12:02 pm: “You can never have too many shortstops,” Cubs GM Jed Hoyer told MLB Network Radio on Monday. “It’s a good problem to have.”
Hoyer listed just the Cardinals and Mets when describing teams in baseball who have a strong, young group of pitching prospects.
10:15 am: Cubs SS Starlin Castro is a perfect match for the Mets, an anonymous member of the Mets told columnist John Harper (Daily News, July 7).
However, neither side is inclined to explore such a deal until after the season, according to Harper’s sources.
This past weekend, the Cubs traded pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the A’s for package that included highly-touted SS Addison Russell, leading several media outlets to speculate that Castro could be had in a trade.
Castro, 24, is in the second year of a seven-year, $60-million contract, which includes a $16 million team option in 2020.
He is batting .287 with a .332 OBP, 11 HR, 51 RBI and 26 doubles through 367 plate appearances this season.
Matthew Cerrone, Lead Writer
The source is right, he is a perfect fit. This is exactly the kind of deal Sandy Alderson is going to have to make. The problem, however, is that it will likely cost Zack Wheeler. Friends in Chicago told me last summer the Cubs asked Alderson for Wheeler when putting feelers out about Castro, who was only hitting .245 with six home runs at the time. Wheeler had made only a handful of big-league starts at the time.
Today, Wheeler has a 3.75 ERA after 35 career starts, and Castro is one of the better hitting shortstops in the National League. It’s a fair trade. But, I have no idea if Alderson is ready to pull this sort of trigger, especially considering question marks hanging over Matt Harvey and Noah Syndergaard.
The Cubs will not trade Castro until this offseason, though. The only time a big hitter gets moved in season is if he’s a rental player, which Castro most certainly is not. Instead, the Cubs will wait for November to gauge interest and draw in as many teams as possible. Plus, this gives them to time to directly assess the younger Russell, whom they acquired from Oakland.
That said, hearing what I hear, knowing how these teams poked around on the idea a year ago and seeing what Harper’s sources are saying, it’s clear the Mets and Cubs will discuss this again in three to four months…