2018 would see a completely new looking Miami Marlins on the field. A combination of rookies, new prospects via trade, and a few veteran holdovers would start on opening day.
Joining those veterans on opening day was second baseman Starlin Castro, late of the New York Yankees. He came over in the trade for Giancarlo Stanton with two minor leaguers, Jorge Guzman and Jose Devers.
When Castro first joined the Marlins, there was a substantial plurality who thought that he wouldn’t ever appear in a Miami Marlins game. Instead, he ranks with the team-leaders in games played, behind only Brian Anderson with 135.
Offensively, Castro is enjoying arguably the best season of his nine-year MLB career. His slashline is slightly above his career marks. He’s slashing .287/.339/.410 this year, versus a .282/.320/.413 mark through his first eight seasons. For the eighth straight season, he’s racked up double-digit homers. He has 11 with four weeks left in the season, and should add three or four through September. The four-time all-star has made the all star team as both a shortstop and as a second baseman. His 3.3 oWAR ranks as the second highest mark of his career, after the 4.1 he put up for the Chicago Cubs in 2011. It also ranks second on the Marlins, behind only J.T. Realmuto‘s 4.4.
There are naysayers that say Castro simply clogs up the middle of the infield defensively, and that he has no range. Undoubtedly, his offense is the greater part of his overall package. His dWAR is just above replacement level, at 0.1. However, his adjusted Total Zone Total Fielding Runs Above Average per 1,200 Inn (Rtot/yr) has him ranked as the averagest of the average, with a mark of zero. His current Range Factor per Game of 4.14 ranks fifth in the National League.
The Trade That Never Was
As the non-waiver trade deadline fast approached, Castro was earmarked by those in-the-know as a key piece for a contender making a run at the playoffs. Brad Ziegler was sent to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Tommy Eveld, and Cameron Maybin became a Seattle Mariner for cash and Bryson Brigman. Despite those moves, which showed the Marlins were willing to deal, the Los Angeles Angels, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Milwaukee Brewers, and the Arizona Diamondbacks all passed on Castro, who represented at the time an upgrade over their present options.
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…and so we were more than 50 percent sure that Castro would likely be traded prior to the “other” trade deadline, prior to the September 1st roster expansion. However, that “deadline” came and passed as well, and Castro is still in the lineup, threatening .300 as the season winds down.
Castro could easily wind up getting dealt during the 2018-2019 offseason, but we’ve been here before. His contract runs through next season, and I think it’s more likely than not that he becomes a rental for a contender down the 2019 stretch run. The Miami Marlins will not contend next season, but they will come within spitting distance of .500. Castro is not a piece of the post-2019 Miami Marlins picture.
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