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  1. Just another example of why Billy Hamilton sucks.

    Comment by Doug Gray — August 20, 2012 @ 1:00 pm

  2. This is all heresay, so take it with several grains of salt. That said, the rumor in the Chicago sports media is that the front office is actively working with Castro to change his plate approach this season, so that he turns on the ball more and expands his strike zone less, but perhaps at the cost of some of his batting average. Note that since the non waiver trade deadline, Castro has hit almost exclusively fifth, a traditional lineup spot for a power hitter. He’s clearly struggling and a .311 OBP isn’t really ideal, but his power numbers are up for the third consecutive season, and the drop in his OBP from last year can almost entirely be explained by a lower BABIP. If these struggles are related to his working on a changed plate approach, that new approach could and hopefully will reap serious benefits down the road for the club. At 22 and locked into a long term contract, Castro has plenty of time to rework his approach and become the monster at the plate that most Cubs fans believe he will be. I’m very optimistic.

    Comment by Eddie — August 20, 2012 @ 1:00 pm

  3. So where do you see Castro ending up his career? Better than Wil Cordero? Better than Tony Fernandez? Better than Derek Jeter? Better than Honus Wagner? Inquiring minds.

    Comment by JimNYC — August 20, 2012 @ 1:05 pm

  4. Even if Castro stays a 2-3 win player over the life of the contract, the low annual salary will still make this a good decision for the Cubs. Add in the possibility of Castro breaking out and becoming a superstar, and you have to grade this contract as a big win for the Cubs. If I’m Castro, I would have gone through arbitration instead of signing this contract. I think he left a lot of money on the table for the security of $60 million. Then again, there isn’t much difference between $60 million and $100 million. It’s far more than any of us will ever have in our lifetimes.

    Comment by Krog — August 20, 2012 @ 1:07 pm

  5. Jim Hendry just had to start that service clock a month early to make him a Super 2 didn’t he. That’s a lot of extra money for an extra month in the majors.

    Comment by jigsawbolander — August 20, 2012 @ 1:31 pm

  6. And here I expected some lacking generic young player contract analysis that has almost become the norm for Fangraphs, which is usually along the lines of “he’s young and cost-controlled, here’s the per-WAR value relative to the FA market, thus it’s a good deal.” There are times when that’s the right way of looking at it, but I feel like Fangraphs relies on that alone a bit too much (the Trade Value series especially used the “young and cost controlled” argument way too much for my liking). I’m not a big fan of your writing at times, Dave, but I’ll certainly give you this one–spot on analysis.

    Comment by Chummy Z — August 20, 2012 @ 1:38 pm

  7. I very much doubt an extra $10-20 million over 7 years is going to prevent the Cubs from signing a player when they get good again. They ain’t the Royals or Twins. The money is pretty much irrelevant.

    Comment by Ruggiano's Pizza — August 20, 2012 @ 1:57 pm

  8. One piece of information to consider in these early extension deals where the player elects security over potentially more earnings going year to year is signing bonus. In Castro’s case $45000.

    Much like the Sal Perez extension the signing bonus probably didn’t get him far before reaching the majors so the security is probably more attractive.

    Comment by dan w — August 20, 2012 @ 2:30 pm

  9. He can probably sleep at night now.

    Comment by Weznoth — August 20, 2012 @ 2:34 pm

  10. just curious, why don’t you show the $/WAR figure on the contract comparables? I (assume) we know what the spot rate for contract inflation was (and can back calculate regular real world inflation too), so figuring this out isn’t a big deal and might be more instructive of where the contract fits in with the others.

    Comment by jcxy — August 20, 2012 @ 2:34 pm

  11. If Castro really is trying to use his power more, then more flyballs = lower BABIP

    Comment by Am I even serious? — August 20, 2012 @ 2:57 pm

  12. I think the assumption is that Castro will make up for the lower BABIP with a higher BB% once he learns to lay off pitches outside of the strike zone. Like I intimated in my first post, it’s a work in progress.

