I’m not saying that Starlin Castro is the second baseman of the future for the Yankees, but he is for 2017.
There’s nothing like upsetting the apple cart so close to Spring Training. But that’s exactly what it looks like if you read the headline currently surrounding the Yankees.
Only a few weeks ago, Starlin Castro was part of the Baby Bombers contingent that traveled New York City, interacting with fans, doing their best to put a face to the future of the franchise… one would think.
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Then yesterday, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reported that the club had included Castro with the likes of Brett Gardner and Chase Headley as part of the “veterans” they were looking to unload this offseason.
“The Yankees have been unable to deal Brett Gardner, Chase Headley or Starlin Castro, who they let some clubs know was available. To date, that has kept them from pushing for a pricey reliever.”
So did the organization decide once there were no bites on Castro that he’d be worth keeping for the long haul? Talk about mixed signals. And this after it was first reported the Yankees were interested in acquiring Joe Panik in an Andrew Miller to the Giants trade last summer.
The issue with trading Castro now is that the Yankees don’t have a viable replacement ready to take over second base at the Major League level. And don’t give me Ronald Torreyes, Donovan Solano, or Ruben Tejada either. How effective do you really think any one of these three will be with the bat playing every day? I’d venture to say about a .220 batting average and a .300 OBP. Castro is way more valuable than that even when he’s going through one of his patented month-long slumps.
There’s bound to be a few Rob Refsnyder fans reading this piece, but there’s a reason the Yankees traded for Castro in the first place. As an infielder, Refsnyder is a major defensive liability. Not that Castro is a Gold Glove winner but he’s adequate — especially since he has the ability to hit 20-plus home runs per season.
Refnsyder, who was known for his bat during his days in the minors, has yet to prove he can hit big league pitching. And as I’ve stated before, I don’t care that a guy doesn’t get regular plate appearances to prove himself. This is the majors. You have to make the most out of what you’re given — otherwise, why would Joe Girardi continue to trot him out there?
Should you feel that the Yankees could just call up Gleyber Torres, Jorge Mateo, or Tyler Wade then you’re sadly mistaken. Torres played one game at second base last season for Single-A Tampa and a handful in this winter’s Arizona Fall League — Mateo played 40 games at second base for Tampa, and Wade notched 38 games at second for Double-A Trenton in 2016.
In no way are any of these guys, who don’t exceed 22-years-old, and haven’t played a full season above Double-A, let alone as a full-time second baseman, ready to take over such an intricate middle infield position at the Major League level.
That is unless of course the Yankees have no desire to finish above fourth place in ’17 and aren’t concerned with potentially stunting the growth of a prospect. I for one, don’t think that’s the case, hence the team’s decision to include Castro in the recent Town Hall Meeting.
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The jury is still out as to whether or not the 26-year-old Castro will one day move to third base, or be sent packing altogether — but one thing is for sure — if he is dealt before the Yankees have a viable alternative, the effects will be felt in the standings. And there isn’t much room to fall from a fourth place finish.