CINCINNATI -- While Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro and his agent negotiate off the field on a possible long-term contract extension, the two-time All-Star said he is keeping his focus on the diamond.
"It's very important," he said. "But I don't pay attention to that right now."
Castro is hitting .276 with 12 homers and 58 RBIs this season and has been one of the brighter spots for a rebuilding Cubs team that sat 24 games below .500 entering Friday night's clash with the Reds.
But the 22-year-old Dominican Republic native isn't the only thing Cubs fans have to look forward to in the years to come.
First baseman Anthony Rizzo, 23, second baseman Darwin Barney, 26, and third baseman Luis Valbuena, 26, help solidify a youthful infield and provide a recipe that Castro believes with bring success back to Chicago.
"You want to be on a very good team for the future and that's what I want to be," Castro said. "This team is going to be good and win games, [make the] playoffs, that kind of stuff. I want to be there. Everybody like me, Barney, Rizzo, we want those guys together to win games in the future with this team."
The Castro-Rizzo-Barney trio leads the Cubs infield in nearly every statistical category and provide a solidified group of young players the organization hopes to keep.
"You're always hoping for guys to step forward and be considered as core players," said Theo Epstein, president of baseball operations for the Cubs. "That's what we want. We want all our guys to become indispensable parts of the core that can mature together and become the nucleus of a championship caliber team."