Cubs

Castros lawyers deny assault allegations

571502.jpg

Castros lawyers deny assault allegations

The Cubs woke up Friday morning to an explosive story that could be damaging to their young star.

WBBM reported that Starlin Castro has been accused of sexual assault and is under investigation by Chicago police. The news radio station cited anonymous sources in describing an incident with a woman more than three months ago in River North.

No charges have been filed. Castro has retained two prominent attorneys Jay K. Reisinger and Michael P. Gillespie who released the following statement:

We are aware of certain allegations that have been made against our client. (We) have thoroughly investigated this matter, and we are confident that these allegations are baseless. Given the sensitive nature of this matter, we cannot comment any further.

Reisinger has advised Alex Rodriguez, Andy Pettitte and Sammy Sosa through congressional hearings and investigations into performance-enhancing drugs. Gillespie has a criminal-defense practice rooted in Chicago.

The WBBM story indicated that Castro and a young woman were out drinking on Sept. 29, the day after the Cubs ended their season in San Diego. They left the bar around 3 a.m. and went to Castros downtown apartment, where the police report obtained by WBBM says the alleged victim blacked out and woke up during the attack.

The timeline constructed by the radio station has her leaving around 5:30 a.m. and going to a hospital about 12 hours later, at which point the police were notified.

Castro lives in the Dominican Republic during the offseason. The 21-year-old All-Star shortstop returned to Chicago in the middle of November for a meeting with his agent, Paul Kinzer, and president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and new manager Dale Sveum.

Even if there were whispers about an investigation, it was difficult to see it coming out quite like this.

A press release sent out by the team on Thursday highlighted how Castro would be attending next weeks Cubs Convention. Even Friday morning the teams official website still used his image to promote ticket plans and travel packages to Arizona for spring training.

During Fridays conference call to announce the Anthony Rizzo-Andrew Cashner trade with the San Diego Padres, general manager Jed Hoyer confirmed that Castro is expected to be in town for the convention.

Im not going to answer questions directly about it, Hoyer said. Theres the time and place. The police (are) still very much in the fact-finding mode on this whole thing. To comment on any part of this matter involving Starlin would be really inappropriate because the investigation is incomplete.

Castro was the type of player the Cubs would like to build their entire team around. Hes the face of the franchise in the Dominican, where the organization plans to construct a new facility. The marketing department put him on billboards opposite Derek Jeter to hype a marquee series against the New York Yankees last season.

We are aware that a police report was filed regarding an incident involving Starlin, but we have received limited information, the team said in a statement. While this is something we take very seriously, there is not enough information to make any further comment or take action at this time. We are hopeful when the facts are brought to light, Starlin will be cleared of any wrongdoing.

In the age of Twitter and Facebook, Castro made it through his first two seasons in Chicago without any embarrassing photos showing up on the Internet. Several teammates and staffers have expressed admiration for how he has handled the spotlight, and wondered how they would have responded at that age.

Castros family lived with him for most of the season his parents had returned to the Dominican by the middle of September and his younger brothers made regular appearances at Wrigley Field.

Hoyer declined to say how this will impact Castros standing in the organization, or if the young shortstop will be available for spring training.

We expect our players to behave with the highest level of respect on the field, off the field and in the community, Hoyer said. Being a member of the Cubs carries with it a very high standard of conduct and responsibility.

While we cannot address this particular matter at this time, we do want to emphasize our organizations commitment to being respectful members in the community (and) positive examples to our great fans.

Cubs lead Bears, Bulls on Forbes' Most Valuable Sports Teams 2019 list

Cubs lead Bears, Bulls on Forbes' Most Valuable Sports Teams 2019 list

The Chicago Cubs tied the Washington Redskins for 14th on Forbes' Most Valuable Sports Teams 2019 list with a $3.1 billion valuation. The Cubs' valuation grew by 7% year over year.

The Cubs are the fourth-most valuable franchise in MLB behind the Yankees ($4.1B), the Dodgers ($3.3B) and the Red Sox ($3.2B). Only seven MLB teams made the Top 50.

Two other Chicago teams, the Bears and the Bulls, are tied for 19th on the list with a value of $2.9 billion. The Bears' value grew just 2% while the Bulls' valuation grew by 12% year over year.

The rise of the pro sports teams valued over $2 billion has been pretty meteoric over the past decade. In 2012, only Manchester United was valued over $2 billion and in 2019 that number has risen to 52.

In 2012, only the Knicks and Lakers made the Top 50 list but in 2019 the Bulls are one of nine teams to earn a spot. The Bulls were the fourth-most valuable NBA franchise in 2019 behind the Knicks ($4B), Lakers ($3.7B) and Warriors ($3.5B).

Forbes credits the NBA's international prospects and worldwide revenue growth for the league's rise in the list.

No NHL teams made the list, the New York Rangers were the most-valued hockey team at $1.55 billion, 72nd highest.

Road struggles continue for Cubs in late-game implosion against Giants

Road struggles continue for Cubs in late-game implosion against Giants

It’s no secret that the Cubs have had their fair share of struggles on the road this season. Entering Monday’s game the Giants – the first of a nine-game road trip -- the Cubs held an 18-27 road record, 21st in all of baseball.

Things took a turn for the worse in that department on Monday night.

Clinging to a 4-2 lead in the eighth inning, the Cubs called upon reliever Pedro Strop to shut down the Giants 3-4-5 hitters. Strop, who entered action with a 4.62 ERA in 29 appearances (5.40 in July), surrendered three runs on four hits – including three doubles. The end result was the Giants taking a 5-4 lead, ultimately the game’s final score.

While Strop’s outing will get the most face time due to it occurring in a high-leverage spot, the truth of the matter is that the Cubs struggled for much of Monday’s game. After taking an early 3-0 lead, they couldn’t pull away from the Giants, watching San Francisco slowly close the gap and cut the deficit to 3-2 in the fifth inning.

The Giants actually came close to tying the game at 3-3 in the seventh inning, though Steve Cishek was able to work out of a first and second, one out jam to keep the Cubs ahead. Plus, before consecutive two out singles in the eighth inning – one being an RBI from Anthony Rizzo to give the Cubs an insurance run, the Cubs offense went through a 1-for-15 drought that began with two outs in the third inning.

At the same time, Strop struggling again is quite concerning. The 34-year-old has been the team's most reliable reliever for the past five seasons, posting sub-3.00 ERAs in each campaign from 2014-18. However, he's in the midst of a forgettable month, allowing seven runs on 11 hits in 7 2/3 innings. Strop also surrendered a game-tying home run in the eighth inning Friday against the Padres, though the Cubs were able to bounce back and win. 

Between their road woes and Strop's rough July, Monday's game did nothing to alleviate concerns over two unsettling Cubs trends. If there's one positive to take away from the game, it's that the Cubs were six outs away from picking up their third road win in seven tries this month.

Moral victories count for little when a team is in a heated pennant race, though, especially since the Cardinals took down the Pirates Monday to cut the Cubs' lead in the NL Central to 1.5 games. The Cubs have to find a way to get better on the road, and they have to find a way to get Strop back on track. Fortunately for the Cubs, there's still time to do both, as Strop pointed out postgame.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Cubs games easily on your device.