Starlin Castro joined Bruce Levine and Jordan Bernfield during Saturday’s Inside the Clubhouse (670 The Score). In one of the best interviews the baseball-only show has conducted, an emotional Starlin Castro talked about being traded from the only organization he’s ever known.
The lede into the interview was Pat Hughes calling one of Starlin Castro’s homers and went straight into his extremely popular walkup music. Levine asked Castro how he felt when he found out he’d been traded.
“It was really tough for me. It was really tough for me when they tell me that because that the team that gave me the opportunity for me and my family when I was 16 years old,” Castro said. “I feel really sad, but I think it’s going to be really good for me. It’s like a new opportunity and I happy to be, to be the opportunity the Yankees give to me.”
Castro played in the big leagues with the Cubs for six seasons. Since his call-up on May 7, 2010, Castro had five managers and eight different hitting coaches.
He admitted it was tough adjusting to the constant changes and playing for losing teams. Castro really enjoyed last season and being part of a team that won games and played in the post-season.
“It was one of the moments I was really waiting for, really waiting for that particular moment because I had been there for a lot of bad moment,” Castro said. “That’s the good moment in my life that I enjoyed so much, being in playoff with the team that gave me my opportunity. It’s really fun.”
Castro had a tough time when he was benched and lost his starting job. Joe Maddon sat him down and talked about the changes that were being made. Castro was not guaranteed playing time or a position at that time. He had to earn it.
“It was tough for me. When they told me that, I thought my career is going to be over. When they told me I’m not going to play. Not shortstop, not even shortstop, not even second base. They said I was not going to play at all. I was hurt and it was very bad for me,” Castro said. “I don’t want to be a bad teammate and a bad guy. I just came every day, kept my head up and support my teammates, support everybody. Everybody that plays no matter what happened because no matter what it’s all about the team.”
Castro made sure he prepared and worked hard every day. Castro explained it was important to him to be a good teammate, stay focused and be sure he was ready to help the team. Castro said he was prepared to take the opportunity if he was given a chance to earn playing time.
Castro worked with Gary Jones on a daily basis at second base so he could get better defensively. He worked with Jones even on the days he wasn’t scheduled to play.
John Mallee and Manny Ramirez worked with him to get his swing back. And Manny was in the cage with him every day trying to correct the problems.
Starlin Castro did not think he was going to be traded. He is looking forward to playing for the Yankees and in New York. Castro pointed out the Yankees really wanted him and he’s happy about playing there.
“Thank you for all the fans, for the city and for the Cubs organization. I think it’s one of the best organizations in the game,” Castro said. “The fans, they’ve been great no matter what. Good and bad, struggling or not. I think they were all there with me. They always supported me not matter what happened. I say thank you for the city and fans, I think they’ve been really good to me.”
RHP Ken Giles and SS Jonathan Arauz were dealt from the Phillies to the Astros for RHP Mark Appel, LHP Brett Oberholtzer, RHP Harold Arauz, RHP Thomas Eshelman and RHP Vincent Velasquez.
Mark Appel was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 draft. The Astros selected Appel instead of Kris Bryant and traded him as part of a package for a closer. Appel has not performed well in pro ball and many think a change of scenery might be what he needs.
Two of the last three No. 1 overall picks in the MLB Draft have now been traded this winter. And the third, Brady Aiken, was not signed when he was taken 1:1 by the Astros.
The Cubs were not in on Giles, but reports indicated the Cubs were looking for a top closer before the Meetings started. The Shelby Miller deal between the Braves and Diamondbacks and the Ken Giles trade have impacted what teams will have to pay in terms of prospect currency moving forward for controllable pitchers.
News, Notes and Rumors
• Patrick Mooney explained how the Cubs wound up spending big on Jason Heyward.
• Mike Rizzo was disappointed the Nationals couldn’t land Jason Heyward according to a report from MLB.com.
• According to Jon Paul Morosi, with Matt Holliday anchored in left, Cardinals have fewer options.
• The Pirates traded RHP Charlie Morton to the Phillies for minor league RHP David Whitehead. Reports suggested the Pirates were closing on signing a free agent starting pitcher, but nothing materialized Saturday.
• RHP Steve Cishek signed a two-year deal with the Mariners. Seattle plans to use him as a closer. Cishek will make $10 million over the next two seasons and has a chance to earn $17 million if he sticks as the team’s closer and he meets the numbers on his incentives package.
Joe Maddon held his annual Thanksmas event Friday at Ava in Tampa … and two former Cubs were among his celebrity bartenders.
This Day In Cubstory
2013 – Cubs claimed Liam Hendriks off waivers from the Twins
2012 – Cubs signed free agent Cory Wade
2004 – Royals selected Andy Sisco from the Cubs in the Rule 5 Draft
2000 – Cubs signed free agent Robert Machado
2000 – Cubs signed free agent Scarborough Green
2000 – Cubs signed free agent Dave Wainhouse
1999 – Athletics selected Bo Porter from the Cubs in the Rule 5 Draft
1999 – Cubs acquired Augie Ojeda from the Orioles for Richard Negrette
1996 – Cubs signed free agent Mark Dalesandro
1996 – Cubs signed free agent Kevin Tapani
1995 – Cubs signed free agent Rob Dibble
1993 – Cubs selected Alan Newman from the Reds in the Minor League Draft
1989 – Cubs released Pat Perry
1984 – Cubs signed free agent Lary Sorensen
1982 – Ricky Nolasco, born
1974 – Cubs released Carmen Fanzone
1964 – Steve Wilson, born
1963 – Cubs acquired Dick Scott from the Dodgers for Cuno Barragan and Jim Brewer
1942 – Ferguson Jenkins, born
1936 – J.C. Martin, born
1923 – Braves purchased John Kelleher from the Cubs
1905 – Cubs acquired Pat Moran from the Beaneaters for Jack O’Neil and Big Jeff Pfeffer
1873 – Jack Taylor, born