Detroit — It’s been a journey for Nick Castellanos. From first-round pick in the 2010 draft to his ascent through the Tigers farm system, from his debut in 2013 to an uncertain future this season.
Castellanos, 27, has been seeking a contract extension, but it’s looking more and more like his future won’t be in a Tigers uniform.
“If I say that it doesn’t affect me, I’d be lying, but at the end of the day, just show up and try to win the game we have tonight,” Castellanos said before Friday’s game against Cleveland. “You don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s a contract year so you want to be able to put yourself in a good situation.
“As a competitor, you want to show up and you want to win and be a part of something. Realizing that you’re not a part of something is a different battle, in general.
“You handle it the best way you can and stay the course and keep playing ball.”
The Tigers are 25-40 and are focusing on the future, with the hope that young prospects such as Casey Mize, Matt Manning and Franklin Perez can pay dividends. That would be a few years from now — and the interim holds no guarantees for Castellanos or much of the current roster.
For Castellanos, he’s still looking to contribute in whatever way he can, but that could entail being traded this season to garner some assets. He’s not resigned to the notion that his days with the Tigers are numbered, but he knows the reality of the situation in playing out his current deal.
Castellanos and the Tigers avoided arbitration last offseason with a $9.95 million deal. He’s set to become an unrestricted free agent after this season.
“Baseball is a weird thing; anything can happen, and any situation can pop up. Obviously, I’ve been open to any extension talks but that hasn’t happened,” he said. “They said I turned down one in the offseason of 2017 but that wasn’t true.
“I’ve also had conversations with (general manager) Al (Avila) where he said it doesn’t really make sense where we are right now in this process of a rebuild to be handing out extensions. This is in the beginning of last season.
“I don’t have a college education, but I can pick up the pieces here and put a puzzle together. I’m not saying this is 100% what it’s going to be, but if I’m a gambling man, I don’t see them offering me an extension at this point in time.”