Monday, July 09, 2012

Why the landscape has changed for the Detroit Tigers as the trade deadline approaches

The Tigers, despite riding a 5-game winning streak, remain a flawed team. They will likely make some moves before the trade deadline. Is it going to be just trading for veteran players, or do they rely on some of the talent that has been rapidly emerging in the minor league system?
The biggest decision might involve Nick Castellanos, who has had a brilliant season. The idea Castellanos should automatically be kept in the minor leagues is a false one. Good progress for him this season would have been to hit .300 at high-A Lakeland as one of the youngest players in the Florida State League and move to Double-A Erie after the All-Star break, and hit in the high .200s. Instead, he batted over .400 during an extended stint at Lakeland, earned an early promotion to Double-A and, after a relatively slow start, is hitting .300 for Erie.

He is a third baseman, a major issue with Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder at the corners in Detroit, but there is a reason he is starting to take fly balls in the outfield lately. The Tigers could turn to this kid if there is another lumber slumber when they start seeing stronger pitching on a consistent basis later this month.
And before you get into the "he's too young and inexperienced" mode, consider Castellanos is six months younger than Mike Trout and six months older than Bryce Harper, the two youngsters, who have ridden into the major leagues on a storm that has carried their respective teams into contention. Harper has gotten more publicity, and is very gifted, but Trout is the type of extraordinary 5-tool player hasn't hasn't seen for eons. The top players arrive in the major leagues at a young age.
Castellanos is not a 5-tool talent. His position is hitter, but there are signs he is an exceptional hitter. That's been especially true against left-handed pitching, which he totally raked. It's where his value would currently lie.
Trading him would not make sense. What could happen is easing him in against left-handed pitching at the major league level. The potential downside: How would it hinder his development not playing every day? The Angels went through it last season when they put Trout in the major leagues. He started out very poorly, but closed better. He began this season in the minor leagues, returned when the Angels were in a bad slump and has emerged as not only as the top AL Rookie of the Year candidate, but could get some MVP votes.
It would be a disaster to play Castellanos at second base. There is far too much nuance at that spot to throw him into the fire, not to mention risk of injury turning a double play, but honestly, would he be worse in left field than Delmon Young?
The Tigers starting pitching has been better lately. Doug Fister and Drew Smyly pitched well in their recent starts. But if they revert back to their previous form, or there are injuries, do the Tigers really need to trade for a starter? Jacob Turner appears like he might be ready for the major leagues on a consistent basis now.
Also, Bruce Rondon has moved up to Erie and has eight saves in nine appearances, hasn't given up a run and is touching 100 mph on the radar gun. Where are the Tigers going to find that in a trade?
A couple weeks ago, I thought a bat or a pitcher is what the Tigers needed. Now it's middle infield help. Danny Worth is still there at Toledo,but  underwhelming. I the Tigers release Ryan Raburn, they need a serviceable middle infielder to replace him.
With the rapid development of Castellanos, Turner and Rondon, it's changed the terrain of where the Tigers could be going in the next few weeks in regard to trade.


Anonymous woody said...

think Scutaro would be a good pickup if price is right. he's familiar with AL pitching, can play around the infield defensively, fairly patient at the plate, can advance runners if Tigers are in small ball mode. he offers much the Tigers are lacking in everyday lineup.

1:15 PM 
Blogger Barry said...

Nick C, Turner and Rondon all could be playing for the Tigers by this time next year. No sense trading them. My first choice for 2B is Darwin Barney but the Tiger and Cubs don't exactly line -up pefectly. Cubs want players we don't want to give up. The Rockies do line up better and that spells Marco. He is a latin player too.

3:33 PM 

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