Alright, they didn’t say exactly that, but they did say he has “regressed.” On ESPN 1000’s “Waddle and Silvy”, Theo said (via Doug Padilla from ESPNChicago.com),
“Failure is innate in baseball; it’s inevitable. It’s actually an important part in the development of the development process. Starlin is someone who went very quickly through the upper minor leagues. If you look at the number of at-bats he had at the Double-A and Triple-A level, there are not very many and he was in the big leagues instantly and had success.”
Actually, Starlin Castro didn’t have any at-bats at Iowa because he was called up from the Smokies in 2010, skipping right over Triple A. Theo also talked about the value of such a slump.
“Because he never failed, he never had to make adjustments as an offensive player and he’s going through that now; he’s struggling. He’s well below the high standards he has set for himself. That means it’s failure, it’s a slump and it’s incumbent on him to work his way out of it and for us to help put him in a position where he can get out of it and I think that he will, and he will be a better player in the long run because of it.”
Dale Sveum was asked about Theo’s comments and agreed with the assessment. From Paul Sullivan in the Chicago Tribune…
“By numbers alone he’s regressed, there’s no question about it. He’s getting way, way down as far as all the other shortstops in baseball right now, as far as the offensive part. He’s under a .600 OPS. So that would go without saying that he’s regressed.”
While neither talked glowingly about Castro’s present, they didn’t say anything that should worry anyone about his future. The major takeaway is that Starlin is struggling and in the long run, he should be better for it.
The current ramifications of his struggles are tied to the team’s success. Since Starlin Castro is such an integral part of the offense, no matter where he hits in the line-up, his success or failure is going to be directly tied to the team’s success or failure, and it will remain that way for at least the next year. In some ways, it would seem that the Cubs’ early failures offensively can be tied to Castro’s struggles and at the same time his struggles can be tied to the early offensive failures. He isn’t hitting well, so the offense looks weak, but because the offense is weak and Starlin knows his value in the line-up every day, he pushes himself harder to perform and doesn’t stay within himself to perform at the level he is accustomed to.
At this point, Starlin Castro is the least of the Cubs’ problems. There is no reason to think he won’t be the hitter he is capable of. Even if he stays at a .290/.340/.430 level for the rest of his career, which is on par with the numbers he put up through his first three seasons, he’ll be one of the most productive short stops in the game and be a bargain at the contract extension he signed last season. Eventually, he’ll come out of the slump. Hopefully, it’ll happen soon. The Astros are in this weekend and the Cubs are in Milwaukee next week…and those are some slump busting pitching staffs.