OK, I’m being a wisenheimer. But Starlin Castro will get seven years—to play for the Chicago Cubs. (OK, there are those who’d consider that a prison sentence . . . ) Seven years and, we can presume, delicious dollars enough. Whether that’s a contract or a sentence depends on your point of view and, of course, the Cubs’ coming fortunes, or lack thereof.
The deal covers Castro’s four arbitration-eligible seasons and his first year of free agency eligibility. The Cubs haven’t yet released the actual terms officially, other than a club option for 20/20, but various reports say the deal is worth $60 million plus a $1 million buyout. Surely, though, the Cubs hope the option year won’t come to equal 20/20 hindsight’s customary regrets.
The deal is also said to include a $6 million signing bonus to be divided as $3 million up front and $1 million each in the next three seasons, with an extra $2 million in the deal’s final year if Castro either wins the MVP or finishes top five two straight seasons.
In just his third full major league season Castro’s been a two-time All-Star and has the most hits (486) of any National League player, including the 207 with which he led the league last season. Before Tuesday night Castro was hitting .276 with 63 RBI and 12 home runs, not to mention 2.7 wins above a replacement-level player. The Cubs are probably banking on the shortstop ramping it up big approaching his absolute prime seasons.