All-Stars Starlin Castro, Anthony Rizzo are on board with Cubs’ ‘patience’ doctrine
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN Staff Reporter July 14, 2014 9:57PM
Chicago Cubs' Starlin Castro, right, high-fives with Anthony Rizzo after his two-run homer against the San Diego Padres during the ninth inning of a baseball game won 4-3 by the Padres on Sunday, May 25, 2014, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi) ORG XMIT: CALI116
Updated: July 15, 2014 2:21AM
MINNEAPOLIS — This whole patience thing is wearing thin on Cubs fans, most of whom haven’t seen their team play in a World Series, let alone win one.
Just when they started to win on enough of a regular basis two weeks ago to remind people what competitive baseball feels like, they shipped off All-Star right-hander Jeff Samardzija to the Oakland Athletics and slipped back into lousy again.
It’s tough being a Cubs fan.
It’s tough being a Cub.
“It’s tough sometimes because we want to win,’’ All-Star shortstop Starlin Castro said Monday at the All-Star media session. “But those people up there, the president and the general manager, they do a pretty good job. Fairly soon we’ll be a good team because we have a lot of great, young players. They’re all about preparation.’’
Preparing for sustained success makes sense, but when you are an All-Star talent, sustained losing can strain your patience.
“I believe in them, but it’s tough to lose,’’ Castro said. “We keep grinding.’’
Excuse All-Star first baseman Anthony Rizzo for sounding like a company man when he agrees with Castro, but he seems to get what management is doing, too. He doesn’t have to like it, but he understands it.
“Obviously, you want to win,’’ Rizzo said from the table next to Castro’s. “It’s winning first and then everything else. But [patience is] what you have to have in this game. Our front office is very smart. They know what they’re doing.”
Cubs fans want to see minor-league prospects who seem ready now, such as third baseman Kris Bryant, in a major-league uniform.
“They had some patience with me,” said Rizzo, who hit .342 at Class AAA Iowa in 2012 after the Cubs acquired him from the San Diego Padres. Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer knew he brought Rizzo up too soon when he was the Padres’ GM and wasn’t going to rush him this time.
“I wasn’t called up and did great my first go-around [with the Cubs],’’ Rizzo said. “We’re in the right direction. The whole organization knows it, and we feel it.’’
For Castro and Rizzo, this two-day getaway on one of the game’s big stages is refreshing. Both have been through rough times. Rizzo, after agreeing to a seven-year, $41 million deal in May 2013, finished the season with a .233 average, although he hit 23 homers and 40 doubles. Castro hit a career-low .245.
“A lot of people write you off in this game,’’ Rizzo said. “It’s unfair, but it is what it is. For Castro, I’m happy for him because he’s got a lot better at shortstop, too. And that’s a big key for our team. We’re both happy to be here.’’
Castro was asked if he felt anxious about the Cubs’ surplus of young shortstop prospects with Javy Baez and Addison Russell, who was acquired in the
Samardzija trade. He is, after all, an All-Star.
“No, no,’’ he said. “Last year helped my mentality for all of those things. I have a strong mind, and I’ve learned a lot about the game. And nobody can put me down. I know who I am and I know what I can do.’’
Just you wait and see.