Another busy one here at the ballpark but hopefully a shorter one tonight. After two rain delays Sunday, we endured a 3-hour, 43-minute debacle last night. We’ll get to some Monday leftovers and our minor-league roundup. As you know by now, the Cubs and Starlin Castro have agreed on their new contract extension that’s worth at least $60 million.
UPDATES: We'll get to some Castro-related quotes below. The Cubs today activated right-handed reliever Blake Parker off the 60-day DL and designated lefty reliever Alex Hinshaw for assignment. Hinshaw had been claimed off waivers from San Diego Aug. 19. Parker had been the DL since June 6 with a right-elbow stress reaction.
Castro gets a $6 million signing bonus plus salaries, beginning next year of: $5 million, $5 million, $6 million, $7 million, $9 million, $10 million and $11 million. There is a club option for $16 million for 2020 or a $1 million buyout if the Cubs don’t pick it up.
The deal takes Castro through what would have been his first four years of salary arbitration and at least the first three years of free agency. The Cubs get cost certainty and possibly significant cost savings if Castro turns out to be a full-fledged star. The player gets long-term security, and he’ll still be young enough to cash in again at the end of the new deal.
You guys know his numbers, and I appreciate the good discussion of those numbers and other stuff on the previous blog. It’s what helps make this the best newspaper baseball blog in Chicago.
We’ll hear from Starlin sometime after 3:30 today. I will update here if I can and also have much more in the paper tomorrow and online late tonight.
MORE UPDATES: Here is what GM Jed Hoyer had to say, in part: “Probably the two hardest things to find are starting pitching, top-of-the-rotation starters and shortstops. The fact that we have one that is so young and talented means a lot. I give a lot of credit to the people that were here before us. They scouted him. They found him. They signed him, and they developed him. They developed a really good player. We were excited when we got here to get to know him as a player, to have him on our team. Building forward for the future, we wanted to make sure he was a big part of that.”
Asked if the Cubs would sign other young players to long-term extensions, Hoyer said: “We made it clear to Starlin we wanted him to be the first one. We’ll certainly entertain it. It’s on a case-by-case basis. We’re not going to start signing players without feeling like they’re proven to us that they’re a significant part of our future.”
On to Monday leftovers. There were some things that jumped out at me (in addition to baseballs jumping off Milwaukee bats and out of the ballpark). We can deal with the humorous first, and that was outfielder Joe Mather pitching the ninth inning. We’ll get to the non-humorous side of that in a bit.
“Obviously, it’s never what you want to do,” Joe said. “I know Dale (manager Sveum) doesn’t want to have someone come in and throw like that.”
Mather was the first Cubs position player to pitch since IF Gary Gaetti on July 3, 1999 at Philadelphia. I covered that game in Philly, and it was just as the Cubs were beginning an epic fall after getting off to a 32-23 start.
Mather joked that his first pitch was a hanging curveball. But I did mention to him that it looked like he was not messing around out there.
“I think it goes back to your childhood and you want to be competitive,” he said. “You want to get the team out of the situation we’re in, and you want to get those guys out. So you can’t really help but go out there and want to beat the guy you’re facing.”
As far as the non-humorous side, Sveum was not at all happy with the work of relievers Alex Hinshaw and Lendy Castillo. Hinshaw gave up consecutive homers in the ninth to Ryan Braun, Aramis Ramirez and Corey Hart. He did not retire any of the five batters he faced. Rule 5 pick Castillo gave up 3 hits and 4 runs while walking two in two-thirds of an inning. Before that, Michael Bowden, Alberto Cabrera and Manny Corpas pitched OK.
What Sveum was trying to do was avoid using Shawn Camp and James Russell, both of whom have logged heavy workloads this year.
“Those guys are going to have to pitch when we’re losing,” said Sveum. “We can’t just keep throwing Camp and Corpas and Russell and those guys in those games. Those (other) guys have to somehow get through those innings. Obviously, we couldn’t accomplish that.
“We’ve got to find a way to hold teams down because we’re not going to be very good when Camp and Russell and those guys can’t pitch. The rest of those guys have got to start getting some outs.”
Travis Wood goes tonight against the Brewers. Cubs lineup:
Darwin Barney has gone a single-season franchise-record 112 straight games without an error at second base. That’s just one shy of the National League season record set by San Diego’s David Eckstein in 2010. Barney’s streak spans 901.1 innings, with his last error at second base coming April 17 at Florida. Ryne Sandberg has the all-time franchise mark of 123 straight errorless games at second, set over 1989-90.
Class AAA Iowa fell 4-3 at Nashville. Seth McClung took the loss, working 5 innings and giving up 8 hits and 4 runs. Greg Rohan hit his fourth homer for the I-Cubs. Dave Sappelt hit his seventh.
Tennessee (AA) beat Mobile 5-3. Dae-Eun Rhee got the win, working 5 innings and giving up 8 hits and 2 runs, 1 earned. He’s 9-8 with a 4.95 ERA. Jae-Hoon Ha hit his sixth homer, a 3-run shot in the first inning. Junior Lake and Logan Watkins each was 2-for-4.
Daytona (A) was rained out again. Peoria (A) won its third straight, 7-3 over Wisconsin. Starling Peralta got the win, pitching 6 innings and giving up 3 hits and 2 runs. He’s 5-8 with a 3.35 ERA. Jacob Rogers hit his second homer in two days.
"We’ve been trying to get him to be more patient and hit the ball to the middle or the other way," Chiefs hitting coach Barbaro Garbey told the Peoria Journal Star. "Today, we were working on the breaking ball machine before the game, and it happened that he hit the breaking ball (for the home run)."
Jorge Soler was 1-for-3, a double and a stolen base.
Playoff bound Boise (A) was off. Mesa (Rookie) beat the Giants 3-1. Ryan McNeil worked 4 hitless and scoreless innings, walking three and striking out two. Yasiel Balaguert hit his second homer.
The Idaho Statesman had a nice feature on the Hawks, who were 13-25 in the first half of the Northwest League season.
“They learned how to win,” manager Mark Johnson told the paper. The Hawks will take on Yakima in the first round of the playoffs.