Nick Castellanos is a big deal to the Tigers. If you’ve noticed, Detroit has shown a willingness to move the highly touted Jacob Turner, but including the 20-year-old third baseman in a deal is an idea our front office has essentially laughed at. With Brandon Inge in the twilight of his career, and Nick’s expected arrival to the bigs sometime around 2014, it would take a special scenario for the Tigers to part with both of their top prospects.
Castellanos has impressed all sorts of prospect buffs with his abilities standing in the batters box. Our own James Chipman has deemed Nick’s swing “effortless”, and during an episode of the Up and In podcast over at Baseball Prospectus, Kevin Goldstein said Castellanos had the prettiest swing out of any player in the Midwest League. Combining these types of accolades with the fact that third base is an area of need for the Tigers, it makes sense Detroit’s front office would be extremely hesitant to move this type of player.
If the Tigers had no interest in moving Turner and Castellanos for Gio Gonzalez which was the rumor a couple weeks ago, what type of player would warrant such a trade package? Obviously, it would have to involve a high impact player, preferably at a position of need.
Due to their payroll constraints, the Rays’ roster is in a constant state of flux regardless of whether they’re in contention or not. One of their starting pitchers is starting to get expensive, and his name is James Shields. He will be making $7 million in 2012 and has team options for 2013 and 14’. Now the Rays would most likely be looking for offense in return, but they would have to consider Turner’s services due to the wealth of potential he carries along with the cheaper price tag.
Obviously the Rays are set at third. Evan Longoria has that spot on lock down, which might dampen their desires for Mr. Castellanos. But some say Nick’s glove might ultimately be best suited in a corner outfield spot, meaning he could possibly move into Matt Joyce’s spot somewhere down the line. The Rays have also been talking about moving B.J. Upton the past couple of years, in which case Desmond Jennings could move to center and Castellanos could play left.
In order to land James Shields, it would take a little bit more than just Turner and Nick, but that would definitely be a good place to start.
Recently, the Atlanta Braves presented an offer of Jair Jurrjens and Martin Prado to the Orioles for their center fielder Adam Jones. The O’s GM Dan Duquette turned it down, but come July of this coming season that might be the type offer he has to strongly consider.
I would give heavy consideration to bringing in Jones for Turner and Nick. If you were to put his glove in one of the corner outfield spots all of the sudden the defense has a completely different dynamic. The O’s would have a hard time turning down a talent like Turner, and one would have to assume Mark Reynolds or anyone else on that roster isn’t a long time solution for third base. Aside from being skilled with the glove, there’s some nice pop in his bat, as Jones raked 25 homers last year.
Even though we kind of chuckled at the fact the Tigers were thrown into the recent addition of Matt Garza rumors, there is some sense to it. I think it would be worth it to see if our two top prospects put us in the running for Garza. The addition of the Cubs’ starter to a rotation that already features Verlander, Fister and Scherzer sounds like the makings of a truly dominant staff.
One way or another the Tigers would be wise to bulk up the roster before the 2012 season begins. Detroit might feel like they are looking good staying pat, and it is kind of tough to blame them since the AL Central is one of the weaker divisions in baseball.
But consider for a second what the Texas Rangers just did. Despite being the team that represented the AL in the World Series the last two years, they just doled out $51.7 million dollars just to negotiate a deal with Yu Darvish. I think most teams would argue, you can’t stay pat if you want to find continued success in this league.
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