Former Chicago Cubs infielder Starlin Castro has hit 10 years of service time.
He made his big league debut against the Cincinnati Reds on May 7, 2010 – and he immediately left an impression on Cubs fans, belting his first career home run and driving in six. He really never let up, finishing fifth in National League Rookie of the Year voting, thanks to a .300/.347/.408 line.
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Castro followed it up as a 21-year-old budding star by earning his first All-Star selection. That year, he became the first Cub to eclipse 200 hits in a single season since Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg accomplished the feat in 1984. At this point, there was little doubt: Castro was a franchise cornerstone for the rebuilding North Siders.
Something that always stood out in regards to Castro was his reliability. From 2011 to 2015, he appeared in fewer than 151 games only one time: and in that season, the Chicago shortstop earned an All-Star selection, so it’s not like it was a lost cause by any measure.
The Dominican Republic native spent just six seasons with the team, amassing 991 hits by the time he was just 25 years old. As the Cubs began to emerge from their rebuild in 2015, Castro began to face criticism for what some perceived as a lackadaisical nature, especially on defense. Still, he was there when the team advanced all the way to the NLCS – knocking out the division rival Cardinals and Pirates along the way.
That December, the Theo Epstein-led front office traded Castro to the New York Yankees for right-hander Adam Warren and a player-to-be-named-later. With Javier Baez and Addison Russell in line to handle the middle infield for years to come, the time had come.
He spent two years in the Bronx, adding the fourth and (so far) final All-Star selection of his career to his resume. In 2016, he belted a career-high 21 home runs, while watching his former club win it all from afar. The next year, he batted .300 for the third time in his career, turning in a career-high .792 OPS.
Then, almost two years to the day from his trade to the Yankees, New York turned around and sent him to Miami in the Giancarlo Stanton blockbuster. Again, he spent two years with the Marlins, racking up a respectable 337 base hits before hitting free agency and signing a deal with the Washington Nationals.
This season was fairly pedestrian for the former top prospect. He appeared in just 16 games, but looks likely to return to Washington in 2021 to finish out his two-year deal. We heard hypotheticals out there mentioning Castro as a potential piece in a Kris Bryant trade, but with the Cubs’ insistence on unloading the former’s payroll, it seems unlikely they’d want to take on the $7 million owed Castro.
He might not have become what we once envisioned, but Starlin Castro deserves a round of applause. Hitting 10 years of service time in the big leagues is nothing to turn your nose up at – and at just 30 years old, he’s still got an outside chance at making a run at 3,000 hits. It’s not particularly likely, but you can’t quite definitively rule it out, either.