First things first, let get some things straight. I do not want to trade Nick Castellanos. Let me repeat that: I do not want to trade Nick Castellanos. Nor do I think the Tigers will trade him during this season.
However, crazier things have happened, and for the right price, Tigers president/GM Dave Dombrowski will make anyone available. That’s the important part to understand. The right price. The best pure hitting prospect that the Tigers have had in a long time isn’t going to be shipped away for a certain 32 year old closer making $13 million. That just is not going to happen. But, the Tigers have the pieces to win the World Series, and flags fly forever. Prospects are great and all, but at the end of the day, the Tigers want to win while they have two of the best players to put on the olde english D in their prime. If dealing Nick is the best move for the present and future of the franchise, they’re going to do it.
The Tigers have a surplus of outfield depth. While Nick Castellanos and Avisail Garcia are close to being MLB ready, they’ve also got Daniel Fields, Tyler Collins, and further down the line, Danry Vazquez at the minor league level. While none of those guys, in addition to Andy Dirks and Matt Tuiasosopo, are ready to handle a starting spot in left field, the Tigers can make it work. Add that in to Torii Hunter, who is essentially locked in to a starting spot in RF because of his contract, and the fact that he’s an All-Star, and you’ve got a bunch of guys fighting for at-bats in left. Sure, things can change, but if Castellanos was for some reason traded away, it’s not like the Tigers would be running Jacque Jones out there every day. Plus, there’s the free agent market if they really wanted to go that route.
So then you may be asking yourself, what is a realistic return for a guy who is ranked anywhere from 15-30th on various prospect lists? Well, let’s look at what the Tigers need. In no particular order, two bullpen arms, a utility middle infielder, potentially a shortstop for next year, or a second baseman down the line, an every day left fielder, maybe a catching prospect, and they’ll always take starting pitching. You can never have too much of that. Remember, there are still teams who view Nick as a third baseman. As I have stated before, he’s ultimately more valuable at the hot corner. That’s important to take into consideration, too.
There are too many factors at play for me to wildly speculate a package of players that the Tigers could get back for Castellanos. That’s what the comment section is for. Just know that he’s extremely valuable, and could bring back something like a top 100 middle infield prospect, a solid relief pitcher, and even a bench bat all by himself. Or, a really good, controllable relief pitcher, a solid, top 8-10 in the org middle infield prospect, and another top 15-20 prospect in an organization.
It’s getting to the point where the Tigers are going to have to figure out what they want to do with left field. They have two guys who are close to major league ready, and only one spot. While Castellanos may turn out to be the better player between he and Garcia, Nick may be able to garner more in trade, and Garcia would thus become the left fielder, allowing the organization to plug some holes elsewhere Clearly, the Tigers need relief help. Nick could bring that back AND more.
Aforementioned, I would be shocked to see the Tigers trade Castellanos away at this point. However, you could make an argument that his value may never be higher, and the Tigers are a piece or two away from holding up the trophy. There are a little more than two weeks left until the trade deadline. The Tigers aren’t going to stand pat. Will they make a giant splash? That remains to be seen.