Sep 22, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs shortstopStarlin Castro
throws to first base during the fifth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
With just a little over a week to go till spring training, it’s a perfect time to start talking baseball even if the weather doesn’t give the impression it’s that time of year yet. Today’s topic is Starlin Castro. The question, should Renteria use this spring to “audition” Castro at third base, or other positions?
It’s no secret if you follow Cubbies Crib, or if you’re just a casual Cubs fan. The Cubs have some talented players knocking on the door at Wrigley. It’s not likely to see any break camp with the Cubs, but they won’t be far behind. The infield especially could get very crowded with the likes of Alcantara, Baez, and Bryant progressing as they have. So now, with Renteria at the helm, and the hope that his background will allow him to communicate better with the Latin american players, I pose this question. Should he move Castro over to third some this spring to not only allow Baez to play shortstop, but to see what he can do at the hot corner?
This is a topic that I have discussed with fellow Cubs fans before, and have mentioned it on here previously. Castro’s struggles in the field are no secret. At 23, he’s still very young and can turn things around. But a quick glance in his rear view and he’ll see Javier Baez and Kris Bryant. I think the possibility of the move is unlikely, but I think it’s worth a look.
Castro played only seven games at third, and 27 at second in his time in the minors, and that was all in Rookie ball. Generally infielders have the ability to play all three of those positions, but don’t always for whatever reason. Now I am in no way saying the Cubs should enter spring training with the thought that Castro should play third. But I think it would be in the best interest of the club to get him some innings on the corner and see how he responds. Baez and Bryant both have non roster invites to spring training. The Cubs are unlikely to have many surprises coming out of camp. So now is as good a time as any to give Castro a test run.
Castro at times is his own worst enemy. He can be brilliant at times, then makes errors on the most routine of plays. I feel like he lacks the baseball acumen to thrive at short. The move to third puts him in a position to use his reaction and physical skill more so than his head. Maybe the less time he has to think the better. The Cubs would likely want to see Baez at short and third as well. Benson will probably see time in the outfield as well as third. These two young men aren’t invited to sit. The point is for them to get the feel of major league baseball. The speed of the game.
I hope that the belief that Renteria will be able to communicate better with the players really does make a difference. Most don’t believe a manager makes up more than a three or four game difference. But if there truly was a gap in communication, this would be the time to bridge it and explore other possibilities.
Agree? Disagree? Feel free to leave a comment and continue following Cubbies Crib for more on the Cubs and spring training as it nears.