suntimes
CHARMING 
Weather Updates

Truth is, Cubs have no untouchables

An overpaying general manager might be able convince Cubs thStarlCastro is available. John J. Kim~Sun-Times

An overpaying general manager might be able to convince the Cubs that Starlin Castro is available. John J. Kim~Sun-Times

storyidforme: 31397698
tmspicid: 11417054
fileheaderid: 4863601

TONIGHT

CUBS AT GIANTS

The facts: 9:15, Ch. 9, 720-AM.

The pitchers: Paul Maholm (4-3, 4.62 ERA)
vs. Madison Bumgarner (5-4, 3.14).

THE REST OF THE SERIES All games on 720-AM

Saturday: 6:15 p.m., Fox-32. Matt Garza (2-3, 4.22) vs. Matt Cain (5-2, 2.79).

Sunday: 3:05 p.m., Ch. 9. Travis Wood (0-1, 5.94) vs. Barry Zito (4-2, 3.41).

Monday: 2:45 p.m., CSN. Jeff Samardzija (5-3, 3.09) vs. Ryan Vogelsong (3-2, 2.36).

Updated: July 6, 2012 10:14AM



I drove by Yale once.

Never went in.

Championship rings? I don’t have two, let alone one.

I have yet to walk on water for any extended period of time.

I am not Theo Epstein.

And on Thursday, that wasn’t such a bad thing.

The Cubs’ president of everything baseball had to tell his first public fib, even if it was for the betterment of Starlin Castro’s psyche.

With a USA Today report floating around that Castro was available in a trade if a team wanted to pay a steep cost, the Sun-Times’ Gordon Wittenmyer reached out to Epstein and was given this quote via e-mail: “Castro is one of the core players we are building around. Nothing has changed. We look forward to Starlin wearing a Cubs uniform for a long time.’’

Or until a blockbuster deal comes along and Epstein sends Crane Kenney and his red Swingline stapler to the clubhouse to help Castro pack.

There are no untouchables on the Cubs’ roster. Not one. Not Matt Garza, not Jeff Samardzija and not Castro.

Actually, the only untouchable is Epstein because the Cubs paid a hefty price to get him and have handed him the keys to the house, the car and the run-down ballpark.

But when the team is 18-32 and admittedly in rebuilding mode, there is no such thing as untouchable. Your core is as strong as another general manager willing to overpay for an asset.

This team is not one year away, and it’s likely not two or three years away. This is a rebuild, folks, and as much as Cubs fans insisted that they were prepared for it, that dam of patience is already springing some leaks.

Moving Garza is a no-brainer considering he’s under club control for one more year before becoming a free agent.

Samardzija is under control through 2015, but his star might never shine brighter than now. Until this season, he was an adequate reliever. To hitch the wagon to him after only two months without seeing what type of adjustments the league will make to him, no thanks.

Then there’s Castro.

He’s an All-Star shortstop whose glove is slowly catching up to his bat. But Epstein can’t look me in the eye and say that if a team called with a Matt Moore-like pitcher and a Jurickson Profar-type shortstop for Castro, he wouldn’t jump.

The Cubs won’t move Castro not because he’s untouchable, but because there’s not a team willing to pay the ransom Epstein would want for him.

But Castro as part of some mythical Cubs core?

Not buying it. Cores get rotten, too.



© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit www.suntimesreprints.com. To order a reprint of this article, click here.