Cubs not shopping Starlin Castro

CHICAGO -- Despite a published report Thursday that might have suggested otherwise, Chicago Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said star shortstop Starlin Castro isn't expected to be going anywhere in the near future.

A USA Today report sourced two unnamed high-ranking Cubs officials with the idea that "everyone but Jeff Samardzija" can be acquired via trade. The trade deadline is July 31.

Better add Castro to the list of players the Cubs won't be shopping on the open market.

"Starlin Castro is the type of player we're looking to build around," Epstein said Thursday. "There has been no trade consideration with him, whatsoever."

Despite a low walk total, Castro has been a force on offense for the Cubs and has shown improvement defensively. He is batting .317 and has 32 RBIs, tied for the lead among shortstops in all of baseball with the Red Sox's Mike Aviles.

Does it mean Castro won't be traded? Not exactly. Technically, even Samardzija can be had.

Epstein already said this week that anybody can be acquired if a team wants to approach the Cubs and offer a mind-boggling return package.

"I never understood why there would ever be an untouchable," Epstein said Monday. "All you're doing is limiting your opportunity. That said, there are core pieces that it's almost impossible to foresee moving. You would have to be completely blown away to even contemplate it.

"I think everybody knows what we're trying to do. We're trying to build a nucleus of talented young players who can form a core of being an annual contender. If you have a piece like that, the only way you contemplate ever moving him would be to get multiple back of that same caliber and those deals are hard to make. I think we're looking to identify the core, continue to add to it and build around it."

At the very least, Castro appears to be a part of that core.