Chicago Cubs: Starlin Castro continues to handle himself well despite adversity

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Aug 12, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Philadelphia Phillies infielder

Chase Utley

against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Castro hasn’t allowed trade rumors to distract him from his goal of eventually becoming an everyday player again for the Chicago Cubs. In fact, his approach to trade rumors has changed for the better within the last couple of weeks.

Earlier this month, rumors linked Philadelphia Phillies veteran second basemen Chase Utley to the Chicago Cubs. The addition of Utley would undoubtedly reduce Castro’s already limited role on this team. Despite the prospect of yet another demotion, Castro said he isn’t worrying about something that he can’t control

"Don’t even think about that. I don’t even watch the news, I can’t put something (trade rumors) in my mind that I can’t control. I try not to let those kinds of things (trade rumors) bother me. I just come in every day and work had and try to do my best, and whatever they have to do with me, they’ll do it. I can’t control that. –Quote obtained by Chicago Sun-Times reporter Gordon Wittenmyer"

Castro’s response to the Chase Utley rumors came in stark contrast to the way he handled trade rumors before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. In the days leading up to the deadline, Castro said that the trade rumors were bothering him.

"It’s difficult sometimes. I’m not supposed to be thinking about this. Sometimes when we’re not doing good rumors sometimes are on my mind. It’s not supposed to. – Castro via ESPN Chicago’s Jesse Rogers"

In fact, Castro was so distraught about these trade rumors that he had a meeting with Joe Maddon to calm his nerves.

"I [Joe Maddon] said, ‘You’re not getting traded. Just relax and play. And don’t worry about this stuff. —Quote obtained by ESPN Chicago reporter Jesse Rogers"

Unsurprisingly, Castro’s performance suffered in the games leading up to the July 31 deadline because he was more focused on the trade rumors than performing well during games. According to baseball reference, in the seven games leading up to the non-waiver trade deadline, Castro slashed .200/.231/.240 with three RBI and four strikeouts at the plate.

Aug 11, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Cubs second basemen Starlin Castro (13) dives and attempts a play during the seventh inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

In Castro’s case, a difficult situation forced him to mature quickly. His approach to his demotion as well as the way he has handled the most recent trade rumors points to a more mature player. Another prevailing theme over the last few weeks was his willingness to defer to the team.

In his response to the Chase Utley rumors, Castro mentioned that he doesn’t have control over the situation and that he has to “come in every day and work hard and try to do my best.”

This is the mentality that a contending team wants from one of its struggling players. Castro continues to deflect attention away from himself, preventing this team from dealing with any unneeded distractions. He has made the best of a bad situation.

Also, Utley was reunited with his longtime teammate, Jimmy Rollins when he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers yesterday afternoon.

Next: Castro has played well in reduced role