Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 8/29/12
Cubs-castro-takes-breather

The Chicago Cubs are trying to build through youth, and they secured what they believe is their most important building block long term.

As had been talked about for a month, shortstop Starlin Castro and the Cubs agreed to a long-term contract extension. The deal is for seven years with a club option for 2020. Castro is guaranteed $60 million.

The 22-year-old Castro gets the long-term security he wanted, and he has the possibility of cashing in big again at a relatively young age when this deal is up.

The Cubs get cost certainty, but more important for them, they get past Castro's salary-arbitration years and three years of free agency, with the possibility of a fourth.

"Only the most talented players get to the big leagues at 20," said general manager Jed Hoyer. "I'm sitting here with a 22-year-old veteran right now. That was a big part of our decision. The way it was looking, Starlin would be a free agent far too early. He's a big part of our future. We had four years of control of him after this year. By giving him this deal, we now have eight. We're very excited about it.

"He's one of the players we're building around. We're excited to have him for a Cub for a long time. He's a big part of our future. We're building a young core. Starlin's right in the middle of that."

Castro came to the major leagues in May 2010. Last year, he led the National League in hits with 207.

Castro was 1-for-4 in Tuesday night's 4-1 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers. He is batting .276 with a career-best 12 home runs, 63 RBI and 21 stolen bases. He also has 21 errors, but Hoyer said it was Castro's willingness to work on defense and make improvements that made it palatable for the Cubs to go long term.

For his part, Castro said he would continue working.

"That's where I want to be -- here on this team for a long time and winning," he said. "It's not going to stop for me, working hard every day on the field. Just be here for a long time, be here working hard every day and don't stop being humble like I am and stay like that for the rest of my career.

"I want to be here working hard and helping my team, my teammates being winning players. That's all important right now."

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