The addition of Starlin Castro gives the New York Yankees youth, and talent up the middle, while not surrendering any top prospects.
By Skylar Darel
The New York Yankees finally made a big splash during the 2015 Hot Stove season flipping swingman Adam Warren and infielder Brenden Ryan to the Chicago Cubs for three-time All-Star second baseman Starlin Castro.
There are several pros to the trade.
For one, the Yankees continue to bolster their youth movement. Castro is only 25 years old, and joins guys like Greg Bird, Luis Severino, Didi Gregorius, and eventually Aaron Judge in the Yankee influx of young talent. Castro has, as previously stated, made three All-Star appearances, and won Rookie of the Year in 2010.
Castro also has a career .281 batting average and has hit over .300 twice in his career. Last season, the Yankees best hitter for average was Carlos Beltran, at .276. Castro also caught fire at the end of last season, hitting .353 and recording a .968 OPS over the last 44 games of the season.
All in all, it was a very successful campaign for Castro, who was often overshadowed by breakout stars Kris Bryant and Addison Russell. Castro actually recorded his lowest walk-strikeout ratio, at 0.23.
Another positive regarding Castro is his versatility. He started at shortstop for his entire career until recently, when Addison Russell’s emergence forced him to move to second. Castro did struggle at first, posting a -0.8 Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR), according to Fangraphs. However, he only started 29 games at second, after starting over 800 at shortstop. It takes time to adjust.
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) December 9, 2015
More importantly, Castro represents an upholding of New York’s philosophy. The MLB is a changing landscape; in order to win the title, teams need to do so as the result of a bolstered farm system brimming with young talent.
Look at three of the final four teams in this years postseason. The New York Mets, Kansas City Royals, and Chicago Cubs, all have boatloads of young talent.
The last team to win the World Series via free agency splashes?
You have to go all the way back to 2009, when the Yankees won it all after signing CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, and AJ Burnett in the same offseason. Since then, cultivated farm systems and strong starting pitching have been the mold of the teams who hoist the commissioner’s trophy each October. Castro’s remaining contract, however, isn’t too taxing:
Starlin Castro has a VERY team-friendly contract: 2016: $7M 2017: $9M 2018: $10M 2019: $11M 2020: $16M
— SportsBlogNewYork (@SportBlogNYC) December 9, 2015
The Yankees main brass has taken notice. Per Brian Heyman of Newsday, Yankees President Randy Levine: “So I think you can win — and I think you need a blend of good young players and veterans and a lot of luck to go through the playoffs.”
A blend of good young players and veterans is exactly what general manager Brian Cashman is building in the Bronx. Castro joins Gregorius, Severino, Bird, Nathan Eovaldi, Aaron Hicks, Dellin Betances, Michael Pineda, and Masahiro Tanaka as key Yankees under the age of thirty.
Add them to a solid veteran cast including Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann, Chase Headley, and Jacoby Ellsbury, and you have just what the doctor ordered.
This Yankees team has the youth and experience blend necessary to go out and win the title. With Castro, they have brought in a perennial All-Star infielder who could spearhead the Yankee offense for years to come. The Yankees are making strides to return to their former greatness, and the Starlin Castro trade was certainly a step in the right direction.