There are two very different sides to the Nicholas Castellanos trade rumor saga. This week, both of them decided to become more vocal. Castellanos has been considered a candidate for trade this offseason, and has seemed like a likely target to be moved considering he is quickly approaching free agency and the Tigers do not appear interested in extending him. It seems like a foregone conclusion that Castellanos will be moved by the July 31 trade deadline, which has had many wondering why Tigers general manager Al Avila doesn’t move Castellanos sooner and get a better return.
The answer, at least according to Avila himself, is that no one is interested.
During a press event on Thursday, ahead of the Tigers annual winter caravan, Avila was incredibly candid with the amassed media.
Avila on Nick Castellanos and a possible trade "quite frankly there has been no interest at this point just to be quite frank. It's a different market out there"— Jeff Riger (@riger1984) January 24, 2019
Avila seems to be pointing a finger at the stalled free agent market, where teams are biding their time to see who will go for broke and sign superstar outfielder Bryce Harper. In the meantime, it seems there isn’t much interest in a 130 wRC+ hitter with tepid defensive skills.
Castellanos, on the other hand, seems ready to say goodbye to his current club. The 26-year-old wants to win, an adage we have certainly heard before from exiting powerhouse bats like J.D. Martinez. According to Castellanos’ agent, David Meter, in a discussion with the Free Press’s Anthony Fenech, “[Castellanos] wants to win and understands the direction of the franchise right now is to procure prospects. That being said, he would rather start with his new club going into spring training.”
He isn’t wrong in his view on the club’s current status. Another telling bit from Avila’s chat with the press was his admission that the team would not be paying for big-time free agents in the near future.
“Is 2021 the time to, OK, start spending some money?” Avila said. “I don’t know. I do know that we will have some money by 2021 to start going out there. I’ve talked to Chris Ilitch and I know that whether it be 2021, 2022, at that point, we will be at a place from a payroll perspective where I want to be at, where I’m comfortable where financially I know we’re in a good place.”
This, of course, represents a time when several of the heftier Tigers contracts will be winding down or off the books entirely. However, it also indicates that very little will be spent to put a competitive team on the field in the meantime.
Castellanos may be right to move on now, but if Avila’s measure on the market is correct, the change of venue may not be up to either of them.