DETROIT -- Though the weather in Michigan so far this offseason has felt like last April did, it'll eventually freeze up, leaving us longing for Opening Day. The good news is that the Tigers' first Spring Training workout is less than five weeks away. TigerFest and the Winter Caravan are
DETROIT -- Though the weather in Michigan so far this offseason has felt like last April did, it'll eventually freeze up, leaving us longing for Opening Day. The good news is that the Tigers' first Spring Training workout is less than five weeks away. TigerFest and the Winter Caravan are just two weeks away.
Until then, let's try some Hot Stove talk.
Why do the Tigers seem intent on trading Nicholas Castellanos? He is the only Tiger right now that you could depend on.
-- Jim G., Houghton Lake, Mich.
Given Castellanos' age -- he doesn't turn 27 years old until March -- you can make the case he's the one veteran Tiger young enough to still be in his prime when Detroit hopes to emerge from this rebuild in 2-3 years. And for all the young talent in the farm system, the Tigers are still searching for that young impact hitter around which to build a lineup. However, Castellanos is a year away from free agency, so those years would come at a price. He's also the one Tiger left who could reasonably bring back quality prospects in a trade, or potentially a Draft pick if the Tigers make him a qualifying offer as a free agent and he signs elsewhere.
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The roster rebuild model the Tigers (and other Major League teams) are following involves not just accumulating young talent, but also providing a window for them to make a run. Part of that window involves creating the payroll space to add players to that young core when the time is right. While Castellanos isn't at his prime yet as a player and still has room to grow, he's about to hit his prime years in salary. That leaves Detroit with a decision to make, and from all indications, it is leaning against re-signing him.
While the Tigers have been improving their farm system through the Draft, they have not made any splash with regard to international signings. How many dollars do you see them investing in international signings in 2019?
-- Chuck F., Yorktown Heights, N.Y.
The Tigers are allotted the same amount of money for international prospects as every other club. It used to vary based on the previous year's record but that changed a couple years ago, unfortunately for Detroit. The Tigers will spend all of that money, or close to it, but it's how they spend it that varies from other clubs. They tend to spread it out over a bunch of signings rather than go all-out for one or two prospects. Detroit was more aggressive during last July's international signing period and ended up with some top prospects, but the Tigers have had a hard time competing at the top end of the market.
One thing the Tigers haven't done that other clubs have in recent years is trade for international bonus money. If they were more involved in the top-end market, that might be different.
If everybody's healthy, I'd expect a rotation of Michael Fulmer, Matthew Boyd, Jordan Zimmermann, Matt Moore and Tyson Ross starting out, with Daniel Norris as a potential swingman again and Spencer Turnbull for depth.
If the Tigers sign another catcher, it'll most likely be to a Minor League deal with a non-roster invite. Their plan is to go with Grayson Greiner and John Hicks behind the plate when the season starts.
The Tigers left the door open to bring Alex Wilson back on a smaller deal if he's still on the market late in the offseason. I'd be surprised if that happens. Even if Wilson doesn't get a Major League deal, he should get a chance to compete for a job in some team's camp. And Wilson indicated last month that, all things being equal, he'd like the chance to land with a potential contender.
Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.