Curious Case of Castellanos
Detroit is in an unusual position with arguably their best player, Nick Castellanos. He is set to become a free agent after the season, and the Tigers are stuck with the decision of extending him or trading him. Castellanos is a great hitter, but he leaves much to be desired on the defensive side of the ball. This season he will make just under ten million dollars. Let's take a look at the pros and cons of extending Castellanos.
The Tigers would be holding on to one of their homegrown talents that have blossomed into a productive major leaguer. Castellanos has been the most consistent bat in the Tigers lineup the last three seasons. He has one hundred sixty-two game averages of .274 AVG, 20 HR, 85 RBI's.
He is going to be entering the prime of his career over his next contract. He will only be 27 this season. He should continue to mature as a hitter, as well as defensively. Nick has been playing in the outfield for just two seasons. That is a big adjustment for any player. He had ten outfield assists last season.
Castellanos is a great clubhouse presence for the young guys, quickly becoming a leader of the team. Nick could usher in the new wave of talent that is coming to Detroit by 2020.
Detroit is in a full-blown rebuild and Castellanos may be better served as a trade chip. Castellanos is bound to look for over ten million dollars a season in his next contract, and that doesn't fit what the Tigers are trying to do. Al Avila is trying to get the payroll down before they decide to spend again when the rebuild is closer to contention.
Through his agent, Nick indicated that he would prefer a trade now. He sees what is going on in Detroit and would prefer not to make a move during the season.
As good as Nick is with the bat, his defensive shortcomings may be too hard to ignore when deciding whether to offer him an extension. Comerica Park is a big stadium, and he has a lot of ground to patrol in right field. The defensive metrics haven't been kind to him.
The Final Verdict
After seeing what free agency can offer for a player, including Harper not signing till March, Castellanos may be willing to talk about an extension with the Tigers. He is not a perfect player, and he could have a tough time finding a new home in the off-season. Does he value the security of having a contract extension, or does he want to see what free agency can offer him?
Only time will tell.