We haven’t heard a good Nicholas Castellanos rumor in the past couple weeks, so it’s only natural that another one surfaced late this week. The Los Angeles Dodgers, who traded away two solid right-handed hitters earlier this week for reasons, are now in the market to replace them. According to MLB.com’s Jon Morosi, Castellanos is one of the names on that short list.
Morosi notes that the price tag on Castellanos is “high,” which we have heard all along. General manager Al Avila has little reason to trade Castellanos for pennies on the dollar, as Castellanos could net the Tigers a compensatory round draft pick in 2020 if (or when) he leaves in free agency next winter. The Dodgers have a robust farm system, one bolstered a bit by their blockbuster trade with the Cincinnati Reds earlier this week. Shortstop Jeter Downs, now the No. 7 prospect in the Dodgers system according to MLB Pipeline after coming over from Cincinnati, is the type of player the Tigers might expect to receive for Castellanos this winter.
But if you think this move doesn’t exactly make sense for Los Angeles, who made that weird trade earlier this week with the specific goal of getting under the luxury tax in mind, you’re not alone.
I can't think of any fit for the Dodgers and Nick Castellanos -- he can mash, but he's a DH -- but the idea of them being a fence because Cleveland wants him and Detroit doesn't want to deal directly in-division makes a lot more sense.— Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) December 23, 2018
The Indians have a much greater need for Castellanos’ services, even after bolstering their offense with the acquisition of Carlos Santana and Jake Bauers earlier this month. Castellanos could fill a big hole in their outfield, and potentially spend some time in the designated hitter role when Santana plays first base.
At first glance, not wanting to trade within the division makes sense. Helping your rivals improve isn’t exactly great business. However, the Tigers could stand to benefit by trading with Cleveland. Detroit has no designs on competing in 2019, so handing over their best player to the Indians doesn’t exactly hamper their goals for the upcoming season. Plus, by trading with the Indians, the Tigers receive the added benefit of bolstering their own farm system while also depleting Cleveland’s prospect coffers.