According to a report from Jon Paul Morosi, the Cubs have discussed Starlin Castro with the San Diego Padres.
The Cubs have been connected to the Padres’ starting pitchers (James Shields, Andrew Cashner, Tyson Ross and Ian Kennedy) and A.J. Preller is believed to be looking for a shortstop. Morosi added that due to the contracts, a swap of Starlin Castro for James Shields could make sense for both teams. Morosi did not say the Cubs and Padres have discussed a deal that would send Castro to San Diego for Shields.
The Cubs have also been linked heavily to OF Will Venable.
Starlin Castro is owed the remainder of the seven-year, $60 million contract extension he signed in August 2012. Castro is due the rest of his $6 million salary for this season and $38 million guaranteed from 2016 through 2019 ($7 million in 2016; $9 million in 2017; $10 million in 2018; $11 million in 2019). Castro’s contract has a $16 million club option for 2020 that includes a $1 million buyout.
James Shields signed a four-year, $75 million contract in February that is backloaded. Shields is owed the remainder of his $10 million salary for this season and $21 million per year from 2016 through 2018. There is a $16 million club option that includes a $2 million buyout for the 2019 season and he can opt out of his contract following the 2016 season.
Theo Epstein reiterated Monday afternoon that “any trade of magnitude would net Cubs players they would have beyond this year.”
James Shields picked the Padres over the Cubs in February despite the late push from the front office and Joe Maddon. Shields has not put up the numbers for the Padres that A.J. Preller expected. Shields is 8-3 in 21 starts with a 3.77 ERA, 1.32 WHIP and 4.12 FIP. In 126 2/3 innings, Shields has allowed 58 runs, 53 earned, on 120 hits with 47 walks and 144 strikeouts.
In 11 road starts this year, Shields is 4-2 with a 5.01 ERA and 1.41 WHIP. Shields has allowed 39 runs, 36 earned, on 65 hits with 26 walks and 71 strikeouts in 64 2/3 innings. Shields turns 34 in December.
Starlin Castro has not played anywhere near expectations this season. The Cubs viewed Castro as an important veteran bat that would help pick-up the slack when the rookies struggled.
Instead of taking his game to the next level under Joe Maddon, Starlin Castro has gone the other way. In 95 games, Castro has batted only .233/.268/.302 with nine doubles, a triple and five home runs for a .571 OPS. Castro’s defense has shown improvement of late after he really struggled in the field in May.