Starlin Castro, the star shortstop for the Chicago Cubs and face of the franchise, is wanted for questioning in connection with an alleged sexual assault of a young woman in Chicago last fall.

Although Castro has not been arrested (nor even questioned yet by Chicago police since he is reportedly in his native Dominican Republic), let me tell you how this sordid saga will play itself out.

Already, some of the principals have played their roles perfectly with mindless predictability.

Castro’s attorneys issued a statement as vague as possible, while still insisting that their (multi-millionaire) client is absolutely innocent, calling the allegations ”baseless.”

Castro’s employer, the long-cursed Cubs, issued a similarly vague and blasé statement, although they seemed a little less sure of their shortstop’s innocence than his esteemed lawyers were.

The Cubs mysteriously said: “We are hopeful when the facts are brought to light; Starlin will be cleared of any wrongdoing.

That sounds like the Cubs are going to ditch Castro if and when he is arrested or found guilty of rape. Perhaps Theo Epstein, the new general manager, is already planning to offset any losses.

In any case, going forward, the young woman who has made the charges will have her reputation sullied by Castro’s lawyers and perhaps by the media and even by some fans. After all, according to Chicago media, she went voluntarily to Castro’s apartment with another woman after meeting him in a club. She alleges the assault occurred there on Sept. 29, the day before he departed for the Dominican.

Like the girl in Colorado who accused Kobe Bryant of sexual assault more eight years ago, the Chicago woman will be labeled promiscuous, or a gold-digger, or worse. The pressure on her might intensify to the point where she simply decides to drop charges or settle out of court (as Bryant’s accuser did).

As for Castro, he will keep his mouth shut (as his lawyers have no doubt already ordered him to). But if he does speak to the press at some point in the future, he will probably issue some well-scripted, well-rehearsed ambiguous double-talk speech about how faultless he is and how much he loves and trusts in God.

Granted, Castro is a good ballplayer, but he is not yet a superstar nor does he have much of a fan following outside of Chicago. Thus, this story (should it develop into a full-blown rape saga) may not attract the hysterical national and global press that Kobe Bryant did.

There are no heroes in stories like this. Everyone comes out looking bad.

Professional athletes like Castro make so much money that they become easy targets for women who want to extort cash from them -- a rape accusation is one way of doing this.

On the other hand, professional athletes make so much money and have such a huge sense of entitlement that many of them feel they can do whatever they want to any woman they are attracted to without punishment (see Pittsburgh Steeler quarterback Ben Roethlisberger).

And no one will recover completely unscathed from this (even if Castro is totally innocent). Kobe Bryant, although his career was not jeopardized, will never regain the reputation he once had prior to the Colorado rape charges.
Castro has less to lose than Bryant did, but he, too, will be held suspect by a significant part of the public.

I believe that over the next few days or weeks, Castro will come to Chicago to speak with the cops. After some meetings (attended by lawyers), the police will decide that there is not enough evidence to charge the ballplayer with any crimes.

Castro will have endured a scare, some fans will wonder about him, but then it will be largely forgotten and he will resume his career and never refer to this matter ever again.

Play ball.