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Starlin Castro doesn’t want to be here

Raise your hand if you’re surprised [Nobody raises hand]

Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

This should sound familiar: a Miami Marlins everyday player at/near the prime of his career would rather go to a contending team.

Last month, it was catcher J.T. Realmuto, and there have been persistent whispers (and non-verbal signs) from outfielder Christian Yelich. According to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, second baseman Starlin Castro is now singing the same tune:

Castro—and his contract—arrived in Miami from the New York Yankees to offset some of Giancarlo Stanton’s contract. The Marlins also acquired prospects Jorge Guzman and Jose Devers in the trade. Entering his age-28 season, the former All-Star is owed $10 million in 2018 and $11 million in 2019 with a $16 million club option for 2020 ($1 million buyout).

Rosenthal references Castro’s time with the Chicago Cubs. They failed to top 75 wins in each of his first five MLB seasons. When the franchise finally turned the corner with a postseason berth in 2015, he no longer had a starting job. The Cubs dealt him to the Yankees the following winter.

Because Castro debuted in the majors so early (shortly after his 20th birthday), he offers a somewhat unique combination of track record and youth. During the past two campaigns, he batted .283/.317/.442 (101 wRC+) and produced 2.9 fWAR. It’s not unreasonable to expect him to sustain that for the remainder of his current contract. He can be a useful piece...if you’re willing to live with his defense.

Moving Castro prior to Opening Day could lead to an expanded role for utility guys Derek Dietrich and Miguel Rojas. It also improves the odds that minor league signings like Yadiel Rivera and Cristhian Adames make the active roster.