There is no denying that Starlin Castro is a sensational hitter and an offensive force that will continue to get better and better as he matures physically. However, after making 27 and 29 errors, respectively, over the past two seasons and watching his slow start defensively this season (4 errors), I have come to the conclusion that he is not the long-term answer at shortstop and that a position change is a necessity in the future.
While the Cubs minor league system is not at the level that Theo Epstein is expecting it to be at when his staff has had a handful of drafts to work with, they do have a handful of shortstop prospects that are considered major-league caliber players in the near future.
Junior Lake is currently at Class-AA Tennessee and while he is still raw, he possesses all of the necessary tools to be a solid major leaguer. In addition, last Junes No. 1 pick Javier Baez is a shortstop and while he may outgrow the position eventually, he is a major talent as a hitter and currently projects as an infielder in the big leagues.
Castro is a tremendous talent but his defense is far behind his offense and he appears to lack concentration in the field, which is evident in the simple throwing mistakes he has made over the first week-and-a-half of the 2012 season. His bat will be the facet of his game that makes him a star, so why not move him now on a team that does not appear to be a contender?
Darwin Barney is a natural shortstop and would give the Cubs better defense there than Castro does, including better concentration on the routine plays that Castro often makes a mistake on. Castro is an excellent athlete and could make the move to the OF much like Robin Yount did during his stellar career in Milwaukee.
Whether the move comes now or next winter, I believe it is in the Cubs' best interest to put Castro in a position where he can use his athleticism defensively while he continues to develop into a run-producing hitter who will eventually be one of the best hitters in baseball. However, his defense keeps him from becoming a truly elite player at his position.