The Cubs announced they have agreed to a 7-year contract with shortstop Starlin Castro with a club option for 2020.
The deal, which was concluded to 10 days ago, contains guaranteed money at $60 million over the duration of the agreement. It includes $1 million in a buyout, a source recounted.
The contract option calls for an 8th season at $16 million, a source said. Castro will receive a $6 million signing bonus, which includes $3 million up front and $1 million payments for the next 3 years. If he wins the MVP or finishes in the top five 2 consecutive years, $2 million is added to the year of his contract and the option, according to a source.
The deal covers Castro’s 4 arbitration seasons as well as his 1st 3 free-agent seasons.
“The way it was looking, Starlin would be a free agent far too early,” Pups GM Jed Hoyer announced. “He’s a very big part of our future and we had 4 years of control over him after this year. By doing this agreement we now have 8.
“… He’s one of the players we’re building around and we are excited to have him as a Cub for a long period of time and he’s a big part of our future. We’re building a young core and Starlin’s right in the middle of that. We’re really happy about it. This is about him. It’s actually not about me. But this is a good day for the Chicago Cubs.”
Castro’s on-field focus has been questioned, most significantly in a nationally-televised game last season when cameras caught him with his back to the plate as a pitch was being delivered. Baseball odds
Regardless of the occasional bouts with immaturity, the Cubs feel Castro is going to be a foundation player for a club just beginning its reconstructing process under a new front office regime headed by VP of baseball operations Theo Epstein and Hoyer.
“It’s been fun getting to know Starlin as a person, but also watching him plays each day,” Hoyer recounted. “Shortstop is a really hard position to fill in the current day’s game, particularly with someone who can provide it with offense.
“There is no query in my mind that he can play shortstop in the major leagues on a championship team.”
The 22-year-old 2-time All-Star, a career .296 hitter, is batting .276 with 12 home runs and 63 RBIs this season. He is on pace to reach 500 career hits before the end of the season and would become the 28th player in history to reach that mark before age 23. Castro was the youngest player to steer the National League in hits (207) at age 21 in 2011.
“It’ll be of interest to see if there is any change now that this thing is behind him and he is going to be here for a long time,” expounded Cubs manager Dale Sveum. “When you get that 1st contract, you can relax and understand that there really is only one important thing to play for and that’s winning the World Series.”