The Chicago Cubs of 2008, the team that was a juggernaut up until late August; who finished just shy of 100 wins before performing the ultimate choke job of all choke jobs, are pretty much gone. The high-priced, built to win now team is almost entirely turned over in just three short years. Most of the starting rotation is gone, as is the bullpen.
Aramis Ramirez is the only infielder left, but he’s not expected to produce as much of the offense as he did back three years ago. Same with Alfonso Soriano, who’s disgustingly bloated contract, by far the worst investment in Cubs history, has has morphed from tragedy to farce today. Jim Edmonds, Derrek Lee and the “ot boys” are all gone.
And in their place is a young nucleus with the names Darwin Barney, Tyler Colvin, Marlon Byrd and Starlin Castro. That’s the future of the Cubs, especially that last one.
By Paul M. Banks
Castro, whose bobblehead was given away Tuesday at Wrigley Field, led the Major Leagues with a .615 (8-for-13) batting average and a .643 on-base percentage through baseball’s opening week.
His eight hits were also tops in the Majors while his 1.000 slugging percentage and 13 total bases led the National League. On Friday, April 1st, the 21-year-old began his sophomore campaign with a 3-for-5 effort in his first career Opening Day start. On Saturday, April 2nd, Castro ignited a five-run rally with an RBI double in the bottom of the eighth, helping the Cubs defeat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-3 for their first win of the season. The Dominican Republic native went 3-for-4 with two triples on Sunday’s series finale, marking his third multi-hit performance in as many games. This earned the first major-leaguer born in the 1990s the MLB player of the week award.
Castro was signed by the Cubs as a non-drafted free agent on October 25, 2006 by scout Jose Serra and has reached the big leagues after 264 minor league contests.
And yes, that’s a lot of knowledge and stats. What I don’t know however, is why Castro’s walk-up music is “The Imperial March,” from “Star Wars.” (Darth Vader’s theme.) Is it a pun on DeathStar and the first part of his first name?
Probably not as, coincidentally Ramon Castro used it when he was with the New York Mets. Must be something with the last name.
He does a regular guest spot each week for Chicagoland Sports Radio.com You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbankFollow paulmbanks