As the Cubs slog through another rebuilding year (it’s gonna end up okay, we hope), there’s not much to write about since it seems it’s the other MLB teams making all the moves while the Cubs sit back and wait. In the meantime, there isn’t much else to spend on since blowing copious amounts of money doesn’t align with the front office’s timetable, while amateur spending has been capped due to the CBA.
One of the biggest stories of the Cubs offseason has been Starlin Castro‘s fight in the Dominican Republic to keep his money. The Cliffs Notes version is that Castro’s dad promised the baseball academy he went to a certain portion of his future income and now they’ve come to collect. Never mind the part where he has a random bank account in the Dominican that houses that much money! Anyway, thanks a LOT, dad…
Paul Sullivan, in pretty typical Sully fashion, wrote an article about Castro’s dispute possibly affecting his play on the field. I don’t particularly like the overall tone of the article, but the fact that this monetary dispute may have affected Castro’s production is both alarming and understandable. Considering that he only made $5MM last season in the first year of his extension, the seizure of around two-thirds of one’s income has to be incredibly stressful, professional athlete or not. But it is alarming not because of the stress, but because it appears the lawsuit is using the dispute as an excuse for poor production. I’m not entirely sure I like that, even if it might not be a pure excuse (again, losing that much of your paycheck has to suck!).
I do believe Castro will bounce back, more so because there’s no way his BABIP stays so atrociously low than because he’s likely to win his lawsuit. He’s still very young and has a lot more money-making days ahead if he plays his cards right, and if his play on the field corrects itself as I think it should. But this bit of news is ill-timed; in a slow offseason, if the biggest news for one’s favorite team is that their cornerstone player may be mentally weak as implied, it’s not exactly encouraging.
I guess we need to hope that Castro’s lawyers get this situation resolved, he gets to keep his money, and he starts tearing the cover off the ball again. But this incident won’t fade away easily, and I hope Castro’s reputation (and the associated media narratives) won’t suffer too much for it in the long run.
UPDATE 12/22 2:21 PM: Yeah, I didn’t like the way the Sully article was framed but now we have a bit more context on the Castro case against the folks who seized his money. Here’s Tom:
Looks like Castro camp (Kinzer) using distraction argument in counter suit, not so much as another excuse. That sits better for me.
— TomLoxas (@TomLoxas) December 22, 2013
I agree with Tom Loxas here. If they are just trying to work this angle as leverage in the counter-suit, then we’re good. I’m sure Castro knows he needs to work harder, and has already been working with strength and conditioning this winter to be in better shape for next season.