After the news broke this weekend that Starlin Castro was in another place where a shooting took place…this time with people close to him…the questions about Castro’s character and maturity popped back up. Those questions are somewhat understandable when a guy is in the same place as two different shooting incidents within a month’s time.
With Castro being cleared of wrong doing in both shootings, though, the most appropriate way to judge Starlin is how he reacts to the incidents, which have occurred in a very short time. It is understandable that Castro may not make any massive, life-altering changes for himself and his family after one incident. Sometimes things just happen and it would be a mistake to make knee-jerk decisions based on an isolated event. Twice, though, becomes cause for concern.
In cases like those which Castro has been associated with this off-season, the first and most important thing to ensure is safety. Being sure that you’re not in a position to put your life and livelihood in danger is job one for a player, whenever they go out. Unfortunately for Starlin Castro, this off-season has led to the conclusion that he may need to leave a hometown and displace his family to do that. There is no question that nobody…not Starlin Castro, not Paul Kinzer, not Theo Epstein, and not Jed Hoyer…wanted to have conversations about being in the same nightclub or the same concert where shooting breaks out. It’s also a sure thing that none of those people wanted to have the conversation twice.
When there comes the time to have concern, there needs to be an evaluation of whatever the situation may be. It is understandable that Starlin Castro would want to continue to live in his home country, the Dominican Republic, without displacing his family and completely altering his off-season lifestyle. That is a life-changing decision that requires serious contemplation and consultation, both between Starlin and his family and Starlin and his professional associates.
It seems that conversations about Castro leaving his hometown have already started. Castro’s agent, Paul Kinzer, was on MLB Network Radio today and said that Castro is looking to make a move to the United States, either to Florida or Arizona. The consensus is that nobody likes that Castro is tied to these incidents (because, duh), and that this may be the time to move on from living in the Dominican Republic.
As the news broke, Kinzer made it clear that it was his opinion that Castro needed to leave the Dominican Republic. Between the two shootings this off-season, and the fact that Kinzer says Starlin Castro has been sued multiple times since he signed his new contract, continuing to reside down there is clearly becoming more trouble than it’s worth…even if that is Castro’s home. The mere fact that this process is happening is a positive sign for everybody. It’s genuinely unfortunate when a player has to leave a place he seems to enjoy. What’s worse is that Starlin Castro, in the most recent shooting, lost another person he was apparently close to in an altercation between the victim and people he was close to. After last summer, where Castro lost a cousin and friends to a fatal car accident, a quiet off-season would have probably been the best thing that could have happened for the still 24 year old player.
Starlin Castro needs to make himself happy with wherever he is going to be moving to, if at all. His agent said he would prefer Castro move to Arizona so he can workout at the Cubs’ facility year round. From a fan’s perspective, that sounds like a smashingly good idea. Leaving home, while difficult, and going to a place where Castro will be visible for younger players during the fall and winter months is a great way for him to lead by example. Showing young players, some of whom may also be coming from the Dominican Republic or from other countries, that it is alright to leave the places they consider home in order to protect their careers is a sign of leadership. It also helps Castro, who is the longest tenured Cubs player, establish himself as one of the veteran leaders on the baseball field and in the clubhouse.
Hopefully, after this last incident, Castro can make a decision that benefits himself, both personally and professionally. Keeping himself and his family safe, secure, and happy are most important. If that decision comes with the benefit of entrenching himself as one of the true leaders in the organization, there may be some silver lining to all of the awful things that have happened around him.