New York Yankees

Ex-Cub Starlin Castro reportedly the lone big leaguer leaving Yankees in Stanton swap, but could he quickly return to New York?

1209_starlin_castro.jpg
USA TODAY

Ex-Cub Starlin Castro reportedly the lone big leaguer leaving Yankees in Stanton swap, but could he quickly return to New York?

It's hard to imagine a bigger baseball headline than the reported trade that will send Giancarlo Stanton from the Miami Marlins to the New York Yankees.

And with it comes some interesting info involving the only other major league player in that deal: former Cubs infielder Starlin Castro.

Castro was briefly the face of the Cubs, a highly touted prospect who made his big league debut with a six-RBI game against the Cincinnati Reds in May 2010. He played six seasons on the North Side, making three All-Star appearances and pairing with Anthony Rizzo to form what looked like the 1-2 punch of the future.

He was around for Joe Maddon's first season and the team's trip to the National League Championship Series, but with the arrival of so many other talented young players — such as shortstop Addison Russell, who forced Castro to slide over to second base — Castro became expendable and was moved after the 2015 campaign to make room for Ben Zobrist, who signed a four-year contract and wound up the MVP of the 2016 World Series.

Well, Castro — who hit .300 with a .338 on-base percentage for the Yankees last season and hit a combined 37 home runs in two seasons in the Bronx — is reportedly the only big leaguer leaving New York for Miami in this trade, the other players being prospects in what is essentially a salary dump (and a big one) for the Marlins.

But, if you extrapolate from a Saturday report, Castro's time in South Florida might be brief and he could wind up back in the Big Apple. How? Step right up and meet the Mets.

According to that report, the New York Mets are interested in Castro's services to fill their need at second base. And given that Derek Jeter's new regime running the Marlins seems to be prioritizing cutting spending at the moment, there's no reason to think they wouldn't turn around and trade Castro not long after acquiring him.

That'd make for a crazy offseason for the former Cub, whose career has already had more twists and turns than most.

So stay tuned. "Starlin the Marlin" might not be a thing for very long.

Giancarlo Stanton reportedly heading to Yankees: What's it mean for the Cubs and the Bryce Harper sweepstakes in 2019?

1209_giancarlo_stanton.jpg
USA TODAY

Giancarlo Stanton reportedly heading to Yankees: What's it mean for the Cubs and the Bryce Harper sweepstakes in 2019?

Giancarlo Stanton is reportedly heading to the Big Apple.

According to multiple Saturday morning reports, the New York Yankees and Miami Marlins have agreed on a deal and Stanton is expected to approve it, sending the National League MVP to the Bronx.

The implications are many for baseball, with Stanton — who belted 59 home runs last season, the most since Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa hit 73 and 64 dingers, respectively, in 2001 — teaming with American League Rookie of the Year Aaron Judge — who smacked a rookie record 52 homers in 2017 — to create the most formidable middle of the order in the game. After coming close to reaching the World Series in 2017, losing to the eventual-champion Houston Astros in the AL Championship Series, the Yankees could be the presumed favorite heading into 2018.

But what's all this mean for the Cubs? The most obvious effect is that Stanton is out of the NL, making things easier for the North Siders, though the Marlins weren't much competition to begin with, finishing eight games below .500 last season. And Stanton rejected a trade to the Cubs' division rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals, on Friday, meaning they dodged a bullet not having Stanton slugging in the NL Central.

But the Cubs were one of four teams on Stanton's reported short list of clubs he'd approve a trade to. This could be viewed as the Cubs missing out on the offseason's two biggest targets in as many days, with Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani picking the Los Angeles Angels over the Cubs and five other finalists Friday. But just because Stanton said he'd like to play on the North Side doesn't mean the Cubs were ever actually showing any interest or talking with the Marlins about a deal.

Instead, the biggest effect of this trade from a Cubs standpoint figures to come a year from now, when Bryce Harper becomes one of the biggest and most sought-after free agents in baseball history. The Washington Nationals star has been on Cubs fans' wish list for a few years now as his impending free agency draws closer. There has been plenty of speculation that the Yankees would be a leading candidate for Harper's services, with their historically deep pockets and rapid rebuild that has them near the top of the baseball heap once again. But does the Stanton trade knock them out of the running? Stanton's contract is gargantuan, a massive 13-year deal when he signed it that still has as many as 10 years and $259 million remaining (he can opt out after the 2020 season). Plus, Stanton and Judge are both corner outfielders, the same position that Harper plays. With those corner outfield spots and a whole ton of money spoken for between Stanton and Judge, the Yankees might no longer make sense as a destination for Harper, arguably baseball's biggest star.

The Cubs, meanwhile, now don't have to promise long-term corner-outfield spots to either Stanton or Ohtani. The money will of course be tricky, with the team's young stars like Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Javy Baez, Kyle Schwarber, Kyle Hendricks and Willson Contreras all due big-time raises in the next few seasons. But the Cubs could move to the forefront of the Harper conversation — even if they already were in Chicago, where Harper's every move has seemingly been construed as a sign he wants to join fellow Las Vegas native Bryant in Cubbie Blue.

As for the present, the Cubs still have Schwarber and Jason Heyward patrolling the corner-outfield spots at Wrigley Field, with a host of interchangeable parts for Joe Maddon to play with. And the middle of the order, dominated by Bryant, Anthony Rizzo and Contreras, is still a mighty strong one.

But there's a new souvenir company to compete with in New York.

Yankees reportedly close to acquiring Giancarlo Stanton

sportsnet_central_update_slide_august_2015_new.jpg
USA TODAY

Yankees reportedly close to acquiring Giancarlo Stanton

Although Giancarlo Stanton added the Cubs to his list of teams that he would waive his no-trade clause for late Thursday, it doesn't look like the reigning N.L. MVP will be bringing his talents to the Friendly Confines. 

According to the San Francisco Chronicle's Henry Schulman, Stanton is instead close to joining the New York Yankees. 

Nothing is finalized yet, but the potential trade would pair Stanton, who slugged 59 home runs and 132 RBIs in 2017, with Aaron Judge, who slammed 56 dingers of his own. Talk about the Bronx Bombers.

A Marlins-Cubs swap featuring Stanton was never likely given the massive contract of the 28-year-old outfielder. Stanton has 10 years and $295 million remaining on his current deal, a tremendous undertaking for any team even if Miami does end up eating some of the money owed. 

No word on if the Marlins' return package includes former Cubs prospect Gleyber Torres, but even if it does, that Yankees lineup will be something opposing pitchers have nightmares about before outings.