9:52pm: The Tigers expect Castellanos to miss a minimum of four weeks, according to manager Brad Ausmus (Twitter link via Beck). As a result, Castellanos will go to the DL and McGehee will take his place on the Tigers’ roster, tweets Beck.
9:16pm: The Tigers anticipate a three- to four-week absence for Castellanos, reports FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal (Twitter link). Toledo pulled McGehee out of its lineup in the wake of Castellanos’ injury, per Jason Beck of MLB.com, so it appears he’ll head to Detroit.
8:23pm: In what could be a blow to the Tigers’ playoff hopes, third baseman Nick Castellanos left the team’s game against the Mets on Saturday with a non-displaced fracture of the fifth metacarpal of his left hand, tweets Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press. Castellanos sustained the injury when Mets righty Logan Verrett hit him in the hand with a fifth-inning pitch.
Castellanos, 24, has cooled down offensively over the past couple months, but he has still slashed an easily above-average .286/.331/.500 with 18 home runs in 432 plate appearances. Those numbers represent a breakout for the formerly well-regarded prospect, who hit .254/.304/.407 in a combined 1,174 PAs from 2014-15. Castellanos also struggled mightily at third in each of those seasons, which has continued this year. Among FanGraphs’ 20 qualifying third basemen, Castellanos ranks 18th in Ultimate Zone Rating (minus-6.8) and dead last in Defensive Runs Saved (minus-10). Still, given his nearly league-minimum salary of $536,500, Castellanos’ work at the dish this year has provided the postseason-contending Tigers significant surplus value.
While it’s unknown how much time Castellanos will miss, a stint on the disabled list seems like a strong possibility. That would leave the Tigers with Mike Aviles and Andrew Romine as fill-in options on their 25-man roster, and they also have longtime major leaguer Casey McGehee in Triple-A Toledo, as their depth chart shows. Castellanos is far superior to the three of them, though, and the fact that he’s now hurt after the non-waiver trade deadline passed only adds to Detroit’s misfortune. If the Tigers search for third base help via the trade market this month, it’s worth noting that the Athletics’ Danny Valencia rates highly on MLBTR’s Steve Adams’ list of the top 20 August trade candidates.