Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski did much more than introduce new closer Joe Nathan on Wednesday, he also laid to rest any and all speculation about what positions Nick Castellanos and Miguel Cabrera will be playing next season. The veteran GM fully expects Castellanos to play third base in 2014 and Cabrera to move back to first, reports Chris Iott of MLive.com.
Castellanos, 21, worked his way through the Tigers' farm system as a third baseman, but was moved to left field last year because of the massive road block Miguel Cabrera created at the big-league level. Now that Prince Fielder is gone, however, both Castellanos and Cabrera can slot back into the positions they're more comfortable with.
Castellanos has never earned great marks for his defense at the hot corner, but it seems unlikely that he could do any worse than the guy he's replacing. Like Cabrera, Castellanos' value all hinges on his bat. The youngster batted .276/.343/.450 with 18 home runs and 37 doubles over 134 games at Triple-A in 2013, which would probably work just fine for Detroit.
As the roster is currently constructed, Castellanos' move back to the third means that Andy Dirks will be at the top of the depth chart in left field for 2014. There's been some rumbling about the Tigers adding a corner outfielder this winter, but Dombrowski said Wednesday he doesn't expect the club to be involved with any big free agents the rest of the offseason.
In sticking with the "no big free agents" theme, Dombrowski added that he doesn't expect Joaquin Benoit to return to the Tigers' bullpen next season. The GM expects Joe Nathan to close and young flame-thrower Bruce Rondon to take on the setup role next year.