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STARLIN CASTRO NEGOTIATES BIG CONTRACT WITH CUBS
Tue, 21 Aug 2012 10:45 PM EDT

Starlin Castro’s reported 7-year, $60 million contract extension with the Cubs may not become official for another week and could take as much as 2 weeks to complete, according to a source familiar with the situation.

Contract language still needs be drafted, and that is making the current delay, the source said.

The negotiation process and eventual deal on an agreement haven’t appeared to lead to a problem for Castro on the field. After a lengthy dry spell that dropped his batting average to .272, Castro has batted .357 with a .984 OPS since Aug. 8.

A recent move to the No. 5 spot in the lineup has helped with his production. Castro has 8 RBIs over his past 10 games after recording 8 RBIs over his previous 20 games.

That type of production in the wake of all the contract noise has to please the Chicago Cubs. End results of a new contract can be two-fold. Players can often ramp up their work ethic thanks to the expectations that come with a bigger pay-day, while some settle into a lull knowing they’re now financially secure. Basketball odds

Cubs boss Dale Sveum has been openly critical of some of Castro’s on-field lapses in concentration but doesn’t seem concerned that a new long-term deal will adversely affect his shortstop as he deals with fame and fortune.

“I assume the fame is already there,” Sveum recounted. “You’re playing in Chicago and are the front-line guy on the Cubs. I think he’s done well. But obviously when you get that kind of cash it’s a whole other (reality) to acknowledge there is a big responsibility that comes with that kind of money and not get carried away.

“You hope that he reacts to the point that he manifestly will be financially secure for the rest of his life, and now you have one more thing to do, and that is to win a World Series, to improve every single day.”

One bonus to vet outfielder Alfonso Soriano being around is that he can help Castro avoid some of the off-the-field pitfalls that come with so much money.

“I just talked to him to love the game and work hard to improve, because money is good, but it does not make you better,” Soriano said. “You have to keep working hard and get better each day. Always the money is there if you play hard and play good. I talked to him to keep doing what you’re doing, working tirelessly and playing hard.

“Don’t stress about the money, because the money will come if you try hard and you’re a good player and if you have a belief in yourself.  But you have got to put the baseball first and the money second.”

Castro has a .276 batting average with 58 runs, 58 RBIs, 12 home runs, 19 stolen bases and an on-base-plus slugging percentage (OPS) of .756. His batting average and OBP have both declined since 2011. In spite of 18 defensive errors, his fielding percentage has increased in each of his first 3 seasons. He has also got a defensive-wins-above-replacement rating (DWAR) of 1.8.


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