Starlin Castro is now ready to mentor Miami's young Marlins in 2018 -- at least for as long as he remains on those grounds.
The Dominican infielder, who will turn 28 just before Opening Day, will be one of the most experienced and expensive players on the roster of the new Marlins, who are now owned by Derek Jeter and Bruce Sherman.
"Get me out of here!" was Castro's initial reaction when he was traded by the New York Yankees to the Marlins in a deal that sent outfielder Giancarlo Stanton to the Bronx and that was just one of several moves made by the new owners to shed the team's payroll.
"I didn't expect the trade, but in this business you never know where you will end," Castro told reporters during the club's fan festival on Saturday at Marlins Park. "I am happy to be here now, with a good group of young guys and competitors. I will try to give my best and have a good time," he added.
Castro, a four-time All-Star in eight seasons in MLB, batted .300 with 16 homers and 63 RBIs in his second season with the Yankees, who acquired him from the Chicago Cubs. In July, he was selected to the American League team for the All-Star Game in Miami.
In addition to trading Stanton, the MLB home run leader and NL MVP last season, the Marlins dumped second baseman Dee Gordon and outfielders Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich, all members of their starting lineup.
Third baseman Martín Prado and Castro are by far the most veteran players among those who are scheduled to start in the team's lineup, although that does not mean they can't be traded at any time, before or even during the season.
The Marlins will begin the regular season against Castro's former team, the Cubs, at home on March 29.
"We are happy with the talent we have added to the organization," said Michael Hill, president of baseball operations.
"These players will be the nucleus that will bring back a championship to the South of Florida. Our attack will be different. We won't have Stanton's and Ozuna's home runs, but we will have more speed, and batting from other players, which will allow us to score more runs and win more games," said Hill.
In that organizational chart, Castro not only looks like the regular second baseman and the third bat of every day, but also will be one of the main voices in the clubhouse.
"I'll do what I learned. Especially when I went up to the big leagues, I had someone who was my mentor, so I'll be that for the new guys. I'll try to set the best example. I'll try to be there for what they need, if they need to talk, from my experience. I already have several years in the league," said Castro, who debuted with the Cubs in 2010 at the age of 20.
"I do not want to be the negative part of the team. I'm happy to be here," Castro said.