scenery guy, someone who might be better off somewhere else.
I don't know how serious the Cubs are about trading him, but clearly, they have players who can replace him if they so choose.
Please make careful note of this paragraph. I know Castro has been a contentious topic around here most of the season. He's become everyone's favorite player to bash. Some of that bashing is justified; much of it is not. In discussing Castro and possible trades involving him, please be respectful of other commenters here. Thank you.