Chicago Cubs: Does Starlin Castro have much trade value anymore?


After last season, Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro saw his trade value skyrocket. However, 2015 has been a different story, as he’s struggled again.

A 2014 National League All-Star, the 25-year-old infielder sat out this year’s Midsummer Classic – watching teammates Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo take part in the All-Star Game.

And with good reason.

For the better part of two-plus years, fans have clamored for the Chicago Cubs to deal Castro, who, time and time again, has shown mental lapses in the field and at the dish.

And, once upon a time, such a trade would have likely favored Chicago. But now, that is far from certain.

In 86 games this season, the Cubs shortstop is batting just .247/.283/.321. His .283 OPS would be the worst single-season mark of his career, as would be his .321 slugging percentage.

According to Fangraphs, Castro has a WAR of -0.4 this year and has been a near non-factor in the team’s offense outside of his pair of walk-off hits on back-to-back nights last month.

The days where Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer could flip Castro for one of the New York Mets’ promising young arms are probably gone – at least for the time being. His bat was arguably his most valuable asset and, given his struggles this season, teams are likely to have some second thoughts about his ability.

Perhaps the most alluring aspect of the infielder moving forward is his team-friendly contract. Castro is locked up through the 2019 season – and does not make more than $11 million in any one year.

That’s not a steep asking price for a guy who will notch his 1,000th career base hit this year and already has a 200-hit season and three All-Star selections under his belt– all before his 26th birthday.

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Castro has struggled badly at Wrigley Field this year, barely keeping his OPS above .500 in home games. His overall .207/.257/.249 line at the Friendly Confines leaves plenty to be desired for a guy who was supposed to be a franchise cornerstone for the Chicago Cubs moving forward.

After jumping out of the gates in March and April with a .325 average, Castro has batted .211 from May through mid-July. He hasn’t hit more than two home runs in a single month this year and has struck out 58 times, drawing just 15 walks in the process.

That being said, I wouldn’t write him off just yet.

It’s definitely not that Starlin Castro has no inherent value left moving forward. He’s still attractive given his past and his team-friendly deal and if he is packaged with the right pieces, he could still help Chicago pull a very strong return in a trade.

If he’s not dealt this summer or during the offseason, the impending logjam in the middle infield becomes a bit of a concern, but as Epstein and Hoyer have shown time and time again, they don’t make trades just to make trades.

The duo will look for the right deal; and if it does not present itself, Castro will stay on the North Side of Chicago.

The moral of the story is simple: no matter what his future is – whether it be with the Chicago Cubs or elsewhere – Starlin Castro needs to get things figured out sooner rather than later.

Next: Cubs' Kris Bryant shouldn't have been an All-Star?