It is just me, or does everybody get the feeling that Starlin Castro needs to leave?
I could be reading too much into this, but there’s more reading than actual baseball improvement with the guy.
There’s more money than actual baseball worth, too, while we’re at it.
And now he’s hurt. Again.
Castro suffered a hamstring injury trying to steal second base against the Royals on Sunday. The attempt didn’t work, the slide didn’t work, and now Castro can’t work for the next couple days.
To think, Castro said he devoted the offseason to conditioning after a season that began with another hamstring issue in the spring and devolved into lousy baseball and continued short attention span issues.
Castro slumped to .245 and 163 hits last year after hitting .307 and finishing with 207 hits just two seasons previously. In 2011, Castro posted a career-best 111 OPS-plus. In 2013, he plummeted to 72.
Oh, and he got a manager fired.
So, yeah, I’m thinking the guy needs to leave.
I know the Cubs signed him to a long-term deal last year, but here’s the thing: That’s a portable contract, not only because Castro doesn’t have a no-trade clause, but also because of the price the next four years that averages less than $7 million per.
You know who else seems to think Castro could use a trade?
The manager who lost his job because of Castro, that’s who.
That’s how I interpret some of the things Dale Sveum had to say Sunday.
Remember, Sveum, now the Royals third-base coach, suggested early last season that demoting Castro and Anthony Rizzo was a possibility. The players didn’t like that, and apparently and eventually, neither did Theo Epstein or Jed Hoyer.
When Castro and Rizzo completed their lousy seasons, Sveum was fired for his tough-love ways. Epstein said the Cubs wanted a new manager who loves his players before he applies tough love.
What Epstein did last winter was enable Castro and Rizzo.
What Sveum did Sunday was pretty much blame Epstein and his new “Cubs way’’ for Castro’s lousy year.
If you connect the dots, Sveum is telling you he got fired because he was carrying out management’s wishes with a player who probably won’t execute the “Cubs way.’’
“Who knows the reasons why (Castro struggled),’’ Sveum said. “He was asked to take a lot of pitches and do those kinds of things. Some people aren’t (comfortable). What if you asked (free-swinging former All-Star) Vladimir Guerrero to walk and take pitches?
“So, if he’s just Starlin Castro, and that’s all, is he going to get 200 hits all the time? Who knows? But I think he’s a .280 to .310 hitter on a consistent basis. He’s got that kind of hand-eye coordination and mechanics at the plate to do it.’’
Except, Sveum seems to be saying, when the Cubs make him think about becoming something he isn’t. The Cubs now think being nicer to the kid, coddling him, will vault Castro into becoming that kind of player.
Have the Cubs seen Castro play? Have they seen his attention span? What makes them believe he can think his way through a major league career based on taking pitches and working counts?
He’s not that kind of player. He doesn’t appear to have the desire or tools to become that kind of player. He looks like a future ex-Cub.