With the 2019 season within sight and the possibility of Starlin Castro moving on during the season, the Marlins second baseman is taking things as they come this Spring.
The veteran who is the only MLB player named in the trade that sent Giancarlo Stanton to the New York Yankees last year comes to Spring Training this year knowing this may be his last season in South Florida.
There was plenty of speculation during the off-season that the Marlins may cut ties with their infielder. Nothing has been done yet, however it is believed he will be traded by the MLB trade deadline in July. What Castro plans to do during his time with this young ball club is to play hard, help this team win, and continue to be a leader on the field and in the clubhouse.
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"“I’m just trying to take everything in a positive way,” Castro said via MLB.com. “I come in here every day. I try to work every day and help the young guys we have here. I’m not trying to put anything negative in my mind. I’m coming in here ready to play.”"
The Marlins have gotten a bit older this offseason with the additions of outfielder Curtis Granderson and infielder Neil Walker. These moves, plus another season for the youngsters on the team’s current roster could mean more wins in 2019. As the team continues to grow, it will be the veterans of the organization who must steady a rocky ship under manager Don Mattingly.
Castro’s contract is a reason for concern for the front office as he is one of the highest players on the team. The 28-year-old is set to make $11 million this season and then $16 million in 2020 before he can test free agency. Given the Marlins desire to keep its payroll small and the hope the team can become an active player in the free agent market in 2020 or 2021, they cannot afford to keep him on the roster past this season.
A trade to a contender is the most logical solution and would give Castro a chance to seek a playoff run once again.
"“Starlin’s been great,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “This is a guy who loves to play. Plays every day. He had a good year, honestly.”"
Castro’s play last season is exactly what the Marlins needed as they revamped their roster with a younger group of budding player. He played 154 games and slashing .278/.329/.400 with 12 home runs, 32 doubles and 54 RBIs.
The Marlins have solid infield prospects in Isan Diaz and Joe Dunand who may be nipping at Castro’s heels. It is likely that Diaz, who is regarded as one of the best second base prospects in the minors, could make the Marlins MLB roster at some point this season. He is the future of this ballclub at second.
"“It’s an honor to be in a position where you can learn from such a veteran as Castro,” Diaz said. “It’s something that a lot of guys don’t get an opportunity to have. With Castro, you can learn a lot from him. He’s played with a lot of organizations. I think it’s a good thing for me right now.”"