Perhaps lost in the excitement of the trade that sent 2017 NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton to the Yankees was the trading of Yankees starting 2B Starlin Castro.
Ever since Castro broke into the league at the ripe age of 20, I’ve always loved watching him. His aggression and also his mechanics at the plate, the way he attacks the ball and it jumps off of his bat, have kept me intrigued since he was a Cub. At age 27 and about to enter his 9th MLB season, Castro has had a very solid career. He has slashed a career .282/.320/.413 to go along with 99 home runs and just under 500 RBIs. Even in an injury-riddled season last year, Castro was able to reach .300 for the 3rd time in his career to go along with 16 home runs and 63 RBIs, even managing a 2 bWAR. His OPS+ of 106 was the second highest in his career, and he was even named an all-star, his fourth career appearance.
The Yankees have been spoiled at the second base position over the last 12 years, due to Castro and Robinson Cano. Although Castro will never have the same place in Yankees’ fans heart that Cano did, he had some big moments himself. His absolute bomb in his return to Wrigley. His diving plays up the middle. Charging and bare-handing to get runners out. We will always remember his 9th inning, 2 run, game tying homer against the Orioles in the epic 8 run comeback win. Oh, and he hit it on one knee, a la Adrian Beltre.
My personal favorite moment from Starlin Castro on the field was his incredible diving tag against the Red Sox, where he caught the ball from Sanchez, dove, and tagged the stealing Tzu-Wei Lin, seemingly all in one motion. There were countless moments where Castro amazed me, amazed Yankees fans.
Filling first the shoes of Robinson Cano and now Starlin Castro will be no easy task. I believe several Yankees fans have taken for granted just how good Castro was at the plate for us. His defense was sometimes frustrating due to seemingly lack of hustle, but it would soon made up for with plays only a former shortstop could make. Having two guys in the middle infield hitting over 20 home runs was a huge luxury, and the Yankees now can only hope Gleyber Torres lives up to his potential. We will miss you and I’m sure Didi will miss his “Stepbrother”. Your time playing for the Yankees, although shortened, was important. After Cano left it seemed hopeless to find that replacement, but Starlin Castro soon stepped up to the plate. I hope I speak on behalf of all Yankees fans when I say this: thank you, Starlin, for your time in pinstripes.
(Video credit: MLB.com)