It was on this date in 2006 the Cubs signed 16-year old Starlin Castro as an amateur free agent. Castro made his big league debut on May 7, 2010 with an incredible performance at Great American Ball Park. Castro hit a home run and a triple in five at bats and drove in six runs.
Starlin Castro just completed his sixth season in the big leagues in what could have been his last with the Cubs. Castro’s future with the organization that signed him is unclear at best less than a week after the Cubs post-season run came to an end.
Castro is a three-time All-Star and showed a lot of maturity in what was his most difficult season in the majors. Castro was benched in favor of Addison Russell after a poor first half. Castro hit only .247/.283/.321 in his first 86 games with eight doubles, a triple and five home runs. Castro bounced back in August and September and put together a .295/.319/.464 line after the break with 15 doubles, a triple and six home runs in 65 games for a .783 OPS. Castro had a good NLDS against the Cardinals in his first taste of playoff baseball.
For the year, Castro batted .265/.296/.375 with 23 doubles, two triples and 11 home runs for a .671 OPS.
If 2015 was his last season with the Cubs, Castro provided several memorable moments. Castro had multiple walk-off hits and a career performance against the Cardinals on Sept. 18 that was labeled ‘The Starlin Castro Game’ on a day in which he received the first curtain call of his career.
Theo Epstein had nothing but good things to say about Castro during Thursday’s end of season press conference. Epstein pointed out the way Castro responded this season showed how much he loves being part of the organization. Castro embraced the move to second base and worked hard to bounce back from this low point in his career.
“Of all the players we can be proud of this season, and there are many, he might be the one most deserving of that pride because of everything he went through off the field and how easy it would have been for him to quit or to put his own interest in front of the interest of the team,” Epstein said. “He really rose above that on a personal level and on a professional level and set a wonderful tone that I know his teammates and his front office really appreciated.”
In 891 games, Starlin Castro is nine hits short of 1,000 for his career (991). And he has put together a .281/.321/.404 line with 186 doubles, 31 triples, 62 home runs and a .725 OPS.
During his end of season press conference, Theo Epstein did not have updates on any possible injuries to Cubs players. The team has a medical meeting scheduled for late this week. Epstein said if there were any significant injuries he would let the beat writers know about them at that point.
Neil Ramirez was fine at the end of the season. Ramirez was not on the post-season rosters for the Wild Card Game, NLDS or NLCS because the team did not feel he had enough time to get into a rhythm at the end of the regular season to be effective in the playoffs.
The Cubs were happy with the way the bullpen performed in the post-season.
Neil Ramirez spent time on the DL with right shoulder inflammation (April 17-June 28) and left abdominal soreness (July 29-Sept. 8). When he was on the active roster, Ramirez was 1-0 in 19 games with a 3.21 ERA, 1.29 WHIP and 3.21 FIP (five runs, 12 hits, six walks, 15 strikeouts in 14 innings).
Dan Haren officially called it a career after the Cubs were eliminated from the post-season. Haren had a very good career and helped the Cubs over the last two months of the season. Haren did not pitch in the NLDS or NLCS and questions were raised as to why he was not on the roster for either series.
Haren talked to Jon Heyman about why he was retiring and said he simply can’t do it anymore.
“I just pitched through the pain the past couple of years. But it’s taken its toll. My back and hip aren’t feeling any better. I’m going to need some surgeries,” Haren said.
According to Heyman, the injuries that caused him to fail the physical three years ago and void the trade between the Angels and Cubs that would have included Carlos Marmol “are much worse today.”
News, Notes and Rumors
• Former Cubs’ reliever LaTroy Hawkins officially retired after 21 seasons in the big leagues. Hawkins pitched for the Cubs during the 2004-05 seasons and wore 11 different uniforms during his career.
• According to Bob Nightengale, the Dodgers are “awaiting with an open check book” for David Price to officially become a free agent. The Yankees and Red Sox “will get into a bidding war” for Price. And the Cubs and Cardinals “will jump in, if nothing else, to make sure the other doesn’t get the greatest player on the free agent market.”
• As it turns out, David Price has been tipping his pitches. Especially in post-season starts against the Rangers and Royals this year. Tom Verducci spotted Price tipping his changeup and Royals scouts confirmed what Verducci saw was accurate. Verducci’s report is a must read on the importance advanced scouts play in a team’s success. Click Here
• The Dodgers, disarmed by draft failures, will have to buy pitching again this winter according to a report from Bill Shaikin.
• The Sun-Times reported Cubs’ higher expectations, high caliber of NL opponents means setting higher bar.
• Jon Heyman reported Saturday, the Padres are looking outside of the box and interviewing Tom ‘Flash’ Gordon for their managerial opening.
• The Phillies named Matt Klentak their General Manager on Saturday.
• And former Phillies’ GM Ruben Amaro Jr. will be the Red Sox first base coach next season.
This Day In Cubstory
2012 – Mets selected Anthony Recker off waivers from the Cubs
2011 – Theo Epstein was introduced as the President of Baseball Operations for the Chicago Cubs
2006 – Cubs signed amateur free agent Starlin Castro
1994 – Cubs granted free agency to Dan Plesac
1988 – Alberto Cabrera, born
1977 – Cubs traded Jose Cardenal to the Phillies for Manny Seoane
1977 – Cubs acquired Larry Cox from the Mariners for Steve Hamrick
1977 – Cubs traded Jim Todd to the Mariners for Pete Broberg
1973 – Cubs traded Ferguson Jenkins to the Texas Rangers for Vic Harris and Bill Madlock
1965 – Leo Durocher was named manager of the Chicago Cubs … and ended the failed College of Coaches experiment that last five years.
1923 – Bobby Thompson, born
1869 – Jack Doyle, born