This is not a fun update for teams interested in adding a bat, nor for the team trying to get a good return for a flawed slugger.
Still, you gotta love the Tigers’ official team account trying to soften things:
Nicholas Castellanos has been scratched from today’s lineup as a precautionary measure due to abdominal tightness and is day-to-day.
Updated lineup: pic.twitter.com/kijIWdyygm
— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) July 28, 2019
So, here’s the thing: given Castellanos’s value as a potential trade piece, it actually *would* be wise for the Tigers to be overly cautious about scratching him if he’s feeling anything at all. Heck, might as well just hold him out until the Trade Deadline anyway. There’s nothing here inconsistent with him totally being fine, but the Tigers are just being safe.
… and yet, if you’re the team being asked to trade a useful prospect or two to get a guy whom you might use mostly against lefties, and who might kill you in the field, isn’t this still a red flag? Don’t you have to treat it as one out of your own sense of caution?
What the Tigers bought themselves with this move is a staring contest. The offers they’ll now get for Castellanos just dropped, and they’ll have to convince trade partners that Castellanos is actually OK, and they’ve got the medicals to prove it. Not a great spot to be in three days before the deadline.
For the Cubs, who would love to have that bat in the lineup against lefties, are already a tricky fit, because (1) Castellanos is a corner outfielder, and a poor defensive one at that, and (2) Castellanos is owed another $4 million this season, and we suspect the Cubs’ budget can’t fit any additional cash. That being the case, a trade with the Cubs likely would have meant an improved prospect return in order to eat some salary … but now if you’re the Cubs, aren’t you considerably more reluctant to do that?
I guess we’ll see what happens in the next few days with Castellanos’s health.