Starlin Castro said good-bye, at least for now, to Chicago and thanked Cubs fans for what he called “an amazing experience” with a perfectly written post in The Players’ Tribune.
Castro took a trip down memory lane and described what he was feeling during his unforgettable big league debut and his Major League career that started with a home run. Castro praised his former teammate, Alfonso Soriano, for teaching him how to be a Major League Baseball player. And he shared how much the daily interaction with the fans meant to him.
Castro thanked the Cubs organization “for everything.” The Cubs not only gave him the opportunity to play Major League Baseball, the Cubs believed in him and were always honest. And they helped him “grow as a player and become an adult.” He explained that even through all the losing, he always felt like everyone was working together “and that the wins would come.”
Last season was hard on Castro and very special at the same time. He admitted that being replaced at shortstop was difficult for him. But he remembered what players like Soriano taught him and took pride in the fact that he earned the job at second base, played well and helped the team win.
Castro said being traded was bittersweet and admitted he will miss “amazing teammates like Anthony Rizzo.” But he’s with the Yankees now. Castro is at the point in his career where he just wants to win, and that is what he plans on helping the Yankees do … win games.
His new teammates have welcomed him with open arms. Castro has already talked to Carlos Beltran and received a call from Reggie Jackson, which he said was his “favorite Welcome to New York moment.”
Starlin Castro ended his letter by saying, “And to my old city, Chicago, I want to thank you for such an amazing experience. I’ll always hold Chicago close to my heart. And hey … maybe I’ll still visit sometime. How’s October?”
Hall of Fame
Junior received 437 of a possible 440 votes, three shy of being the first player unanimously voted into The Hall by the writers. Griffey Jr. (99.32 %) broke Tom Seaver’s record (98.84 %) for the highest percentage ever received.
Mike Piazza received 83 percent and will be enshrined in Cooperstown. Junior is expected to go in as a Mariner, and rumors have suggested the cap on his plaque could be backwards. Piazza will reportedly go in as a Met.
Jeff Bagwell (71.6 %), Tim Raines (69.8 %) and Trevor Hoffman (67.3 %) did not make it in this year. And Alan Trammell received only 180 votes (40.9 %), well short of the 75 % necessary to be elected to the Hall of Fame. It will be up to the Veteran’s Committee in 2020 to put him in Cooperstown. He is no longer eligible (15 years) to be voted in by the BBWAA.
Lee Smith (34.1 %), Fred McGriff (20.9 %) and Sammy Sosa (7 %) will be on the ballot again next year.
As expected, Nomar Garciaparra (1.8 %) and Jim Edmonds (2.5 %) fell off the ballot after not receiving at least five percent of the votes cast.
News, Notes and Rumors
• Comcast SportsNet reported Sammy Sosa barely stays on the Hall of Fame ballot for another year, but don’t expect him at the Cubs Convention.
• Jody Davis is the new hitting coach for the Louisville Bats, the Triple-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds.
• The Reds are close to signing former Cubs’ lefty Jonathan Sanchez to a minor league contract that would include a non-roster invite to Spring Training.
• According to Chris Cotillo, 10 teams have requested medicals on Justin Masterson and two teams have offers on the table for the veteran right-hander.
• The Pirates added to their bullpen. RHP Neftali Feliz inked a one-year, $3.9 million contract with the Pirates that includes an incentives package that could run the total value of the one-year deal, $4.5 million. The Pirates DFA’d Tony Sanchez to make room on the 40-man for Feliz.
• Jon Heyman reported the Royals “are among the teams with strong interest in RHP Ian Kennedy.” Heyman said with Alex Gordon signed and back with the team, the Royals are “expected to make a push now” to sign Kennedy.
• Kenta Maeda is expected to be formally introduced at a press conference Thursday. The Dodgers finalized the eight-year contract with Maeda despite a lot of red flags showing up in his physical according to Joel Sherman. There are concerns about his elbow but the Dodgers are moving forward with the contract.
• The Dodgers landed another pitcher. RHP Brandon Beachy signed for one-year and $1.5 million. According to Jon Heyman, Beachy can earn an additional $250,000 if he’s on the Dodgers’ Opening Day Roster and his incentives package includes $2.75 million for games started and $750,000 for games pitched.
• The Brewers signed a first baseman Wednesday. Chris Carter inked a contract with the Brewers. It’s a one-year Major League contract that comes with three years of control. Carter is not eligible for free agency until after the 2018 season. Carter will make $2.5 million with a chance to earn an additional $500,000 (plate appearances) this year and adds a lot of thump, along with strikeouts, to the Brewers lineup.
This Day in Cubstory
2005 – Cubs signed free agent Robinson Cancel
2002 – Cubs signed free agent Mark Watson
2000 – Cubs signed free agent Brian Williams
1998 – Cubs signed free agent Tim Unroe
1994 – Cubs signed free agent Mike Walker
1993 – Cubs signed free agent Jeff Robinson
1992 – Cubs signed free agent Jeff Robinson
1984 – Jon Lester, born
1981 – Cubs signed free agent Rawly Eastwick
1976 – Alfonso Soriano, born
1976 – Cubs selected Ron Davis in the third round of the January Amateur Draft
1952 – Doug Capilla, born
1944 – Dick Calmus, born
1922 – Alvin Dark, born
1898 – Kitty Bransfield, born