There was a premature #HugWatch situation Sunday afternoon as Cubs trade targets Eric Sogard and Nicholas Castellanos were scratched from their respective starts while Addison Russell was also removed from the Iowa Cubs’ lineup. But then came the sad trombone sound effect as it turned out Sogard had been traded to the Rays and Russell’s equipment had simply not arrived yet.
As for Castellanos, it appears he just needed a break. Or maybe it was gas.
“I expect to be in the lineup (Monday in Anaheim),” Castellanos told Chris McCosky of the Detroit News. “Just tightened up a little in the cage. Plus, I think Gardy’s (Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire) been looking for a way to give me a day off. I haven’t had one in about 90 days.”
Castellanos is one of several players the Tigers figure to move prior to Wednesday’s deadline and he’s probably the most capable hitter the Cubs can reasonably acquire. The single deadline and bevy of borderline teams has led to a seller’s market, or so it seems at this point. While the promotion of Ian Happ may have indicated their unwillingness to go big on a bat, Castellanos still makes a lot of sense for the Cubs.
His overall .798 OPS and 108 wRC+ aren’t anywhere near elite, but those respective numbers are 1.026 and 166 against lefties. To give that a little context, he’d be just behind Kris Bryant (1.163/194) and Javy Báez (1.106/179) in that regard. Castellanos has also hit an MLB-leading 36 doubles, which would be a boon to a team that has struggled to put runners in scoring position this season.
One other factor in favor of his potential acquisition is the mitigation of the lemon factor. The Cubs haven’t been great when it comes to onboarding players, but Castellanos appears to be insulated against such a drop-off. Between his lack of contractual control the the Tigers’ lack of leverage, Castellanos should also have a lower relative price tag than other hitters who figure to be moved.
While players like Sogard, to whom the Cubs were tied prior to his trade to Tampa, Danny Santana, David Peralta, and Hunter Pence are either having breakout career seasons or have injury concerns, Castellanos is healthy and right at his career averages. And with a 1-for-16 skid cooling his July production significantly, Detroit can’t ratchet their ask too high.
With a couple days left to the deadline, there’s sure to be a whole lot more posturing and another lineup scratch or three, so gird your loins accordingly.