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Trading Starlin Castro

English: Starlin Castro of the Chicago Cubs wa...

English: Starlin Castro of the Chicago Cubs waits to bat in 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rumors that Theo Epstein and the Cubs were shopping Starlin Castro in a trade swirled amid a USA Today report that the club is shopping everyone on the roster with the exception of Jeff Samardzija.

My initial reaction to this article was shock, because I don’t think Theo Epstein would be that foolish to trade a shortstop that is the only legitimate bat in the lineup and represent the very player that Epstein should be building around.

At 22 years old and under team control until 2017, trading Castro should not even be a consideration for a team that needs more players of his ilk to contend in the National League Central division.  Trading him for a bundle of prospects would further alienate a fan base that’s grown tired of waiting til next year.

Having made his ML debut just over two years ago Castro has already eclipsed 400 career hits while hitting over .300.  Far from a finished product he has started to drive in more runs, he is tied with Boston’s Mike Aviles for the lead among shortstops in runs batted in with 32, and is on pace to steal over thirty bases which would eclipse his career high of 22 set last season.

His defense is a work in progress as he has been prone to errant throws and mental lapses, but that’s just par for the course in the developing of a 22- year old in pro sports.

The closest thing the Cubs have to an untouchable, if there is such a thing in pro sports today, is the All-Star shortstop that should be patrolling the left side of the Cubs infield for the next decade and will be a fixture in the line-up when the Cubs are back on top.

Follow me on Twitter @PatrickASchmidt

Patrick is a diehard Chicago sports fan and an avid college football fan, particularly the SEC.  Patrick is the host of “The Wake-up Call,” a weekly sports show on Sportstownchicago.com every Wednesday morning from 8-10.  View his show’s website here.

Chicago’s “All-City” Pitching Staff

Matt Garza

Matt Garza (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In my blog Friday I wrote about the “All-City Lineup” today I will compile a five man starting rotation and a six man bullpen.

Starters

Ryan Dempster – The number one starter for the team despite not recording a win. Not entirely his fault though as he sports a dazzling 1.74 era and a whip of 0.97. Hitters are hitting a meager .196 off him and carries 4:1 k/BB ratio. The Cubs opening day starter should have four wins on his resume this year if not for absolutely no run support.

Jake Peavy – Reverting to the form he displayed during his Cy Young campaign in 2007 as a member of the San Diego Padres and looking like the pitcher White Sox General Mangers Ken Williams once traded four pitchers for. 4-1 with a 2.65 era and more importantly has gone atleast six innings of seven of his eight starts.

Matt Garza – In his second season as a Cub, Garza has pitched better than his 2-1 record would suggest. His 2.58 era has kept the Cubs in many games while the offense tried to give him some run support. Garza is plagued by the similar anemic offense that has yet to give Dempster much support when he is on the mound, and could easily have twice as many wins as he currently has if not for a lack of support.

Jeff Samardzija – The former All- American wide receiver for Notre Dame has found a home in the starting rotation after working out of the bullpen the last few years. He is tied for the team lead with four wins and strikes out more than one batter per inning with a nifty era of 3.00. His future is bright and is one of the hardest throwing starters in the entire National League.

Chris Sale – Tied for the team lead with Peavy at four and an era under three for the young lefty earns him a spot on the “All-City” staff. While the Sox aren’t sure if he is a starter or a closer, the rotation needed a lefty to round out the staff and Sale gets the nod over Paul Maholm of the Cubs. Sale has a high ceiling if he can stay healthy.

The Bullpen

James Russell and Raphael Dolis – The Cubs have had a great deal of problems finding a reliable arm to turn to in late inning pressure situations, and while each has had their down moments, they also represent the two best the Cubs have to offer. Russell has a 1.06 era and hitters are batting only .208 off of Dolis thus far on the season.

Nate Jones, Jesse Crain, and Matt Thornton- The rookie Jones has been a pleasant surprise to the Sox and his 1.37 era is evident of that. Crain has just nine innings under his belt this season but hitters are hitting below the Mendoza Line off his pitches, so he earns the spot. The final set-up man job goes to Matt Thornton despite his three blown saves out of necessity and the lack of quality arms to choose from.

The Closer

Addison Reed- Young and inexperienced, but has a lot of talent in his arm and has the ability to strike a hitter out which is essential to success as a late inning reliever, especially a closer. Reed is a perfect four for four in save chances this season and could be a good one for a long time on the Southside.

The bullpen on both sides of town has had it’s fair share of turnover, but combined into one super pen, it actually looks pretty solid on paper. Let me know what you think and how yours would look.

Follow me on Twitter @PatrickASchmidt

Patrick is a diehard sports fan and former football player from Chicago. Patrick is a fan of the Cubs, Bears, Bulls, and Blackhawks and is an avid college football fan, particularly the SEC. Patrick is the host of “The Wake Up Call,” a weekly sports show on Sportstownchicago.com every Wednesday morning from 8-10. View his show’s website here.

Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals: April 24 Recap

Last time the Cubs faced Cards right hander Adam Wainwright 11 days ago the Cubs lit him up like a pinball machine to the tune of eight runs in three innings of work dampening the mood of the Cardinals home opener as Jeff Samardzija grinded through five innings of work to notch his second win of the young campaign.

In a matchup of the two tall right-handers on a brisk April night, runs were at a premium as both starters sawed off bats much of the night. Wainwright gave up one earned run on a Castro sac fly in the first over six innings of work. Meanwhile his counterpart on the other side was one out removed from seven innings of shutout ball.

With the Cubs up on the Cardinals 1-0 with two outs in the top half of the eighth inning in front of the Wrigley Field faithful first year manager Dale Sveum called upon struggling Cubs closer Carlos Marmol for the four out save. Marmol quickly got ahead of Cardinals slugger Matt Holliday 1-2 as the Wrigley crowd rose to their feet in anticipation of the third out Matt Holliday got just enough of a Carlos Marmol. A high slider later evened the count before Holliday took advantage of a hanging slider and deposited it into the first row of the centerfield bleachers as Cubs centerfielder Tony Campana could only leap so high before watching the ball turn into a souvenir.

Marmol walked off the field to end the top portion of the eighth to a healthy smattering of boos from the restless natives.

When it appeared the Cardinals had the game in the palm of their hands, Cubs first baseman Bryan LaHair took the first pitch he saw from Jason Motte into the open arms of the fans in blue in the left center field bleachers, tying up the game.

LaHair rounded the bases with his right forearm in the air reminiscent of Padres first baseman, Steve Garvey whose homer beat the Cubs in the 1984 playoffs.

LaHair’s homerun was the first by a Cub in nine games since he hit a grand slam off Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright.

With the game now in extra innings, Cubs bat boy, I mean centerfielder, Tony Campana singling up the middle and stealing second with one out, the Cubs were in position to send the Wrigley Field faithful, which included Michael Jordan on this night home happy.

With the much maligned Alfonso Soriano up with two outs and down to his last strike he hit a bullet to second base that ate up cards second sacker alive. Tony Campana raced around third and scored the winning run in the tenth giving the Cubs their second walk off win in as many nights vs. the Cardinals.

The 3-2 win brought the Cubs record to 6-12 as the Cardinals fall to 11-7.

The Cubs look for the sweep Wednesday afternoon with the first pitch at 1:20.

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