Rumors started to swirl during the MLB offseason that the Detroit Tigers were interested in trading Nick Castellanos. I scoffed at the rumors and hoped that they were not true, despite the Tigers need for upgrades at shortstop and relief pitching. During Spring Training, I believe the team put to rest the rumors of Castellanos being on the trading block.
I labeled Castellanos as untouchable in my top ten Detroit Tigers prospects list. With Miguel Cabrera ahead of the young prospect at his preferred position of third base, the team had to get creative to lay out a path to get Castellanos to the big league. That path was created by moving Castellanos to outfield, in hopes that he will be ready to play for the Tigers in left field in a couple of years.
With Cabrera away for a month to compete for Team Venezuela at the World Baseball Classic, many believed Castellanos would get a chance to play for the Tigers at third base. However, manager Jim Leyland told reporters that would not be the case. “My organization argues that he’s now a left fielder, so I’m not going to tinker with that. You get your marching orders,” Leyland said.
If the Tigers were trying to trade Castellanos, there is no doubt in my mind that they would be playing him at third base. Instead, the Tigers converted him to an outfielder to get him to their big league roster and keep their prized prospect. Castellanos appears to be a fan of the move by telling reporters, “It’s going to get me to the big leagues the fastest, so, of course I like it.”
Back in the 2010 MLB Draft, the Tigers got a steal with Castellanos at the 44th overall selection. The team gave him a then record $3.5 million signing bonus. Castellanos saw his draft stock fall after a verbal commitment to play baseball at the University of Miami. The Tigers took a chance with drafting Castellanos and will wait to see if the move pays off on their own.