Cubs' Castro must go, for all concerned
The Cubs have to trade Starlin Castro for his sake and theirs.
Let's think about how we can explain this. Hmmm. OK, here goes.
Castro is a threat to Wrigley Field the way emerald ash borer is to some suburbs.
He's infected and infectious.
The Cubs' curse that has spread through this franchise for decades has wrapped its hands around the young shortstop and can't be expected to let go.
Kerry Wood was inflicted, too, and had to retire recently. Ryan Dempster is and has to be surgically removed via trade or free agency. Apparently nothing can be done about Alfonso Soriano except to let him rot away to his roots in left field.
Jeff Samardzija? Well, the Cubs can only hope that he is a mighty oak immune to the outbreak.
Castro hasn't been so fortunate, as events of the past week demonstrated.
First, a baserunning blunder. Then, forgetting the number of outs in an inning. Overall, suffering a bad case of brain cramps.
These are baseball boo-boos that Castro likely rarely made in his native Dominican Republic, in the minor leagues or in his worst nightmares.
Yet here he is, with the Cubs little more than a couple of years and playing like he forgot which end of the standings is up.
That's a quintessential Cubs malady, isn't it?
Theo Epstein, the Cubs' president in charge of curing all ills, is planting the seeds of a new culture and can't risk having a daffy-odil seed in the mix.
Castro already has manager Dale Sveum, who kept him in the starting lineup Tuesday night, concerned over what to do with him. Teammates are confused over what's rattling around in the 22-year-old's head.
One option Epstein has is to try to save Castro for the Cubs by drilling a hole in his trunk and injecting chemicals into his system.
However, that would violate Major League Baseball's drug policy.
The better option is to cut Castro down, load him on a truck and haul him off to another major-league parkway.
History indicates that once a Cubs player is out of the Wrigley Field environment, he has a chance to recover from the curse.
A good guess is that's what Epstein and his personnel posse lean toward, even if they won't say so.
The danger of treating the disease instead of dispatching the diseased is giving it time to spread to the new players that the new administration brings into their new organization.
The Cubs' rebuilding essentially is Epstein vs. Curse. The Theocrats are heavy underdogs like all the other geniuses previously brought in to rescue the franchise from its demons.
Epstein can succeed only if he cleanses the Cubs of infected players he inherited.
On the surface, Castro is a tempting candidate to rehabilitate. He's a quality hitter, eventually should add power and can evolve into a plus defender.
The only problem is that the Cubs have cursed him already as evidenced by his recent gaffes.
The risk is that if traded, Castro could turn out to be a Hall of Famer with another team the way Lou Brock and Bruce Sutter did.
So be it.
No. 1 draft choice Albert Almora can't hang out in the same parkway, uh, make that organization with emerald ash borer, uh, make that with an already cursed Cub.
So, yes, Starlin Castro has to be traded before miscalculating outs becomes contagious.