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.
MLBPA player representative Max Scherzer sent out a short statement late Wednesday night regarding the ongoing negotiations between the owners and the union. On Tuesday, ownership proposed a “sliding scale” salary structure on top of the prorated pay cuts the players already agreed to back in March. The union rejected the proposal, with many worrying that it would drive a wedge in the union’s constituency.
Scherzer is one of eight players on the MLBPA executive subcommittee along with Andrew Miller, Daniel Murphy, Elvis Andrus, Cory Gearrin, Chris Iannetta, James Paxton, and Collin McHugh.
After discussing the latest developments with the rest of the players there’s no reason to engage with MLB in any further compensation reductions. We have previously negotiated a pay cut in the version of prorated salaries, and there’s no justification to accept a 2nd pay cut based upon the current information the union has received. I’m glad to hear other players voicing the same viewpoint and believe MLB’s economic strategy would completely change if all documentation were to become public information.
Indeed, aside from the Braves, every other teams’ books are closed, so there has been no way to fact-check any of the owners’ claims. Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts, for example, recently said that 70 percent of the Cubs’ revenues come from “gameday operations” (ticket sales, concessions, etc.). But it went unsubstantiated because the Cubs’ books are closed. The league has only acknowledged some of the union’s many requests for documentation. Without supporting evidence, Ricketts’ claim, like countless others from team executives, can only be taken as an attempt to manipulate public sentiment.
Early Thursday morning, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported that the MLBPA plans to offer a counter-proposal to MLB in which the union would suggest a season of more than 100 games and fully guaranteed prorated salaries. It seems like the two sides are quite far apart, so it may take longer than expected for them to reach an agreement.