The Astros made an offer to the Tigers about right fielder Nick Castellanos prior to last July’s trade deadline, according to Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press (via Twitter). Houston was known to be aggressively pursuing a big outfield bat last summer, even to the point of almost completing a trade with the Nationals for Bryce Harper, and also inquiring about Tommy Pham (then with the Cardinals) and White Sox outfielder Avisail Garcia. Fenech suggests that Castellanos could again be a target for the Astros this offseason, and he explores in a longer piece for the Detroit Free Press that it is becoming increasingly likely that the Tigers will trade Castellanos due to a lack of extension talks between the two sides.
Castellanos would help the Astros as either a corner outfielder or, perhaps more likely, as a DH given Castellanos’ defensive limitations and the fact that incumbent Houston designated hitter Evan Gattis is hitting free agency. Since Castellanos is only controlled through the 2019 season, he would give the Astros a short-term boost in their quest for another World Series while also not serving as a long-term block to youngsters Tyler White, Kyle Tucker, and J.D. Davis.
More from around baseball…
- Now that Brodie Van Wagenen has gone from being Jacob deGrom’s agent to his employer as the Mets’ new GM, the transition has been “still a little confusing for me, I guess,” deGrom admitted to MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo. DeGrom (and Van Wagenen’s other clients at CAA) were kept updated throughout Van Wagenen’s negotiations about joining the Mets just to nobody felt caught off-guard by the former agent’s surprising career change, and deGrom said that “I’ve had conversations with him since [the hiring], and they’ve been good.” There haven’t yet been any talks about a contract extension between deGrom and the Mets, though most teams usually wait until later in the offseason to discuss in-house contracts. For his part, deGrom reiterated that he enjoys playing for the Mets and would be open to talking about a long-term deal. “If that was something that they wanted to do, and me and [my wife] Stacey felt like it was the right move for us, then we’d be willing to definitely explore that,” deGrom said. The ace right-hander is controlled via arbitration through the 2020 season, and it will be particularly interesting to see how extension talks develop, given deGrom and Van Wagenen’s shared history.
- In other Mets news, Fancred Sports’ Jon Heyman recently tweeted that Jim Riggleman will interview for the team’s open bench coach position sometime this week. Riggleman served as the Reds’ interim manager for much of the 2018 season, and he would add over three decades of coaching and managerial experience to Mickey Callaway’s staff. SNY TV’s Andy Martino offers the alternative suggestion that the Mets should consider former Phillies manager Pete Mackanin as bench coach, arguing that Mackanin is more well-versed in how to apply modern analytics to in-game management.
- Manny Machado is the third-greatest player to ever hit free agency following his age-27 season or sooner, as calculated by The Athletic’s Cliff Corcoran (subscription required) in a 13-player ranking. Bryce Harper, interestingly, ranks just 11th on the list. The players were compiled in regards to what they had achieved before hitting the open market, so it’s worth noting that both Machado and Harper (who are both only 26 years old now) had a bit less seasoning than some of the slightly older names on the list. Alex Rodriguez and Barry Bonds are the only names ahead of Machado on this list dotted with several all-time greats, though as with any free agent, past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Case in point, the fourth-best player on Corcoran’s ranking is Jason Heyward, who has been a significant disappointment since signing an eight-year, $184MM deal to join the Cubs.