2:45pm: David Kaplan of NBC Sports Chicago adds (via Twitter) that the Cubs have also checked in on Tigers closer Shane Greene. The two teams could pursue a package deal that sends both Greene and Castellanos to Chicago, though as Kaplan notes, the Cubs would have to surrender considerable prospect capital to consummate such an agreement. The aforementioned pair includes two of the Tigers’ most coveted assets, and Detroit will be careful not to be undersold. Greene, unlike Castellanos, is controllable through the 2020 season.
Whether it’s Chicago or another team that acquires Castellanos, he’s a near lock to leave the Motor City by the July 31 trade deadline. The Tigers likely aren’t going to extend the 27-year-old impending free agent, so they figure to get what they can for him. For now, he’s on a $9.95MM salary.
While the Tigers don’t seem to want him around for the long haul, Castellanos is amid his fourth straight quality offensive season with the club. Castellanos has slashed .280/.339/.467 (111 wRC+) with 10 home runs in 404 plate appearances, and has posted a formidable .887 OPS over the past 30 days.
There’s little question Castellanos has value at the dish, but the same isn’t true of his work as a defender. And if he goes to the Cubs, he won’t be able to slot in as a designated hitter. Castellanos has combined for minus-33 Defensive Runs Saved and a minus-24.6 Ultimate Zone Rating since moving from third base to right in 2017. He’s at minus-7 and minus-4.0 in those categories this year.
For the Cubs, acquiring Castellanos would likely mean moving bounce-back right fielder Jason Heyward to center, where the Cubs have deployed the light-hitting Albert Almora for most of the season. On the offensive side, a Castellanos pickup would almost surely improve the NL Central-leading Cubs’ outlook against left-handed pitchers, who have held their hitters to a below-average .232/.317/.405/ line. The righty-swinging Castellanos, on the other hand, has been a terror versus southpaws, whom he has crushed to the tune of .377/.451/.639.