The Atlanta Braves continue to search for an outfielder and today we look at a possible trade for Detroit Tigers outfielder Nick Castellanos.
He was not really a name I heard much about before the winter meetings, and indications are that the Braves are highly interested.
The 26-year-old is projected to make a little over $11 million in his last year of arbitration, and he will be a free agent after the 2019 season.
Castellanos is coming off his best season as a big leaguer. In 2018 he hit .298 with a .354 on-base percentage to go along with 88 runs scored, 23 home runs, and 89 RBI.
Both averages are career highs, but the home run and RBI totals are short of his career highs from 2017 when he hit 26 long balls with 101 RBI.
The past two seasons are the only seasons in which he’s had over 600 at-bats. He has played in 148 or more games in four of the past five seasons.
Baseball Reference projects him to hit .280 in 2019 with a .334 on-base percentage and 22 home runs. Those numbers are about equal to what Nick Markakis and Michael Brantley are projected to do in 2019, but Castellanos offers a good bit more power than both.
However, with Castellanos, you are sacrificing a good bit on defense as he rated as one of the worst right fielders defensively in 2019. He started his career as a third baseman but didn’t rate as a good defender there either.
So suffice it to say that in Castellanos you are getting the middle-of-the-order right-handed bat – period. So let’s see what that type of deal might look like for the Atlanta Braves.
Apparently, the Tigers asking price for Castellanos is very high, which seems to be the theme of the offseason. I think most teams are starting to realize that it makes more sense to hang onto players rather than trade them for players who may never see the big leagues.
That’s why I think the Atlanta Braves will have to give up someone like Bryse Wilson who is a top prospect that has shown he can handle the big leagues.
I know his 6.43 ERA in seven big league innings doesn’t correspond with my last statement, but anyone who watched him pitched saw what he’s capable of.
And then I think the Braves will throw in a C-level prospect like Travis Demeritte who has some upside.
This gives the Tigers a future rotation piece for the rebuild and a reclamation project of a former top prospect.
I really wouldn’t give up anything better than Wilson for one year of Castellanos — a player coming off a career season. But if a package like this interests the Tigers, I could see the Atlanta Braves striking a deal.