The Cubs today make it aware that they are willing to trade anyone on the big league roster besides Jeff Samardzija. That means that 22-year old star shortstop Starlin Castro is on the block. Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY reports that Castro can be had for two impact prospects. Would it make sense for the Red Sox?
I say go for it and here’s why. Orlando Cabrera, Edgar Renteria, Alex Gonzalez, Julio Lugo, Jed Lowrie, Marco Scutaro, and Mike Aviles. These are the starting shortstops since the Red Sox traded Nomar Garciaparra on July 31, 2004. Let’s not forget Pokey Reese, Nick Green, and Alex Cora who each manned the position in more of a backup role. Castro would solidify the shortstop position, the first time in a long time, for years to come.
Theo and Hoyer know the Red Sox farm system in and out. I say let them pick any two, as long as one of them is a shortstop.
Theoretically, could the Red Sox get Castro for Jose Iglesias and Matt Barnes? Baseball America ranked Barnes as the 8th best prospect in the Red Sox organization in January. Right now Barnes is pitching great in Salem, but still seems to be a ways from the majors. On the same team is Xander Bogaerts, a shortstop who is ranked number 4 in the system. Ranked 2nd is pitcher Anthony Ranaudo who’s not doing great in AA. These are all relative to Will Middlebrooks being #1, who I consider off the table and on the big league roster for good. So if Theo choses any two of those guys besides Middlebrooks, would that get it done? Would the Red Sox be better off? Since all of them besides Iglesias are far away from the bigs, I’d even throw in a third (good but not top 10) prospect. I think that Iglesias is the type of player who will be better hitting 8th in the National League.
First of all, Castro would instantly be the starting shortstop and thrown into the top of the lineup. Aviles can move to 2nd until Pedroia comes back and can then be a utility player or traded away. If Youkilis is still on the team, the lineup could be Castro, Pedroia, Adrian Gonzales (rf), Ortiz, Youkilis, Middlebrooks, Saltalamacchia, Ross, and Sweeney. Nava can be moved around in there and eventually we expect to get Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford back. This would make a great offense and make the need for Youkilis even less, and maybe he could be moved for a pitcher.
Castro is under the team control until 2016. The Sox would have Middlebrooks, Castro, Pedrioa, Gonzalez, and Crawford tied up for a while and I imagine they could get Ellsbury and Saltalamacchia signed too. This means the team needs only a right fielder (and I guess a DH) in the future. The rest of their efforts can go towards the pitching staff.
Castro has a career average of .306, an OBP of .341. He doesn’t get a lot of home runs, 10 last season, but he makes a lot of contact and can steal some bases. His WAR last year was 3 and he was an All-Star. His defense isn’t great, but I can live with that. He’s still only 22 so he has room to grow.
Not only do I think this would improve the team, I also think the fans would love this move. A young shortstop who’s fun to watch. My only concern is finding room for him, Ellsbury, and Crawford in the lineup at the same time. That’s a lot of players with a similar style. Two of them will probably have to hit in the lower third of the lineup once they are all healthy. That’s something I’m fine with, but it depends on their personalities as to if it would work. It’s a risk I’d be willing to take.