What is the news?
The Detroit Tigers are apparently interested in keeping their hard-hitting, former third baseman around long-term. General manager Al Avila came to Nicholas Castellanos about the “possibility of an extension” near the end of the 2017 season, according to Evan Woodbery of MLive. Thus far, however, no agreement has been reached and it appears that, with only two years left until free agency, Castellanos prefers to play it year-by-year.
Why does this matter?
Castellanos had his best season yet in 2017, setting multiple career highs along the way. He set personal records in games played (157), plate appearances (665), runs (73), home runs (26), and triples (10). The last figure even led the league. Advanced metrics will tell that he may even have been unlucky.
Besides his offensive numbers, Castellanos also tried his hand in the outfield in 2017, something he hadn’t done at the major league level since his first stint in the majors in 2013. He made only one error in 173 innings in right field, though the eye test wasn’t particularly reassuring.
The Tigers appear committed to Jeimer Candelario at third base going forward, which complicates Castellanos’ situation. The team would like to keep a blossoming bat around through his prime. And yet it’s still an unknown whether he can succeed as a corner outfielder. The Tigers seem willing to place a bet that he can at least hang out there enough to make a longer term investment in his bat worthwhile.
The 25-year-old Castellanos was selected by the Tigers in the first round of the 2010 amateur draft. He made $3 million in 2017, his first year of arbitration. He is under contract until after the 2020 season, when he will become a free agent assuming no agreement on an extension is reached in the interim.