Since you all seemed to be jonesing for it, I’m here with your daily Nicholas Castellanos fix. It’s not actually anything super revelatory, but it’s interesting in light of a recent Cubs loss that saw Albert Almora Jr. manning the fifth spot in the lineup. MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi has been all over the Tigers’ deadline talks, including the near certainty that Castellanos is dealt, and he’s been talking about that a lot lately.
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“I believe by July 31st, 4pm Eastern Time, Nick Castellanos is going to be with a different organization,” Morosi told John Keating of FOX Sports Detroit. “I look for him…the most likely possibility, Chris McCosky’s talked about this, the Chicago Cubs. They need a righty bat, and I believe, John, with a new team, we may see Nick play more positions.
“I think that if he goes to the Cubs, they say, ‘Can you play third base? Can you play left or right?'”
That bit about playing different positions is interesting, since, even though he’s listed as 3B/OF, Castellanos has played right field exclusively since last season. He’s not a particularly adept defender at any position, and that’s putting it mildly, but the willingness to move around would make him an even better fit for the Cubs.
Morosi shared similar thoughts with McNeil & Parkins on 670 The Score Tuesday, saying that the Tigers have “talked to the Cubs mutually about the possibility of Nick going to the North Side.” And while that is kind of a strange way to put it since you can’t really have unilateral talks, I think it’s more of matter of the two teams having a legit conversation about mutual interest in making such a trade happen.
That’s indeed very different from one team asking the other about the availability of a given player or what it would take to land him. The Cubs were the only team tied to Castellanos in Morosi’s recent post on the Tigers’ three big trade chips, two of whom he said could be packaged together.
A source confirmed a report by Chris McCosky of the Detroit News that the Cubs have spoken with the Tigers about Castellanos. He seems likely to wind up in the National League, because of his potential production against the Dodgers’ dominant left-handed pitching.
Castellanos grades out as a below-average defender in right field, but that would be less of a consideration in a ballpark with a smaller outfield area. Castellanos may be open to playing first or third base with a new team, as a way of contributing on a contender and improving his free-agent value.
The part about Castellanos’ defense in right should throw up some red flags for Cubs fans, since the well, wind, and sun at Wrigley can make even the most skilled fielders look silly. But as we’ve discussed for a while, having that bat in the heart of the lineup would be a huge upgrade over Almora or other options the Cubs have had to this point.
Only one week to go!
Ed. note: Morosi mentioned during his Score appearance that Almora would not be enough to get a deal done straight-up, even though Castellanos is a “rental.” But Ian Happ might get it done, he said, which is the second time he’s mentioned Happ in connection with Castellanos. It’s an admittedly simple connection to make, but Morosi had previously mentioned both Happ and Zack Short as a bundle for Castellanos.
That’s way too high an ask, but it indicates that perhaps the negotiations are going back and forth or that the teams were discussing a deal that also included Tigers closer Shane Greene. Or it might just be that Morosi was talking out of his rear end.
Whatever the Cubs do, their plan is to “cast a wide net” as they look to address multiple needs.