David Meter, the agent of Tigers outfielder Nicholas Castellanos, says his client prefers to be traded before the start of spring training, Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press reports. Meter said, “He wants to win and understands the direction of the franchise right now is to procure prospects. That being said, he would rather start with his new club going into spring training.”
Castellanos, 26, is entering his final season before free agency and has very obviously been made available for trade by the rebuilding Tigers. Last season, he hit a highly productive .298/.354/.500 with 23 home runs, 89 RBI, and 88 runs scored in 678 plate appearances. A former third baseman, he spent all of his defensive innings in the outfield, so he would could play corner outfield, third base, or DH for a new team.
The Tigers have reportedly drawn interest in Castellanos from the Braves and Dodgers, but both clubs recently signed outfielders in Nick Markakis and A.J. Pollock, respectively. The Mets also had interest earlier this offseason but their outfield may be full as a result of signing Jed Lowrie, as infield prospect Jeff McNeil will now get more playing time in the outfield. It is not clear which teams would now be interested in Castellanos, but free agent Bryce Harper may need to sign a contract first to clear the smoke.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have hired Ben Cherington as the team’s new general manager. They do so after the general manager meetings ended, but better late than never.
Cherington served as GM of the Boston Red Sox for four years, winning the World Series in 2013, but resigned during the 2015 season after Dave Dombrowski was named Boston’s new president of baseball operations. Which was a defacto demotionn for Cherington who, until then, had the final say in baseball decisions. Dombrowski, of course, was fired late in the season this year. Cherington went on to work for the Toronto Blue Jays as a vice president, but was seen as biding his time for another GM position. Now he has one.
Cherington takes over in Pittsburgh for executive vice president and general manager Neal Huntington, who was fired after a 12 years at the helm. Also fired was team president Frank Coonelly. Travis Williams replaced Coonelly recently. While the Pirates experienced a few years of contention under Huntington and Coonelly, they have slid out of contention in recent years as the club has traded away promising players for little return, all while cutting payroll. There’s a very big rebuilding job ahead of Cherington.
The first move he’ll have to make: hire a manager, as the team still hasn’t replaced Clint Hurdle since he was dismissed in the final weekend of the regular season.