“Yes, we have been talking,” Kinzer said. “Starlin loves being a Chicago Cub and would like to play there his entire career. I’d prefer to negotiate privately with the Cubs, but yes, we have been talking about a long-term deal.”
The two sides expect to have a deal in place before the end of the 2012 season. It is expected the contract would cover at least six season, buying out all of Castro’s arbitration years, plus an additional two free agent years. Mike Axisa of MLBTradeRumors opined that Theo Epstein would have to be willing to spend roughly $20 million for the arbitration years plus an additional $12-15 million per free agent year in order to get a deal done.
Despite being in his third major league campaign, Castro is still one of the youngest players in the league. While his lapses in concentration have lead to some memorable gaffes defensively, he is also enjoying the finest season of his career with the glove, at least according to UZR.
The Cubs are a long way from being respectable, but even if it takes Theo and company five years to turn this things around, they’ll need some core players to build around and there are very few players across the league as talented as Castro. The Cubs are not in the same boat financially as the Tampa Bay Rays, for example, who must try to sign their players to long-term deals in order to create cost certainty, but that doesn’t make this a bad move for Chicago to make. Castro is the kind of player that could easily wind up costing the club twice as much as what Axisa is guessing here. With any deal of this length, there is a risk to the team, for a club like the Cubs, this kind of deal could go a long way toward showing the fan-base that this new regime is bout building sustainable success.
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