Cubs not rushing to judgment on Castro


Cubs not rushing to judgment on Castro

Success has come so fast for Starlin Castro that when things like 3,000 hits or the Hall of Fame were mentioned, hed shrug and say: Why not?

It didnt come across as arrogant. Castros teammates liked his quiet confidence. It seemed a little nave. This is a polite kid from the Dominican Republic who worked hard to learn English, in part because of the potential endorsement opportunities.

The Cubs continue to say that their 21-year-old All-Star shortstop will be at this weekends convention, a marketing event that will have to deal with a recent report that Castro was accused of sexual assault and is under investigation by Chicago police.

The story came out last week, more than three months after a police report was filed. Castros attorneys have called the allegations baseless. The player has not been charged with a crime.

Theo Epstein didnt want to talk about Castro specifically during Wednesdays media event at Harry Carays downtown. The new president of baseball operations only said the facts will develop and as the story evolves, there will be an appropriate time (to comment).

Dale Sveum met with the young shortstop in Chicago in mid-November, on the day of the managers introductory press conference. Sveum said he wasnt aware of the situation at the time, but doesnt believe it will negatively impact Castro.

I dont really know the details of all of it, Sveum said, but I dont think its going to affect (him). Right now its what it is and I think its being taken care (of through the proper channels).

The new manager was asked what sort of message hed give to his players about representing the Cubs away from the ballpark.

They are grown men, Sveum said. Ive raised my children and sometimes you do have to treat a lot of these players like theyre your children. Guys get misled. They dont quite understand sometimes how to handle the off-field activities, so to speak, especially when youre in a big city like Chicago.

You do a lot of talking. Communication helps out, but the bottom line is theyre grown men. So they have to grow up on their own sometimes, too.

This isnt necessarily a direct response to Castros situation. But next year Epstein is planning to introduce a rookie-development program similar to one designed by the Red Sox when he was the general manger in Boston, another pressurized market with great expectations and a steep learning curve.

When you have a lot of young players at the big-league level, Epstein said, often times you forget just how new they are to this whole thing professional baseball, the responsibility that comes with it, the importance of representing the organization the right way (and) being a good teammate.

Organizations that just assume that theyll figure it out on their own make a big mistake. (Were going to) teach them whats its like to be a big-leaguer, set the expectations for them and give them tools on how to meet those expectations, everything from how to deal with the media to how to say no to people off-the-field that want things from them.

(Its) how to properly handle themselves in the hotel or out on the town. Its an important part. You cant make assumptions that guys know how to handle themselves. You need to work with them. You want an organization that projects the right image.

To make a positive impact on the community, you have to work to get it. The players are the ones who are going to dictate how that goes. We need to support them every step of the way.

For the Cubs and Castro, right now that means letting it play out and not rushing to make any judgments.

Cubs aren’t trading Yu Darvish this winter, despite reported inquiries

Cubs aren’t trading Yu Darvish this winter, despite reported inquiries

Whether the Cubs trade a member of their position player core this winter — i.e. Kris Bryant, Willson Contreras — is to be determined. Both have been fixtures in rumors this offseason, and the Cubs may make a deal to replenish their barren farm system and retool their roster with the organization’s long-term stability in mind.

Yu Darvish, on the other hand, is a different story.

No, the Cubs won’t be trading Darvish this winter, despite the inquiries they received at the Winter Meetings this week, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

A year ago, this would be an entirely different conversation. Darvish was coming off a disappointing debut season on the North Side in which he made eight starts and posted a 4.95 ERA in 40 innings. He didn’t throw a single big-league pitch after May 20 due to a lingering arm issue that led to surgery last November.

2019 was only Year 2 of the lucrative six-year contract Darvish signed in February 2018. But between the injury and his struggles before it that season, the narrative entering 2019 was shifting towards Darvish being a potential bust.

The narrative around Darvish is obviously much different now, thanks to the stellar second half performance he put together last season. In 13 starts, the 33-year-old delivered a 2.76 ERA, striking out 118 batters compared to a mere seven walks in 81 2/3 innings.

Not only was Darvish walking the walk, but he was talking the talk. He was determined to turn things around after posting a 5.01 ERA in the first half, asking then manager Joe Maddon to start the Cubs’ first game after the All-Star break. The result? Six innings of two-hit, no-run ball with eight strikeouts and one walk. Darvish's comeback was officially on.

Bust? Darvish is far from it now. He opted in to the remaining four years of his contract earlier this offseason, calling the Cubs "perfect" for him.

If the Cubs were entering a rebuild, fielding Darvish trade offers would make plenty of sense. He's owed $81 million through 2023, a bargain compared to the deals Gerrit Cole (nine years, $324 million — Yankees) and Stephen Strasburg (seven years, $245 million — Nationals) earned this offseason. Darvish's contract is desirable, and trading him would help alleviate the Cubs' notoriously tight payroll situation, freeing up money for them to put towards other needs.

But the Cubs aren’t rebuilding, and trading Darvish would create a tremendous hole in a rotation with plenty of uncertainty after next season. José Quintana is set to hit free agency after 2020 and Jon Lester could join him, if his 2021 option doesn’t vest (he must pitch 200 innings next season for that to occur). Heck, even Tyler Chatwood's deal is up after 2020.

In one season, Darvish has elevated himself to the No. 1 pitcher in the Cubs rotation. The Cubs won't be better next season if they trade Bryant or Contreras, but they'd still be competitive and acquire assets for the future.

One player doesn't make a team in baseball, but the Cubs need Darvish in their rotation, not someone else's. Unless they're absolutely blown away by a trade offer, Darvish isn't going anywhere.

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Sports Talk Live Podcast: MLB 2019 Winter Meetings come to an end

NBC Sports Chicago

Sports Talk Live Podcast: MLB 2019 Winter Meetings come to an end

SportsTalk Live is on location in San Diego for the final day of the MLB Winter Meetings.

0:00- Chuck Garfien, Tony Andracki and Vinnie Duber join Kap to recap the Winter Meetings. Tony was right-- the Cubs didn't make a move. Plus, should the White Sox have done more in San Diego?

12:00- Legendary baseball writer Peter Gammons joins Kap and Chuck. The talk about the price for pitching and what the Cubs might do with Kris Bryant. Plus, Gammons talks about a text he received saying the White Sox were talking with the Red Sox about Andrew Benintendi and David Price. Would that make sense for the Southsiders?

20:00- White Sox World Series winning closer Bobby Jenks joins Kap to discuss his emotional article in The Players Tribune. They discuss his injuries with the Red Sox, the back surgery that almost cost him his life and then his downward spiral into addiction.

Listen here or via the embedded player below:

Sports Talk Live Podcast