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Cubs trade rumors: Chicago is 'aggressively' shopping Starlin Castro

Starlin Castro might be on the block, despite being told by his manager that he wasn't.

Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

Despite reports to the contrary just a couple days ago, Starlin Castro could be nearing the end of his tenure with the Cubs. Joe Maddon told him not to worry about it, while his agent, Paul Kinzer, "Told Castro to remain prepared for any possibility." While those aren't serious contradictions, and could be chalked up to nothing more than Castro's agent wanting to prepare him for a worst case scenario, Jayson Stark is reporting that he could be moved.

The Cubs have a gluttony of infield prospects, and the consensus for some time now has been that they'd have to trade some of them eventually. As Stark pointed out, Addison Russell played shortstop last night, and has been there three times in the last four games. It's his natural position, and could step into the full-time role seamlessly if Castro was dealt.

While a trade would seemingly open a hole at 2nd base, it's fair to wonder if Javier Baez's recent play at AAA is having any effect on Castro's availability. Since returning from a hand injury, Baez has hit .333, and just two days ago, he blasted two home runs. Overall, he's posted a line of .309/.381/.557 with an ISO of .248, a wOBA of .409, and a wRC+ of 149. Baez struggled in his first taste of MLB action, but it's hard to see how he wouldn't be an upgrade offensively over Castro at this point.

Ken Rosenthal pointed out that the Padres had been linked to Castro in recent trade talks, and should be considered as a potential landing spot if the Cubs do move him. Chicago has reportedly been looking to make an upgrade to their starting rotation, and San Diego certainly has the ability to provide that in a deal. The deadline is rapidly approaching, and there are likely to be a flurry of deals over the next 28 hours.