Nicholas Castellanos has perhaps gotten a bit of a bad rap over the years, first because he was a highly-regarded prospect and former first-rounder who took a while to adjust at the plate as a young major-leaguer, and more recently because he’s been one of the most visible players during a rough era of Tigers baseball in which the team is on pace for its fourth losing season in five years. The fact of the matter, though, is that Castellanos is a seriously impactful hitter, and the free-agent-to-be is likely to be one of the most highly-pursued position players on the trade market this month.
The 27-year-old outfielder has more or less been the only good hitter on a last-place Tigers team this year, hitting .285/.342/.483 with 11 homers. While he still seems like a guy that would be most comfortable as an everyday DH, he has improved in the field this year and has a comparatively solid -7 defensive runs saved in right field this year — a major improvement over the -19 he posted last year.
With not too many contending teams having obvious needs at the DH spot, Castellanos’ still-below-average defense may cause his value to drop a bit (just as it did for another pending-free-agent Tigers outfielder/DH, J.D. Martinez, during the 2017 season). Most of this year’s clear contenders are rather well off in the outfield as well, so while this is just uninformed speculation, it’s worth wondering whether Castellanos might be a more attractive trade commodity — especially to some NL teams, most notably the Nationals and Brewers — if he were willing to move back to the infield, where he played regularly at third base from the time he was drafted in 2010 through 2012, then again from 2014 until late in the 2017 season. While he was largely seen as a failure at the hot corner, he might be able to redeem himself as a first baseman. He doesn’t have any experience at that position, but considering the Nationals have started Gerardo Parra at first base nine times this year and the Brewers have been open-minded enough to give regular playing time at second base to both Travis Shaw and Mike Moustakas — despite neither having any prior pro experience at the position — over the past year, it seems like they might be willing to think outside the box if it’d get another great bat into the lineup.
Considering Castellanos’ comments to the media on Sunday, it seems quite clear that he plans on (or at least has no qualms about) being traded prior to the deadline, and that seems to be the best decision for both sides, considering that the Tigers are at the ground stage of a rebuild and might as well collect all the young assets they can, while Castellanos would surely enjoy playing on a competitive team for the first time in a long time.
Where do you think Castellanos will end up?
Where will the Tigers trade Nicholas Castellanos?
This poll is closed
He’s not getting traded