Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro gets 7-year deal
Starlin Castro was barely out of his teens when he made his big
league debut. Now it looks as though he’ll still be donning Cubbie
blue when he hits his 30s.
The Chicago Cubs and their young shortstop agreed to a
seven-year contract with a club option for 2020, the team said
Tuesday. The deal could keep Castro in Chicago until after his 30th
”Only the most talented players get to the big leagues at 20,”
said Cubs general manger Jed Hoyer. ”I’m sitting here with a
22-year-old veteran right now. That was a big part of our
”The way it was looking, Starlin was going to be a free agent
way too early. He’s a big part of our future. We have four years of
control with him after this year. By doing this deal, we now have
Castro is a two-time All-Star in just his second full major
league season, and he led the National League in hits with 207 last
season. Since making his major league debut on May 7, 2010, Castro
has more hits than any player in the NL with 486.
”I want to be here for a long time and winning,” Castro said.
”My family (will) change, but nothing (will) change for myself.
(The money is) not going to stop me from working hard every day on
Castro was originally signed by the Cubs as a non-drafted free
agent on Oct. 25, 2006. Terms of the new deal were not released by
the team, but published reports have placed the guaranteed money at
$60 million over the duration of the extension, a figure Castro was
asked about in Tuesday’s press conference.
”It’s big, especially for my family, coming from very poor
people,” Castro said. ”Now my family is going to be better, their
Castro motioned toward his father, who was standing nearby, and
said, ”My dad wanted me to play baseball every time. He got me
While Castro’s raw talent has always been evident, things have
not always gone smoothly for a player who skirted with trouble off
the field and suffered well-publicized mental lapses on it. He was
accused of sexual assault following the 2011 season, though Cook
County prosecutors declined to press charges, citing insufficient
Castro’s on-field focus has also been questioned, most notably
during a nationally-televised game last season when cameras
captured him with his back to the plate as a pitch was being
Despite the occasional bouts with immaturity, the Cubs feel
Castro is going to be a foundation player for a club just beginning
its rebuilding process under a new front office regime headed by
vice president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and Hoyer.
”It’s been fun getting to know Starlin as a person, but also
watching him play every day,” Hoyer said. ”Shortstop is a really
hard position to fill in today’s game, especially with someone who
can provide it with offense.
”There is no question in my mind that he can play shortstop in
the big leagues on a championship team.”
Castro whet the appetite of Cubs fans from the start, homering
in his first career at-bat and setting a big league record with six
RBIs in his debut. He was taken in by Cubs veteran Alfonso Soriano,
a fellow Dominican who helped mentor Castro at the beginning of his
”He’s very important,” Castro said of Soriano. ”When I first
got here, he took me to live in his house. He talked to me about
baseball and how important baseball is for you and your
Castro, a career .296 hitter, was batting .276 this season with
12 homers and 63 RBIs before Tuesday night’s game against
Milwaukee. He’s struggled recently and admitted he might have been
slightly distracted by the negotiations between the Cubs and his
agent, Paul Kinzer.
”It’ll be interesting to see if there is any change now that
this thing is behind him and he’ll be here for a long time,” said
Cubs manager Dale Sveum. ”When you get that first contract, you
can relax and realize that there really is only one thing to play
for and that’s winning the World Series.”