Miami Marlins: The Curious Case of Trading Starlin Castro

MIAMI, FL - MAY 13: Starlin Castro #13 of the Miami Marlins throws to first base in the fourth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Marlins Park on May 13, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - MAY 13: Starlin Castro #13 of the Miami Marlins throws to first base in the fourth inning against the Atlanta Braves at Marlins Park on May 13, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

Starlin Castro has been traded twice in his major league career. Both times he has gone from an elite team contending for a title to an organization that is either rebuilding as in the case of the 2018 Marlins or retooling as were the 2016 Yankees. 

After the 2015 season, Starlin Castro was traded from the Cubs to the Yankees after falling out of favor in Chicago due to the arrival of Addison Russell and Javier Baez. After 2017, the Yankees dealt Castro to the Miami Marlins to help offset Giancarlo Stanton’s money going to New York.

This has left the 28-year-old four-time All-Star, on a barren Miami Marlins roster. Many people are looking for the Marlins to deal their new star second baseman. Unfortunately for the Marlins, the market for Castro is a rather tricky one to figure out.

What is Castro’s Trade Value?

This is a very interesting question to ask and a tough question to accurately answer. While Castro has piled up awards and accolades, his underlying metrics tell us a very different story about what type of player he actually is.

When it comes to second basemen, Castro is in the middle of the pack just about any way that you cut it.

Last year, out of the 34 second basemen that raked up at least 400 plate appearances, Castro was 21st in overall WAR. Castro only played in 112 games which lowered his overall WAR on the season. On a 162 game scale, he would have accumulated 2.74 WAR. By this measure, Castro would rank 16th in the league at second base.

While WAR is a very effective catch-all statistic, we can break Castro down a little further on both sides of the ball.

On offense in 2017, Castro had a wRC+ of 110 with a wOBA of .338 which were both ranked 13th at his position. While you can’t argue that Castro has tremendous bat on ball skills, his entire offensive profile doesn’t make him elite.

Castro goes to the plate looking to hit, his walk rate at 4.9% is 30th out of all second basemen. Without the pure power to make up for the lack of walks (his slugging percentage at .454 is 10th out of all second basemen), Castro is left with an offensive profile that is just above league average.

On the defensive side, Castro fares even worse. Out of 39 second basemen (min. 400 innings played in the field), Castro ranked in dead last with a UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating) of -5.9 and in 35th with -6 DRS (Defensive Runs Saved).

What Does the Market Look Like?

Few teams that are competing currently have a hole at second base. Two teams that I can see being a player for Castro at the deadline are the Dodgers and the Diamondbacks.

Both teams are battling for N.L. West crown and so far, the Diamondbacks are sitting in first. The Dodgers are eight games out in fourth place.

To keep the Diamondbacks season rolling along, they can use an injection of life into the middle of their order. They currently rank 24th in team wRC+ and are dead last with a wRC+ of 75 over the last two weeks.

Their starting middle infield of Nick Ahmed (.216/.285/.416) and Ketel Marte (.220/.281/.312) are off to rough starts at the plate. If they continue their struggles down the stretch, look for the D-backs to look and solve their problem via an outside solution.

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Logan Forsythe is coming back from a shoulder injury for the Dodgers very soon. While he was gone, Chase Utley has been a solid replacement at second base. If the Dodgers want to climb out of the eight-game hole they are in, second base is a position they can upgrade.

Much of this decision rest in the hands of Forsythe, if he can show that he can hit like he did with the Rays there will be no need for Castro. Unfortunately for the Dodgers, the aging veteran is not looking too promising. In 131 career games with the Dodgers, he has an OPS+ of 78. That is compared to an OPS+ of 110 in 390 games as a Ray.

Finishing the Season with the Miami Marlins?

The market for Castro may never truly materialize with the situation being what it is. This would leave him finishing off the season as a Marlin, leaving Jeter and the front office to revisit the situation in the offseason.

If that does end up happening, it is not the worst case scenario for Miami Marlins fans. Castro is still an exciting player to watch who is playing really well. The Fish Family should still be able to appreciate him for the player that he is.

Next: What the Miami Marlins should be looking for in 2018

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