Starlin Castro Extension Talks Tabled?


May 9, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro reacts after being tagged out while trying to stretch a triple into an inside-the-park home run during the fourth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE

The Chicago Cubs are currently an organization that is in the middle of rebuilding process. No longer is the organization banking their success on veteran free agents, rather with Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer leading the new regime, the Cubs plan to establish success by building from the ground up. This, in part, is the reason why the Cubs traded away players such as Tyler Colvin, Andrew Cashner, and Sean Marshall this past season. Most of the Cubs future is with the Iowa Cubs with Anthony Rizzo and Brett Jackson being the prime examples.

But the Cubs future is circled around one player. That player is already on the Major League. That player, of course, is none other than starting shortstop Starlin Castro. Ever since Castro made his debut for the Cubs in 2010, there was something special about the 22 year old shortstop. Castro was elected to the National League All Star game in 2011, and the shortstop will likely earn his second trip to the All Star game during the 2012 season. Castro is hitting .347/.359/.468/827 on the season with 19 RBIs. As Castro continues to develop, the shortstop is quickly becoming one of the top run producers in all of baseball.

Castro is putting himself to be the poster boy for the Cubs organization for many years to come. As it stands, Castro is under team control through the 2016 season. Castro has Super Two status, meaning the shortstop will have an additional year of eligibility for arbitration. The Cubs are hoping to make that status irrelevant. Unlike with starting pitcher Matt Garza, the Cubs front office is fairly certain that the team wants to sign Castro to a long-term extension. Though, it is unclear up to this point if Epstein and Hoyer have engaged in contract negotiations with Castro’s agent, Paul Kinzer.

Regardless of where things between the Cubs and Kinzer, no deal is likely to be reached during the season. Kinzer told Fred Mitchell of the Chicago Tribune that there he does not have any interest in discussing a long-term contract for Castro during the season. Kinzer, who does not want to create any distractions for Castro, alluded to the idea that contract talks could ignite during the off-season.

Though, Castro does not appear to be one that gets distracted easily. This past off-season, Castro was the center of sexual assault accusations stemming from an incident in September of 2011. The investigation dragged into Spring Training, however, Castro was focused solely on baseball. Nothing ever came of the sexual assault accusations of Castro. One would have to wonder if Epstein and Hoyer wanted to start long-term contract talks for Castro this past off-season, but opted not to in light of the investigation. Not saying that is what happened, but it could be possible. Nonetheless, a long-term contract for Castro appears to be inevitable at this point.

What will be the starting point in the Castro negotiations? For starters, the long-term deal is going to have to be for at least for four years as that would cover the years of Castro’s arbitration eligibility. One may be quick to point out the recent extension that Joey Votto received from the Cincinnati Reds. Votto signed a $225 million contract to remain with the Reds for the next 10 seasons. That will be too high of a number for Castro. If Andre Ethier of the Los Angeles Dodgers signs a contract extension this season, that will be a better comparison for Castro. Eithier is currently expected get a six year, $90 million contract extension. That would come out to $15 million a season. Assuming Castro stays healthy and continues to progress, the shortstop could be in line for such a contract.