Nick Castellanos’ Future With The Tigers

Could Nick Castellanos and Avisail Garcia be the next prospects shipped out of town trying to put the Tigers’ over the top?

By Christopher Burlew

One of the most interesting debates that will be had for the Detroit Tigers until Opening Day 2013 may be the future of top prospect, Nick Castellanos. Castellanos, who will be 21 on Opening Day, posted a solid stat line of .320/.365/.451 with 10 home runs and 57 RBIs splitting time between the Advanced-A Lakeland Flying Tigers and AA Erie Seawolves. However, with being moved from his third base position mid-season to the outfield, where his defense struggled, the Tigers’ front office, who are in ‘must win-mode’, may look to trade Castellanos to land that last piece that could put the team over the top next October. Castellanos, along with 21-year-old Avisail Garcia, should have doubts of whether their big breaks will come with the Detroit Tigers.

Avisail Garcia also split time between Lakeland and Erie and was steady .299/.333/.455 with 14 home runs and 58 RBIs, before getting the call up on August 31st to the Tigers, where he batted .319/.373/.319 with 3 RBIs in 51 limited at-bats, mostly against left-handed pitching.

Tigers’ general manager, Dave Dembrowski, said last week his bets are on both Castellanos and Garcia spending most of their 2013 seasons in the minor league, most likely AAA Toledo. Dembrowski said he ‘[doesn't] want them to come in here and play 40 games versus left-handed pitching.’ However, with Justin Upton-to-the-Tigers rumors coming up left and right this offseason, Castellanos and Garcia may not even get those 40 games in the show.

Justin Upton plays for the Arizona Diamondbacks. He posted a .280/.355/.430 with 17 home runs and 67 in his age 24 season. Which would be a modest stat line, if in his age 23 season, he did not hit .289/.369/.529 with 31 home runs 88 RBIs. Upton has been known to steal bases too, swiping 18 bags in 2012, which is also slightly down from 21 bases in 2011.

However, Upton may not be the best fit defensively for the Tigers. Upton has only played right field since being called up, which could displace new acquisition Torii Hunter.

There is pause on a possible deal for Justin Upton with the slight regression, but that does not mean the number 1 overall pick from the 2005 MLB draft will continue to slide. With the Tigers’ owner Mike Illitch hell-bent on winning a World Series, Upton may be gleaming in Illitch’s eye.

There are rules Illitch and Dembrowski should follow when trading a such a prized prospects such as Castellanos and Garcia:

  • Low Service: Age should not be total factor in trade. While current 20 Castellanos and 21 Garcia should get youth back in any potential trade, but a pre or early-abritration player is needed for any trade to be seen as a good deal.
  • Money: The Tigers’ won’t be paying Castellanos or Garcia any real money until they reach arbitration in 2017, at the earliest. So the Tigers, a team with 64 million dollars locked up in three players (Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder), should look for financially responsible deals only.

With Justin Upton set to make 9.75 million in 2013 and 14.25 million in 2014 and 2015, Upton may not be the best fit for the Tigers. However, there are players rumored to be on the trading block that may make sense for the Tigers:

David Price

David Price, 27, just beat out Justin Verlander for the 2012 AL Cy Young award last week, but the two would make a dynamic duo.

Price went an impressive 20-5 with 2.56 ERA with a WHIP of 1.17. Tigers’ current front office have a history of loving the power pitcher, and coming from the left side, Price with K/9 of 8.3 for his career, may be Dave Dembrowski’s dream as he also has great control with a career BB/9 of 3, but has held to 2.5 the last three seasons.

Price is in the early stages of arbitration, and it seems perplexing that the Rays never gave him the long-term deals that teammates Evan Longoria and Matt Moore got their rookie seasons.

Is David Price on the market? It is not for sure but the Rays should be looking to trade on of their starting pitchers, to get a bat next to Longoria in their anemic offense. And no one can deny, if the Tigers don’t re-sign free agent starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez, that a starting rotation featuring Verlander, Price, as well as, Max Scherzer and Doug Fister would be down right scary!

Giancarlo Stanton

A week ago, no one in the baseball world thought that this young slugger, 23, could be on the market. That was until Marlins’ ownership sent Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson to the Toronto Blue Jays in a clear fire sale. A trade that left the blossoming superstar Stanton a little disheartened.

Stanton is the ‘it’ kid in the MLB. In a 2012, where he only played 123 games, he hit for a stunning .349/.361/.606 with 37 home runs and 86 RBIs. A massive step up from 2011 in everything but home runs where he hit 39, but did that in 27 more games than he played in 2012. He has future 50 home run king written all over him.

Will the Marlins part with Stanton? Stanton has not been signed to a long-term contract and heads to arbitration after next season, and may be reluctant to sign long-term with the Marlins after last week’s move, so it may be the time to move him. And nobody could deny that Stanton would look deadly in that sixth spot in the 2013 Detroit Tigers’ lineup behind the returning Victor Martinez. The Tigers’ had the worst production out of the sixth spot out of any team in the American League.

Elvis Andrus

Andrus, 24, may be one of the weaker trade possibilities. He is a suburb defender, which is better than the Jhonny Peralta statue the Tigers roll out every half-inning. However, the pieces needed to give up for Elvis may not be worth it. Andrus hit a steady .286/.349/.378 with only 3 home runs and 62 RBIs in a powerful Rangers’ offense. Power has never been a strong suit of Andrus, who hit 5 home runs in 2011 and none in 2010; he also hasn’t had a slugging percentage over .400. His contract has two years left on it getting 4.8 million in 2013 and 6.5 million in 2014.

Will the Rangers part with Andrus? Out of all the possibilities, Andrus seems the most likely to be available. The Rangers are stockpiled with middle infield prospects, including MLB.com number one prospect Jurickson Profar. The Rangers are looking at a slight rebuild with the possible departures of Josh Hamilton and Mike Napoli, so a trade of future big contract Andrus is a great possibility. Would not look good for Castellanos and Garcia though

While there are deals out there, GM Dave Dembrowski needs Castellanos to bloom with the Tigers to give Dembrowski’s draft image to be repaired. Since becoming GM in 2002, Dembrowski has drafted two all-stars to play in the game as Tigers (Justin Verlander and Curtis Granderson). Frustrations about Dembrowski’s drafts are felt by many fans, such as recently as 2009 drafting LHP Andy Oliver over future second base all-star Jason Kipnis. And with Castellanos drafted with the 44th pick in the 2010 draft, it would certainly look good on Dembrowski’s resume to have ‘future potential batting champion’ Nick Castellanos slotted in that Tigers’ starting nine for years to come

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2 thoughts on “Nick Castellanos’ Future With The Tigers

  1. yes i could see a blockbuster happen this year at the winter meetings, but my hope is the tiger’s prized prospects won’t be part of it, or the tigers to be a part of one at all! Dembrowski’s drafts are frustrating. Wouldn’t it have been nice last year to have Kipnis with the anemic production we got from our 2nd basemen, but regardless, what makes Dembrowski special is what he does with his propects (or bad drafts) – cashing them in for a Cabrera, Scherzer, Fister, and AJax.

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