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Starlin Castro likely to miss the rest of the season

Sep 3, 2014, 4:51 PM EDT

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Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro has been diagnosed with a high-ankle sprain, which carries an expected recovery timetable of at least our weeks. In other words: His season is over.

After a hugely disappointing 2013 season Castro bounced back to hit .292 with a career-high 14 homers and a career-best .777 OPS in 134 games. He was also on pace to shatter his previous best walk total, which is a key development for an impatient 24-year-old hitter.

Castro’s absence likely means rookie Javier Baez will see plenty of action at shortstop down the stretch after initially being called up to play second base. Baez was exclusively a shortstop in the minors until recently, when the Cubs began prepping him for a promotion.

  1. wjarvis - Sep 3, 2014 at 5:14 PM

    Tough break for Castro who has already had a pretty terrible month personally.

    I hope they continue to play Baez at 2B instead of SS. Winning these games doesn’t really mean anything to the Cubs, but getting Baez more comfortable at 2B does help the team long term. Watkins has played well over 100 games at SS in the minors, and his potential future with the Cubs depends on him being able to play all over the field.

    • okobojicat - Sep 3, 2014 at 5:40 PM

      I actually disagree with you. I think Baez should be playing SS everyday. The Cubs have a lot of middle infield prospects and they are more valuable if everyone thinks they can play SS. Baez playing SS everyday will show him to other teams (looking at you NY) that he can be a solution there and he can be successful there in the major leagues.

      The Cubs then can evaluate moving Baez, Castro or Simmons for high upside pitching arm(s!).

      I really don’t buy the need for Baez to play 2B everyday and any impact on Logan Watkins is minimal as prepping utility players is not really a thing.

      • wjarvis - Sep 3, 2014 at 6:32 PM

        I think Baez’s future and trade value is almost entirely dependent on his plate appearances. He’s a player who’s capable of playing either middle infield position, but I don’t think he’ll ever be a plus defender there. He’s played close to 300 games at SS in the minors, playing an extra 20 or so games at SS isn’t going to significantly change what any team thinks of his defensive abilities.

        Also, I only brought up Watkins to say who else on the roster could play SS if Baez stayed at 2B, I agree that no decisions are being made to further his development.

    • ddevonb - Sep 3, 2014 at 8:14 PM

      “Winning these games doesn’t really mean anything to the Cubs, but getting Baez more comfortable at 2B does help the team long term.”

      1. What you really mean is that winning these games isn’t that important to you. Winning game is important to every player on the Cubs who is trying to earn a job for next season or make a bigger paycheck for next season. It is important the manager and coaches and it is important to the Cubs organization. Winning in September brings excitement and anticipation for next season, which helps sell tickets and TV/radio advertising for next year.

      2. Baez is already comfortable at 2nd base and will get a lot of practice there in February and March,

      • wjarvis - Sep 3, 2014 at 9:40 PM

        1. You’re right, I should have phrased it that winning a few more games won’t change how the season is judged, or something like that. I think for the front office, player development is and has been more important for this entire season than wins. For players and to a lesser extent the manager, you are absolutely correct wins are important. I don’t think the number of team wins will have any impact on individual contracts though. There is already a ton of excitement for next year, I don’t think an excellent or terrible September is going to change that.

        2. The phrase was more comfortable, he still has very little experience playing 2B so he’s constantly being forced to make plays that he hasn’t made in a live game before. He’s among the worst at 2B for pretty much every defensive metric, so he’ll need to work on his technique quite a bit this offseason. He’ll be able to focus what he needs to work on the most by getting more experience at 2B. I realize that with such a small sample size you can’t completely trust the defensive metrics, but it’s been pretty clear that he hasn’t been great in the field.

  2. miguelcairo - Sep 3, 2014 at 5:46 PM

    Our weeks, your weeks, all kinda weeks.

  3. jerze2387 - Sep 3, 2014 at 7:23 PM

    Theyd probably be best off keeping Baez at 2B if thats where his future is, and either play alcanterra or, the less likely but idea i like best, bring up addison russell and see what he can do

  4. mumblesrumbly - Sep 4, 2014 at 8:03 AM

    No week will ever be our week

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