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Starlin Castro draws defensive inspiration from Darwin Barney

From early on in their Cubs careers, shortstop Starlin Castro has worked with defensive whiz Darwin Barney to improve his work with the leather.

David Banks

Early in his celebrated career, Chicago Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro's defense has been much maligned by critics for good reason, but the 22-year-old does have some near and dear inspiration to improve that aspect of his game. In Gold Glove second baseman Darwin Barney, Castro sees the kind of defensive player he strives to be soon.

As Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago writes, Barney has made it a goal of his to work with Castro on his defense, partially because of his lengthy experience as a shortstop in the minors. Castro has welcomed the chance to work with a talented defensive player like Barney, too.

Speaking about playing with Castro, Barney said,

"One of the best things he did say to me that made me feel really good is he said, 'Hey man, you're the best defensive player I have ever seen and I want to be like you.' Coming from a guy who has every tool in the bag means a lot. We are good friends and I hope our relationship keeps getting better and better."

While Barney is the one with the Gold Glove, it's Castro holding the big contract these days. Nearly 27, Barney is making just over $500,000 this season, while the significantly younger Castro begins a seven-year, $60 million contract that effectively makes him the franchise cornerstone.