Detroit Tigers: Potential Nick Castellanos Replacements
Detroit Tigers third baseman Nick Castellanos could be facing a stint on the disabled list. Here are a few replacement options for the Detroit infielder.
Detroit Tigers fans will be hoping Nick Castellanos doesn’t miss too much time. Per the team’s official Twitter account, the third baseman, “left tonight’s game with a non-displaced fracture of the fifth metacarpal of his left hand.”
The injury comes at an unfortunate time for the former first-round pick, who was enjoying a breakout season. Castellanos came into Saturday’s game hitting .286 with 58 RBI, 18 home runs, 23 doubles and four triples. What’s more, he was also making significant strides defensively at third after struggling at the position early in his career.
The question now becomes how the Tigers go about replacing their slugging third baseman.
With the team in the middle of a pennant chase, they’ll need to find the right fill in for Castellanos. Here are some options.
This is perhaps the most obvious route, and it seems Detroit might be turning to McGehee first. The Toledo Blade’s John Wagner tweeted, “.@MudHens have just taken Casey McGehee out of their game at Indianapolis. Assuming that is in response to Castellanos move w/ #Tigers.”
McGehee is already on the team’s 40-man roster, and is enjoying a fine season with the Mud Hens. The former Brewer’s .325 batting average suggest he’s returning to the form he showed in 2014 with Miami when the infielder hit .287 with 76 RBI in 160 games for the Fish.
With 42 extra-base hits so far in just 108 games for Toledo, the third baseman would provide an offensive-minded temporary replacement for Castellanos.
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At 31, Valencia isn’t exactly a part of Oakland’s long-term plans. After starting the season as the team’s regular third baseman, the A’s have replaced the veteran with prospect Ryon Healy. This is all despite Valencia hitting an even .300 on the season.
The former Blue Jay has also added 39 RBI and 28 extra-base hits in 83 games.
He’d be a perfect addition for the Tigers considering he can fill in for the injured Castellanos, before becoming a bench cog for Detroit. In seven Major League seasons, Valencia has seen time at first base, second base and third base—not to mention both outfield corners.
Essentially, he’s Mike Aviles with a potential impact bat.
If Detroit has the chance acquire him through the waiver process, they should pull the trigger.
Like Valencia in Oakland, the veteran Plouffe is a veteran on a potentially rebuilding Minnesota club. Should the Twins look to deal him, he’d be an ideal fit in Detroit from an offensive standpoint. From 2012 to 2015, the 30-year-old has averaged 68 RBI and 49 extra-base hits per season.
Also like Valencia, Plouffe has seen time at multiple positions, including all four infield spots and both outfield corners.
Another veteran on a team going nowhere fast, Escobar is one of the few trade assets left on Anaheim’s roster. Considering how prospect-depleted the Halos’ system is, and that Escobar can be bought out for just $1 million after the season (per Spotrac), a move to Detroit would make sense.
The Tigers would have to navigate the waiver process to bring in Escobar, but he may be worth it from an offensive standpoint.
Since the beginning of 2015, the versatile fielder has hit .317 with a .373 on-base percentage. He’s also chipped in with 88 RBI, 49 doubles, 12 home runs and two triples. The former National also has experience at both shortstop and second base.
Other Internal Options
Mike Aviles and Andrew Romine can both play third base, but it seems unlikely that either will be leaned upon too heavily. There versatility is needed on the bench, and neither is exactly setting the world on fire at the plate.
Next: Ian Kinsler and Leadoff Home Runs
JaCoby Jones is another inter candidate, but hit seems unlikely that the team would call on him considering that he’s still adjusting to Triple-A. In 56 games with Toledo, the top prospect is hitting just .224 with 16 RBI, 15 extra-base hits, eight stolen baes and 70 strikeouts in 56 games.