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Sports

MLB Star Refuses To Help Team with Position Change Until He Gets Big Extension

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Detroit Tigers right fielder Nicholas Castellanos has made great strides in his MLB career ever since a disastrous rookie season in 2014 that saw him account for -1.2 wins above replacement.

Castellanos has improved at the plate, where he’s currently tied for the American League lead with 21 doubles this season.

But he’s been a below-average fielder in right field, where he shifted after playing third base earlier in his career.

So it made sense late last season that the Tigers would ask him to move again, this time to first base, as CBS Sports noted.

Most players would comply, especially one like Castellanos, who will be a free agent after the season and might want to at least give off the impression that he’s a team-first player.

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Nope.

Castellanos didn’t just balk at the proposed position change.

He flat-out told the Tigers “no thanks.”

“I was like, ‘No, man,'” Castellanos told The Athletic in May.

Is Castellanos right to reject a position change for his own sake?

“I’m gonna stick in right field, and I want to do good out there. If I move to first, it’s gonna be when I’m older and can’t play right field any more. Before that happens, I want to be [in the outfield].”

There is one caveat that would make Castellanos reconsider — that’s if the Tigers offer him a contract extension, per MLive.com.

“I don’t have a college education, but I can pick up the pieces and put a puzzle together,” he told reporters Friday. “If I’m a gambling man, I don’t see [the Tigers] offering me an extension at this point in time.”

“I told them, ‘If you offer me an extension and show me that I’m a piece of the future, I’ll play first. I’ll even throw bullpens for you,'” said.

“But give me that security.”

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As a player nearing his late 20s who’s on a 25-41 team in rebuild mode, Castellanos is looking for the financial security that comes with an extension.

Plus, it seems like he’s just tired of being moved around so much

“The big knock on me is defense, right?” Castellanos said. “I was drafted as an amateur shortstop and played third base for a year in the minor leagues. Then I had to play right field in Double-A, left field in Triple-A, made my debut as a left fielder and then thrown back at third base on a team that was expected to win the World Series [in 2014].”

“When did I find myself in a position where I could focus on being really comfortable in one spot and not always having to learn something new while still producing and performing?” he added.

One could argue that Castellanos has been a team player by willingly moving all over the field at the Tigers’ request.

He’s always done what’s best for the team, and now, with free agency approaching, he’s decided he’s going to do what’s best for himself.

Regardless of what position he’s at, Castellanos’ bat will be the biggest factor in what kind of offers he gets in free agency.

In that regard, he’s doing all that he can.

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Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009.
Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009 and previously worked for ESPN, CBS and STATS Inc. A native of Louisiana, Ross now resides in Houston.
Location
Houston, Texas
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Sports




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