    Comment by Eddie — August 20, 2012 @ 3:26 pm

  13. Ya, I know. That’s why I had to tell him that.

    Comment by Chummy Z — August 20, 2012 @ 3:26 pm

  14. The real winners here are the Wrigleyville bars, where Castro spends his downtime.

    Comment by Guy — August 20, 2012 @ 3:59 pm

  15. Gah, Gary Sheffield used to be a shortstop? I forgot about that, I can’t even imagine that.

    Comment by Pacoheadley — August 20, 2012 @ 5:35 pm

  16. No, that’s not true. If he remains a 2-3 win player it won’t be a good decision because none of his traditional stats stand out. And while that’s not a problem for the Fangraphs crowd, arbitrators care a lot about those pretty traditional stats. So if Castro doesn’t improve with the bat, he would have made less $$ in arbitration then the Cubs guaranteed him and less in FA then the Cubs guaranteed him.

    The Cubs took on too much salary given Castro’s lack of performance. There’s nothing wrong with extending him, but as Dave said given that Castro’s bat is more projection than production the Cubs shouldn’t have had to spend as much as they did.

    Comment by Mark — August 20, 2012 @ 6:38 pm

  17. If money were irrelevant to the cubs, why don’t they just buy every FA on the market? They have a budget just as other clubs do, even if it’s larger.

    Comment by Stephan — August 20, 2012 @ 6:43 pm

  18. Great hitting shortstops who can also field, and are young, are very
    hard to find. Since the Cubs are rebuilding, this is just gravy. They
    have a player they can build a team around. But, he needs
    discipline. Players that have mental lapses should be fined, as
    there are no excuses for mental lapses, especially for shortstops.
    Wrigley Field is a homerun park. So, you need effective pitchers
    that can get ground outs, as well as some strikeouts. For this
    to happen, the Cubs need sure handed infielders, who know how
    many outs there are at all times.

    Comment by Juan — August 20, 2012 @ 7:14 pm

  19. Because not every free agent can be had for $10-$20 over 7 years. We’re talking about less then $3 million a year here. That amount of money is never going to stop the Cubs from adding someone that they need.

    Comment by JayT — August 20, 2012 @ 7:45 pm

  20. I think this is a great deal for the Cubs. They are locking up a guy that has superstar potential for the cost of a 2 win player, for eight years. Barring a career ending injury, even if he has flat-lined in his production and he is just a 3 win player, the Cubs will still be getting surplus value from this deal.
    I think this is really just about as good of a $60 million deal as you can possibly hope for.

    Comment by JayT — August 20, 2012 @ 7:49 pm

  21. Huh? He’s hit .300, .307 and is currently batting .280 at 20, 21 and 22. While stealing over 20 bases the last two seasons and upping the number of homers each year. Those are just the sort of traditional numbers arbitrators love.

    Comment by amgarvey — August 21, 2012 @ 1:27 am

  22. I’m not sure why the cubs have to hope for anything in order for this contract to work out. He would have provided surplus value each year he’s been in the MLB as it is. Any breakout which as Cameron pointed out is likely will just make this contract go from good to phenomenal.

    Comment by amgarvey — August 21, 2012 @ 1:34 am

  23. If money is irrelevant then the Cubs sign every free agent, and cut the worst performers after 1 year so they have roster space to sign every FA next year.

    Money is always extremely relevant, even to the Cubs, even only $3M per year.

    Comment by ValueArb — August 21, 2012 @ 4:19 am

  24. Barring catastrophic injury, I see four probable outcomes for Starlin moving forward, three of which would provide the Theo’s with at least equal value for the money. (1) His defense, power, or patience improves, (2) he improves in two of those areas, (3) he doesn’t improve at all but sticks at ss (and is somewhere near the fielder that the ’12 metrics say he is), and (4) he doesn’t improve as a hitter and has to move from ss.

