Not long after Ben Zobrist agreed to a four-year deal with the Chicago Cubs, Chicago quickly and promptly dealt infielder Starlin Castro to the New York Yankees for pitcher Adam Warren and a player to be named later.
Cubs Infielder Starlin Castro Traded to Yankees
“There are multiple reports that indicate infielder Brendan Ryan could very well be that second player headed to Chicago, even though that’s not expected to become official until at least the end of Thursday’s Rule 5 draft for roster purposes.
“I made a run at him at the deadline, wasn’t able to do anything there, than obviously we were able to secure him now,” Cashman said of Castro, who steps in as the Yankees’ new second baseman. “I like that he’s athletic, I like his age (he’ll be 26 in March); solid above-average defender we believe at second. He can play short, he can play third.
“Between the youth, the flexibility, the right-handed bat – he’s got a history of hitting left-handers, clearly thats an area that we needed to better improve our balance in the lineup – it kind of checks off alot of boxes here.”
Even though Cashman and the Yankees didn’t receive any money from the Cubs in the Castro deal, Cashman said the added payroll isn’t much of an issue given Castro’s $7 million salary next season and the salaries headed to the Cubs.
As of now, Castro is owed $38 million over the next four years after signing a seven-year, $60 million extension in August of 2012 with the Chicago Cubs. In 2016, Castro will earn $7 million, then $9 million in 2017, $10 million in 2018, and finally a $11 million in 2019. Castro’s contract also comes with a $16 million club option for 2020 or, if the Yankees so choose, the contract also comes with a $1 million buyout.
The Daily News first reported on November 20 that the Yankees were engaged in talks with the Chicago Cubs. Brian Cashman and Cubs GM Theo Epstein resumed talks a couple of days later, but the Cubs weren’t going to part with Castro unless they were able to secure Zobrist.
Castro is coming off a disappointing season in which he hit only .265 with eleven home runs and sixty-nine RBIs in 2015, but there was reason for hope in the final months. Castro went on a late-season tear, hitting .345/.368/.574 with six homeruns and twenty-five RBIs in fifty games after August 4, showing the ability he once displayed between 2010-2012 when he made two All-Star teams in his first three seasons since debuting at age 20.
“He really looked like a different player over at second,” Cashman said. “Even before the positional switch, we felt by our evaluations that he could be a pretty interesting player over at second. The obviously when the Cubs make the switch, we got confirmation of that.”
“He’s very talented guy offensively,” said Jim Hendry, a special assistant to Cashman who was the Cubs GM when Castro signed with Chicago. “I think we all think his better days are ahead of him. History will tell you, a guy 26 to 32, he’s got a chance to be his most productive.”