LAKELAND, Fla. -- As Nick Castellanos turned 21 this week, he could take note of at least one sign that he has arrived: He has become prominent in trade speculation for a star player.
In a recent column, the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo included this item about Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton: "One AL executive makes a good point: Never rule out the Tigers as a major player for Stanton when the time comes. Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski . . . appears to have the chips in third baseman/outfielder Nick Castellanos, outfielder Avisail Garcia, righty Rick Porcello, and others."
Stanton, a rightfielder and three-year veteran, is one of the Marlins' few established players. He hit 37 homers last year in only 449 at-bats and led the majors in slugging at .608. Miguel Cabrera slugged .606 to lead the American League.
Castellanos is from the Miami area. With the Marlins, he probably would get what every young player wants: a chance to play and establish himself. (Once established, a young player starts to yearn for a championship, which helps explain why Stanton wasn't happy with the Marlins' off-season unloading of veterans.) Castellanos knows some of the young Marlins, including catcher Rob Brantly, whom the Tigers included in last year's Jacob Turner deal.
Castellanos, the Tigers' top prospect, hasn't played in Triple-A. He has a lot of at-bats this exhibition season -- including a two-run double in his first one Thursday night -- but it's hard to see how he'll fit with the Tigers at the start of the season. But he's talented enough to be mentioned in big-time trade rumors.
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