MIAMI After Starlin Castro saw the World Series rings the St. Louis Cardinals received, he thought about how good one of those would look with a Cubs logo.
Even though the Cubs shortstop plays for a franchise burdened by history, he looks at the game in terms of: Why not?
Ozzie Guillen knows as well as anyone what its like to play shortstop in Chicago, and the expectations that come with that. The Miami Marlins manager sees a 22-year-old with the potential to win some serious hardware.
Can he win the MVP? Yes, because he can do a lot of things offensively, Guillen said Wednesday. The tools are there. I hope its going to be my guy (Hanley Ramirez). But this kid definitely is going to be one of the top players in the National League. Theres no doubt.
Castro began the day hitting .372 with seven RBIs in 11 games. He was tied for the major-league lead in steals with seven, a sign of how his game has evolved.
Castro already has two .300 seasons on his resume. Ramirez, by comparison, was 22 during his rookie year in the majors.
This kid is going to have a chance to make a lot of money, Guillen said. In Chicago, people talk about the mistakes he made a couple years ago and other stuff, not being in the game (mentally).
Thats going to come from the process. But youre not going to see many kids come to the big leagues and do what this kid does on the field hit for power, average, steal bases. I mean youre 20-something years old and youre batting third with no problem, with confidence? That comes with talent.
Dont take that for granted. Some will talk about Castro eventually switching positions, because he committed 56 errors in his first two seasons combined, plus four more already this month. But thats selling him short.
The Cubs have the rare opportunity to build their team around an elite shortstop for the next decade.
This kids only 22 years old. I mean, are you going to have the full package right away as a player? Guillen said. You got to give him some time. Hes got a great arm. Hes got very good instincts. Hes going to make errors. You cut errors with experience.
There are good errors and bad errors. (You) got to cut the bad errors, mental errors. But the physical errors are going to be there because hes so talented. Hes going to get balls nobody can get.
Guillen laughed when he thought of one more reason to like Castros upside.
Hes got a great chance to be a great one not a good one, Guillen said before smiling. Plus, hes No. 13. Thats going to help.