The Chicago Cubs will be without shortstop Starlin Castro for the remainder of the year. Castro underwent an MRI Wednesday and it revealed he has a high left ankle sprain which will keep him out for at least four weeks, thus ending his season, according to Bruce Levine of 670thescore.com.
Starlin Castro was at the end of a very productive 2014 campaign. Castro finished the season hitting .292/.339/.438 with 14 home runs and 65 runs batted in. He also ends the season on a nine-game hitting streak and also committed a career-low fifteen errors at shortstop.
Currently, Castro is expected to be the team’s Opening Day shortstop come opening day, 2015. Yet, Javier Baez could still take his spot this winter if Chicago can get an efficient return in a trade for Castro. This makes us re-think the question: "Is Starlin Castro a part of the Cubs' future?" My answer to that question is "No!" and yes, it is with an exclamation point.
Waiting in line for the starting shortstop job is not only young phenom Javier Baez, but other shortstops in the minors, like power-hitting, minor-league player-of-the-year Kris Bryant. Bryant is the organization's top prospect and could be better suited as a corner infielder or an outfielder. Addison Russell who was acquired in the July deal that sent pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the Oakland Athletics, is another possibility.
As previously mentioned, the Cubs need to trade Castro to a team that is in need of a shortstop and can give them a good return for the future. A team that will be in need of a shortstop next season is the New York Yankees. Their longtime starting shortstop and captain, Derek Jeter, is retiring at the end of the 2014 season which means the team will be on the lookout for a young shortstop, like Castro.
Another intriguing name for the Yankees could be a shortstop from the Cubs' south side rivals, Chicago White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez. Although he turns 33 at the end of September, Ramirez is still putting up productive numbers. So far this season, he has played in 136 games (lowest since his rookie season, hitting .282/.315/.419 with thirteen home runs, 64 runs batted in and thirty doubles. Ramirez was also named to his first American League All-Star team.
It is more than likely that come Opening Day next season Starlin Castro will not be in a Chicago Cubs uniform. Castro is very young and can be a very helpful assett to another team like the Yankees or another team in need of a shortstop for next season. While Castro is out with the injury, Baez will get most of the playing time at shortstop, likely readying him for next season.