Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro has been in one of the worst slumps of his career over the past three months, has since learned the front office has dangled him in trade talks all over baseball, and then got double-switched out of Tuesday night’s loss to the Rockies in the eighth inning – setting off social media speculation all over again.
By the time he got to the postgame clubhouse he was in no mood to chat with reporters and declined interviews until Wednesday.
Whether he’s around by then – or off to Miami or San Diego in a trade for pitching – the Cubs’ roster is in shakeup mode leading up to Friday’s trading deadline.
“It’s interesting this time of year, I understand that,” said manager Joe Maddon, who said he double-switched Castro out only because he wanted to leave pinch-hitter Chris Coghlan in the game after his pinch homer in the pitcher’s spot and that’s how the lineup worked.
“Even if there was something that I knew I wouldn’t say anything anyway,” Maddon said. “I think conjecture’s great for the game. It’s tough for Starlin that his name’s mentioned so often. That’s where it becomes difficult.”
The Cubs’ increasingly desperate need for another starting pitcher may force the front office to step up efforts by the time the fifth starter spot comes up again – after AAA pitcher Dallas Beeler got shelled in barely an inning of work.
The Cubs next need a starter Sunday in Milwaukee, and Travis Wood – the fifth starter when the season started and an impressive performer in a bullpen role since – could be considered for that.
“I’d prefer that he would not be,” Maddon said. “But you have to consider that it may happen, yes.”
Javy Baez, the slugging middle infielder at AAA who broke his finger in early June, hit two homers in his return from the DL for Iowa on Tuesday and put an intriguing option into the roster plans this week – maybe Wednesday when Maddon says the Cubs are considering adding a position player to that side of the roster.
–Right-hander Neil Ramirez, who missed two months this season with a shoulder injury, was unable to warm up for work in Wednesday’s game, and Maddon did not rule out a DL move.
–Reliever Yoervis Medina was optioned to AAA Iowa to make room on the roster for Beeler. If Ramirez goes on the DL, he would be eligible to return.
–Castro, by the way, got the benefit of a scoring change from Monday’s game, giving him a third hit.