    This contract is a bargain if the Cubs get outcomes 1 or 2, and it’s probably even money if they get 3. One could argue that 4 is most likely, but given Starlin’s age, the field seems like a decent bet.

    Comment by ezb230 — August 21, 2012 @ 4:51 am

  25. That should be “the Theos”. Actually, it should probably just be “the Cubs”.

    Comment by ezb230 — August 21, 2012 @ 4:58 am

  26. I don’t agree but rather than going into it without knowing your arguments, why do you say it could be argued that the fourth option is most likely? I mean, you can argue anything, but I’m interested to know why you think that would be the easiest to answer.

    Comment by Daniel — August 21, 2012 @ 8:08 am

  27. Better than Neifi Perez.

    Comment by JDanger — August 21, 2012 @ 8:17 am

  28. It does seem rather counterintuitive that the most likely scenario for a 22 year old who broke into the majors at 20 is that they don’t improve. Actually I think counterintuitive is putting rather nicely.

    Comment by amgarvey — August 21, 2012 @ 4:35 pm

  29. I like Starlin and think he will improve, but stars are rare, basically by definition. Most players don’t become stars. Also, prior to this year at least, I would argue that the majority opinion on Starlin was that he would eventually have to move off of shortstop. I don’t think that is the most likely outcome at this point, but as I said, it could be argued that way.

    Comment by ezb230 — August 21, 2012 @ 11:33 pm

  30. I think it’s an even bigger win for the Cubs because they have a lot of money. Instead of signing say 1 ace and 1 superstar masher, maybe now they have the money for 2 FA aces. For a team like the Rays, a deal like this is basically the difference between keeping him and not keeping him. For the Cubs, I really feel the benefit of having talented, cheap, young players is A) covering up free agent mistakes and B) being able to sign more free agents.

    Comment by Antonio Bananas — August 22, 2012 @ 12:35 am

  31. Honestly I don’t even see how this is an argument. Money isn’t an issue for the cubs as it is for say the Royals. Unless Castro has a major injury it’s hard to imagine the cubs regretting the deal. At current level he’s probably slightly below the worth of the average value. So, in all likelihood he’ll out play the contract or at least live up to it. And even if he plays slightly below it they are still likely to prefer him to say a FA SS who would likely be over paid in comparison as well.

    You can’t really examine the contract in a vacuum. The risk reward for this deal is in the cubs favor compared to signing a FA in many cases.I could see the argument against the deal if the cubs were in a situation like the Rangers with Profar beating down the door but that just isn’t the case. Also, having Castro in place allows the Cubs to focus on other areas of need. They will likely have to take risks in FA as is to fill in positions in the OF and pitching in the short term. And while they could have just waited for arbitration, the fact is Castro could have a huge year and quickly change their potential budget. Castro, Jackson and Rizzio are probably the only pieces they wont part with so locking them up makes sense so they can focus on the other various positions they have needs at.

    As a big market team the cubs are limiting their exposure. They are willing to potentially slightly over pay to ensure they don’t get hit hard. The ability to project their costs is probably worth that risk.

    Comment by Andy — August 22, 2012 @ 10:55 pm

  32. Castro’s walk rate has risen steadily since an atrocious May (1.7%). His walk rate is 5.8% (308 PA, 6/01 – present). Hopefully he carries his trend through the rest of the and improves upon it next season.

    Comment by classhole — August 24, 2012 @ 5:32 pm

  33. hey dougie… are you drafting Hamilton next year?

    Comment by Allan Gustafson — October 21, 2012 @ 9:29 am

  34. For their best homegrown position player since Ernie Banks, 60 million over 7 years is a steal.

    Besides, super two exists in part because players drastically outperform their contract and wind up underpaid. Castro has already made the Cubs millions by being a plus WAR everyday shortshop playing at league minimum. Seems to me the Giants are showing it doesn’t always kill to grease the hand that feeds you.

    Comment by Nick — February 23, 2013 @ 4:30 pm

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