Starlin Castro's most recent gaffe has left some to question his standing on the team in the future. My own personal belief is that the Chicago Cubs should be open to trading the young star, but, unfortunately, that's not a belief shared by many others.
He's put together a solid season up to this point. He owns a line of .311/.325/.431 with four home runs and 32 RBI, production that exceeds that of most other shortstops in the game today.
The Cubs are reportedly fielding offers for both Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza in an effort to enter a complete rebuilding mode.
That complete rebuild can really only happen, though, if the team also tries to trade Castro.
By the time the Cubs are ready to compete in four or five years, Castro will be moving closer to free agency (2017), and it may be difficult for the Cubs to retain him.
Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer could easily receive an enormous return for their young shortstop. These three packages would be sure to entice the Cubs' front office into making a deal.
Cubs Get: LHP Tyler Skaggs, RHP Archie Bradley, OF A.J. Pollock
Diamondbacks Get: SS Starlin Castro
The Arizona Diamondbacks and Cubs are perfect trade partners, as the D'Backs possess a farm system chock full of young, power arms.
Tyler Skaggs and Archie Bradley are two of the team's top three pitching prospects. Including both of them in a potential deal would be enough to get the Cubs listening.
Skaggs currently projects as a future No. 2 starter, but he could easily make the jump to being considered an elite prospect with another strong season in the minors.
Bradley is in his first season in Arizona's system after being drafted out of high school, and some scouts are already calling him a future ace.
Outfielder A.J. Pollock, one of the team's top position player prospects, would fit nicely in the Cubs' outfield with Brett Jackson in a few seasons. Although questions about his power still exist, he is a quality hitter who plays solid defense.
The Diamondbacks would be acquiring a much-needed shortstop and offensive presence. Their combination of Willie Bloomquist and John McDonald at shortstop in Stephen Drew's absence just hasn't been cutting it.
Throwing Castro at short instantly improves Arizona and puts them in talks as potential favorites in the National League.
Cubs Get: RHP Jacob Turner, 3B Nick Castellanos, SS Eugenio Suarez, OF Avisail Garcia
Tigers Get: SS Starlin Castro
While it may seem like a lot of talent to give away for just one player, the Tigers are in good shape at the major league level at all of the positions being offered.
Even after giving away top prospect Jacob Turner, the Tigers would be set with Justin Verlander and several other young pitching prospects.
Miguel Cabrera currently occupies third base—and likely will for the next several seasons—so Nick Castellanos may have a difficult time making the big club.
Eugenio Suarez would become expendable upon acquiring Castro, while Avisail Garcia will be without a spot while Brennan Boesch, Austin Jackson and Don Kelly continue to produce.
The Tigers are built around both young talent and experienced sluggers, so they would easily be able to handle the loss of their top prospects.
The Cubs are without a third baseman of the future, as well as a shortstop of the future if they ship out Castro, so Castellanos and Suarez would fit on the team perfectly.
Turner could be the team's next great ace, while Garcia and his power/speed combination would be a welcome addition to the outfield in a few seasons.
Cubs Get: SS Brandon Crawford, OF Gary Brown, RHP Heath Hembree, RHP Clayton Blackburn
Giants Get: SS Starlin Castro
The San Francisco Giants have always been a team with superb pitching and questionable offense. So, by trading their defensive-minded shortstop and a few top prospects, they will be able to acquire Castro.
Castro would instantly improve an offense whose middle of the order contains Melky Cabrera and Pablo Sandoval, when he's healthy.
Brandon Crawford would be able to take over for Castro in Chicago, while Gary Brown could be just a few years away from becoming the superstar that the Giants predict he'll be.
Just imagine an outfield containing Brett Jackson and Brown, both at their full potential. That's a scary thought.
Heath Hembree could become the team's closer of the future, as it's clear that Carlos Marmol is entering the final weeks of his tenure on the Cubs.
Clayton Blackburn is a potential middle of the rotation starter with great command and above-average velocity. As is the case with any young pitcher, there's always the potential for more here.