My first thought when I saw this tweets was the Cubs would be very smart to deal Castro with Javier Baez laying waste to AA pitchers in 2013. In 2013, Baez played at two levels, finishing in AA, and hit a combined .282-.341-.578 with 37 HRs, 98 runs, 111 RBI and 20 stolen bases in 24 attempts. In 218 at bats in AA, Baez hit .294-.346-.638 with 20 HRs, 39 runs, 54 RBI and 8 stolen bases in 10 attempts.
Casto is coming off a disappointing 2013 season, where he hit just .245-.284-.347 with 10 HRs, 59 runs, 44 RBI and 9 stolen bases, by far his worst season as a big leaguer. I don't know what happened to Castro, but maybe it had something to do with fired manager Dale Sveum. I have no idea.
A quick look at his FanGraphs page shows he hit more ground balls and less fly balls in 2013. He also swung at less pitches out of the strike zone, a good indicator that the Cubs were trying to change his approach at the plate. His contact and swinging strike rates didn't change much, and he saw fewer first pitch strikes, so his down season could be due to just bad luck, as his .290 BABIP was the lowest of his career.
So, which teams will be interested in trading for Castro, who the Cubs control for the next three seasons? Loxas mentions four National League teams in his tweet above: Cardinals, Pirates, Marlins and Mets.
Loxas wrote this piece on Thursday that the Cardinals have already inquired about Castro's availability, and the two teams seem to be a perfect match. The Cubs have a shortstop that could be big league ready by mid-season, or 2015 at the latest, and the Cardinals have what the Cubs need, and want, and that is young starting pitching prospects.
The Pirates are also a good match for the Cubs, as they have some solid prospects of their own, including Jameson Taillon, Gregory Polanco and Alen Hanson. A package headed by Taillon or Polanco would make sense for both ball clubs, but I have a feeling the Pirates prefer to fill their open right field or first base holes before dealing for Castro.
The Mets and Marlins are pretty much in the same rebuild mode that the Cubs are in, so I don't see them as good matches right now. The Mets are trying to deal Daniel Murphy and Lucas Duda at the moment, and the Marlins may have bigger trade offers to consider if they make Giancarlo Stanton available this offseason.
Should the Cardinals deal one of Shelby Miller or Carlos Martinez in a package for Starlin Castro? Let's hear your thoughts in the comments below, and be sure to vote in the poll as well.
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