(Remember last season when second base was considered a black hole in the Bronx?
When Stephen Drew had 17 home runs but barely got off the Interstate with a .201 average?
This off-season, Brian Cashman knew something had to be done and proceeded to make one of the shrewdest moves during the winter, acquiring Starlin Castro from the Cubs for Adam Warren and Brendan Ryan.
During the first three games of the season, the 26 year-old is proving Cashman’s faith, as he tore up the Astros for a .583 (7-12) average with two homers and eight RBI.
Safe to say after three games, he’s been the Yankees MVP.
“I feel good at the plate,” Castro said. “Just coming here every day to the ballpark and I’m giving my 100 percent all the time.”
More importantly, Castro may be the poster child of what the Yankees want when they go out and acquire a player. Young, athletic, under control with a reasonable contract, Castro is signed through 2020 and is only making $7 million this season which goes up reasonably over the three ensuring seasons.
On a team filled with bad contracts and one the hill players, this is guy the Yankees desperately need.
Now, he’s not going to hit .500 forever and Castro will come down closer to his career norms of around .281 with 10 to 15 homers and around 70 RBI. From your No. 8 hitter, you will take it.
Heck that wouldn’t be bad from your guy hitting second.
“It’s pretty impressive of what he’s done. You are talking about a guy who just turned 26 and he has near 1000 hits,” said reliever Dellin Betances. “He’s done a phenomenal job and he now how guys like A-Rod and (Carlos) Beltran that he can talk to on a regular basis.”
Defensively, Castro should be able to hold his own. He only moved to second base the middle of last season when the Cubs switched him and Addison Russell. That’s when the infielder seemed to get focused and became a more complete player.
“I feel real good,” Castro said. “I feel really great. I try to make every play. Don’t be crazy out there. It’s tough because of the cold weather. Just try to make an easy throw.”
Castro is definitely a solid piece. Add Didi Gregorious next to him and Jacoby Elsbury in center and the Yankees have a solid up the middle defense that will be together for a while.
With big money coming off the books with Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran walking after this season and Alex Rodriguez and CC Sabathia after next year, the Yankees will be looking to spend, especially on a pitcher or two with Greg Bird and Aaron Judge waiting in the wings to take first base and right field, respectively.
That type of up the middle battery will be very attractive to say a Stephen Strasberg, Jose Fernandez or Matt Harvey when they hit the market.
All of this means the future can look bright in the Bronx and there probably won’t be a full rebuild like those that happened in Queens, Chicago’s North Side or Houston.
It means the Yankees will be competitive rather quickly, which is what they have been saying all along.