Ever since the intriguing July 4th trade in which the Cubs predictably traded short term proven value for long term potential value, there has been speculation about who/what/how/when the Cubs would get their paws (pun intended) on good pitching.
Although it wasn't 100%, the majority of Cubs fans, bloggers, and ESPN analysts have hinted or flat out stated that the Cubs should use Starlin Castro for trade value, specifically with teams like the Mets.
The theory is: Trade Starlin Castro for a Mets big arm like Noah Syndergaard and maybe another arm, then call up Addison Russell...and boom championship. (Well maybe I exaggerated the last part) but it sounds great...in theory.
These people are forgetting a great piece of wisdom: One in the hand is worth two in the bush.
These people are stuck in 2013, a season where EVERYONE Sveumed...I mean struggled. Starlin has broken through that barrier and made the necassary adjustments. He looks more confident at the plate, comfortable in the field, and it looks like he is just having more fun. But enough of me softly rambling on about things that can't be measured. Let's look at his numbers this year:
Starlin Castro has posted a 109 wRC+ with a .333 wOBA. He's had a tad bit of luck (or he's hitting the ball a lot harder) with a .329 BABIP. He's even shown a lot more power, pinning up a solid .142 ISO. His whole season has been capped off by this month of August where Starlin has dominated every team he faces.
In August Starlin has a wRC+ of 156, a .400 wOBA, a .413 OBP, and a 14 game hitting streak that ended yesterday but was followed today by a go ahead HR in the 9th. I can metaphorically see him rounding second base in his homerun of a career (where the homerun is his peak). And yes his awkward ice skating sort of run.
Also, Starlin's plate discipline and selective aggressiveness has greatly improved, I can't explain it as well as MRubio52 did at the Cubs Den: http://www.chicagonow.com/cubs-den/2014/08/castro-rizzo-adjustment/ but trust me, it's gotten better.
Still though, it's Noah Syndergaard and Addison Russell.
Don't you think there's a reason that Theo Epstein hasn't drafted a pitcher with the Cubs first pick? It's because young arms are unpredictable in performance and exclusively durability. I was going to give you a list of young top prospects who needed Tommy Johns this year, but the Google search shocked me with the variety of names, you as the reader should experience it yourself. Just google: Top Prospect Tommy Johns Surgery. It's scary. Syndergaard already been on the DL this year with an elbow strain.
I don't want to rip the kid though, he's been fantastic. Posting a 3.88 FIP, while getting 8.25 K/9.
How about Addison Russell? He's been dominating Daytona.
Cubs (AA) 2010
Look at those numbers...this guy doesn't belong in this league...Oh wait, he's not. Those numbers are Starlin Castro's before his call up to the bigs.
Here are Addison Russell's:
Cubs (AA) 2014
The point is this: Addison Russell isn't going to step onto the major league field and be Starlin Castro, or even better than Starlin Castro. Addison Russell hasn't even put up better numbers than Starlin did at AA.
My case is already closed but I want to add one little thing for your brain to chew on. Why did the Cubs sign Manny Ramirez to a minor league deal?
Starlin Castro has been an all star, and has also been benched for lack of concentration. He was the next big thing, to the next big "What Happened?". If there isn't any value in having a guy who can talk to the mob of minor league talent coming up to a brand new world then why do we give players a C on their chest?
Starlin Castro has so much value moving foreward as the Cubs SS or 3B or wherever he ends up.
Oh and he's signed to a team friendly contract through 2019.
One in the hand is worth two in the bush.