By Jeff Riger
This time of year is fun if you are a baseball fan.
With the trade deadline just around the corner, you more than likely have heard rumors of players that the Tigers could be interested in. Names like the D-backs’ Justin Upton, the Phillies’ Cole Hammels, the Brewers’ Zack Greinke and the Cubs’ Matt Garza are just a few being bandied about and the Tigers seem to be linked to most of them.
Despite a 5 game win streak and plenty of reason for optimism, Detroit still has many needs and could instantly be made better by one of the above names or somebody else that could be waiting in the weeds. It’s no secret that the Tigers could use another arm, a second basemen and a corner outfielder would help as well; but at what cost?
It seems like the asking price in every report that I read is super prospect Nick Castellanos, a guy that was just named MVP in this weeks Futures game in Kansas City. Castellanos seems to have it all, he is a pure hitter that can hit for average with the power not far behind and despite not being a fantastic fielder, reports claim that he is getting better everyday. Bottom-line, the Tigers have not had this kind of prospect in their farm system in a very long time. So why would you trade him?
I can answer that rather easily!
He is a prospect.
No matter how good a minor leaguer is thought to be, it doesn’t matter until he proves it at the big league level. And, while everyone is different, I have seen way too many “can’t miss” prospects that ended up missing to get excited anymore. Remember the likes of Matt Anderson, Gabe Kapler, Justin Thompson, Nate Cornejo, Raul Casanova and even Joel Zumaya? Yep, that’s right they all ended up contributing next to nothing at the major league level after being thought of as the next “savior” for the franchise. Now just because those guys failed, doesn’t mean Castellanos will, however it does mean that no prospect should ever be given the label “untouchable.” Sure there are guys that end up making it, Justin Verlander and Curtis Granderson come to mind, but they are a select few and even one of them were traded.
So, when I hear people claim that they would NEVER trade Castellanos, I laugh, considering those were the same words uttered from fans with every other big name prospect Detroit has come by in the recent past.
Plus, common sense would dictate that Castellanos’s trade value might never be higher then it is right now with all the positive buzz going around. Add that to the fact that the Davie, Florida native is a 3rd basemen by trade and one might believe that he is aggressively being shopped around as I type this blog. Think about it, Mike Ilitch wants to win now and will stop at no expense and Castellanos can bring in help immediately. Seems like the writing could be on the wall. Detroit has other good prospects that could land “ready now” major league players but they don’t have the value of Castellanos.
I’m not saying to not believe the hype of Castellanos but also don’t over value him to the extent that would make the Tigers miss out on a viable situation to improve this team in an very winnable division. Detroiter’s are always afraid of the next John Smoltz getting away and I’m here to say don’t be. Let’s not forget that if it wasn’t for Smoltz, Detroit would not have had a chance in 1987 to play in the postseason. It didn’t work out but it could have and there is no guarantee that Smoltz would have turned into that same pitcher here anyway. I’m not saying to give the super prospect away however if Castellanos is still in the Tigers organization when the trade deadline passes then Detroit’s chances of making the World Series will be considerably less.
This team must win NOW and that is exactly why no prospect is “untouchable” especially Nick Castellanos.