The Cubs wanted Starlin Castro to be a model citizen, improve his fielding, add a little power and use his speed more often this year. Castro did all of those things to some degree and ultimately was rewarded with a seven-year, $60 million deal, with a $16 million option for 2020. For someone so young who's neither a power hitter or a pitcher, the Cubs' commitment was impressive. They didn't have to rush to judgment on Castro's net worth, knowing he wouldn't have become a free agent 2016 and still has some learning to do. But by making Castro a mega-millionaire at 22, the Cubs are banking on Castro becoming a great player who fans will pay to watch, not just a decent singles hitter with a strong arm and an attention span in need of attention. Castro played in all 162 games this year, starting all but one. He finished seventh in the National League in hits (183) and second in triples (12). Eventually settling down in the order to the No. 5 spot, after stints at Nos. 2 and 3, Castro's home run total went up from 10 to 14, his RBIs zoomed from 66 to 78 and his stolen bases improved from 22 to 25. Meanwhile, his average dropped from .307 to .283, the first time in Castro's three seasons he finished below .300. He had to finish strong to make it above .280, batting .306 (64-for-209) over the final 52 games after Aug. 8, basically coinciding with the news he was receiving a long-term extension. No one seems too concerned about Castro's hitting. He should get back to the .300 range if he stays in one spot in the lineup. It's the fielding and concentration lapses that are worrisome.
Cubs position analysis: Castro making strides
Chicago Tribune | Oct 11