What Would It Take to Get Michael Fulmer and Nick Castellanos?

Some of the players who could make a difference that we’ve been connected to simply don’t make sense. I know the TV and radio conglomerates have a vested interest in tons and tons of Manny Machado talk — especially if New York and Los Angeles and other big markets are involved! — but it does not make sense for the Braves to acquire Machado. So I’m glad it’s not talked about much on this fair blog, because it doesn’t make sense.

The Braves have been very consistent that the moves that they want to do — and also seem to make the most sense — are adding players with multiple years of control. And the Tigers match up extraordinarily well. They need a quantity of prospects. They have the spots in the rotation to give guys opportunities. They have two players that do not seem to fit within their competitive window. They would probably welcome trading Fulmer and Castellanos for a sizable helping of our pitching prospects.

So what would it take to get them? Michael Fulmer is 25 years old, had a 3.5 fWAR season last year and on pace for another 3 WAR this year, and he won’t be a free agent until 2023. He is just as valuable but not nearly as publicized as Chris Archer. Put him on a contending team in the National League, put him in front of a good defense, and he could develop into a top-30 starter. And he would be going into his peak right as the Braves are peaking themselves.

Nick Castellanos is also attractive. He’s 26, he’s produced 2.5 fWAR so far this season, and is also entering his peak. He doesn’t have quite as many years of control, though, as he’ll be a free agent at the end of next season. Fulmer, with his years of control, is the more attractive piece, but Castellanos could help this year and next. Castellanos played 3B predominantly last year, but he did not grade out well. For this trade to work, the Braves would have to use Castellanos at 3B, LF, and RF depending on match-ups, and this would obviously show a “win now” attitude as it would cause some playing time for both Ender and Camargo to decrease. Markakis at some point will need some days off, so Castellanos would fill in exceptionally well there as well.

But as Markakis leaves for free agency, Castellanos would be your everyday RF next year. And as a RF, he fits our lineup much better as a power-hitting right-handed hitter vs. Markakis, who lacks Castellanos’ power and adds to the left-handed hitting dynamic at the top of the order.

If they made this trade at the deadline, the Braves could be looking at a trade package of a major league ready starting pitcher, an elite starting pitching prospect down the system, a strong position player prospect, and filler. So Luiz Gohara, Ian Anderson, Drew Waters, and Matt Wisler could be what we’re looking at. The names jump out as a lot to give up, but you’re getting almost 6 years of total control for Fulmer and Castellanos together, and they’re on pace to contribute about 7.5-8 fWAR this year. You would add some certainty and validity to both the rotation and the depth of the position player core, and you’d have your replacement for Markakis.

51 thoughts on “What Would It Take to Get Michael Fulmer and Nick Castellanos?”

  1. I’ve JC’ed myself!

    IMO, it’s not a matter of whether or not any one particular starter is good enough or not good enough based on some subjective standard. It’s a matter of making the roster as good as possible through whatever means possible. The reason I was so optimistic about this season is because I felt like we would have a fairly deep, complete team. As it sits, we’re short the LHP-hitting side of CF, offensive SS production, and an overall lack of power team-wide. If Brian Gerald Snitker can’t find a way to use Mike Moustakas, Johan Camargo, and Dansby Swanson in the most optimal way, then he shouldn’t be managing the Atlanta Braves roundball squad. C’mon, are we literally saying that if Snitker can’t fill out the lineup card the exact same way every day, the wheels are going to fall off? Then he shouldn’t be managing.

  2. Since Ryan Flaherty came down to earth (April 21st), he is hitting .159/.213/.207, so Mike Moustakas can help. Camargo is hitting .239/.358/.384 against RHP, and Dansby .239/.358/.384. Moose is hitting .252/.318/.504 against RHP. First bat off the bench against righties Charlie Culberson is hitting .260/.321/.430 against RHP. I don’t have Braves-only splits against righties, but Joey Bats hit .143/.250/.343 total, so there’s another set of PAs Moose would have been an upgrade over. Bottom line, if Moose can play a Eric Hinske role of running into fastballs off the bench and clobbering some RHP at 3B, then we’d be stupid to make it simply about Camargo vs. Moose. Plus, you don’t have to have 7 guys getting 650 PAs. We’re not that talented.

  3. The problem with that is that while Camargo has good hands and a good arm, his range is limited. (Playing third base limits the amount of field he has to cover) So while moving him to SS for Moose and sending Dansby to the bench makes the offense stronger, it might weaken the defense even more. Swanson is substantially better defensive SS than Camargo.

  4. Don’t get me wrong—I’d rather have Moose on the roster than Santana. My point was that he’s not an obvious upgrade over Camargo.
    But I’m with you that if Snit was creative in platoons and moving people around (like Earl Weaver or Casey Stengel or Rob Cope) so that the ABs were spread around the right folks in the right matchups, we’d be a better offensive team.

    Not sure what Moose will cost, though, and I don’t see adding him as a huge difference maker. If you can get him cheap, though, by all means go ahead.

  5. It’s very much worth noting that Rob wrote this piece — and it was inadvertently posted early on here for a second — before a similar idea was posted on MLBTR.

    This idea deserves the discussion that Moustakas is getting.

  6. Yeah the original posting got botched, but this is the exact kind of deal that the Braves are undoubtedly looking to make. Two guys with control from a team willing to take a quantity of non-elite prospects.

  7. @8 – I didn’t realize that it was open to non All-Stars. I wonder if Evan Gattis got any consideration? I would like to have seen that.

  8. I love Freddie Freeman. I have no problems if Bryce beats him. While I’d love both, if I could only have one, I’d take Freddie all day. This team doesn’t deserve Freddie.

  9. No. The way you flesh out this trade, either Castellanos blocks Riley or blocks a big FA signing in the offseason. And he’s an awful defender, especially at 3B. Fullmer would be a great addition but he has injury issues, too. There was a good analysis of a potential Machado trade over at OFR wherein we would offer Kolby straight up for Machado and if the O’s refuse then someone else is overpaying. You have no idea yet which of Pache or Waters is going to turn out to be the replacement of the future for Ender, if either.

    I just don’t get why folks including the FO are so insistent on not looking at rentals. They could be the cheapest boost for this year without blocking any big plans for next year. I agree with Rob that bringing in Moose is an improvement however you want to look at it – either at 3B or the bench or both.

    I don’t have time to do it but maybe someone can run the same value analysis on Fullmer and Castellanos that OFR did and see in dollars if Rob’s trade really makes sense. I don’t see it. I especially don’t like giving up Waters.

    I also think everyone here is wrong to be bashing on Dansby. This is barely his second year in the league. At this point in his career Simba was the worst hitter on the team hitting one pop-up after another. Just as soon as you send Dansby out, he’ll reach his potential and we’ll all regret it (not to mention that he’s already a better baserunner than Simba). He is a great fielder and that is what you want at SS. How long did it take before Ozzie Smith was a passable hitter? Quite a while.

    I also think we’re writing off Ender too soon. He has always been better in the second half and that is just the kind of guy we need to get over the top. The only prototypical leadoff hitters in the org are Ender and Reed. If we get a big power hitter than I can see putting Acuna at leadoff because, in the end, if Acuna doesn’t breakout, we lose. When we were playing our best it was Ender wrecking havoc on the basepaths. We need that to disrupt pitchers.

    I just hope that Fernando Salas and Lane Adams are not the big moves for the deadline.

  10. Some fans have ruined criticizing Dansby. Some fans have not given him a chance from the beginning. Some fans want him to turn a corner or lose a little playing time until doing so. Those are two different groups of fans.

  11. The Braves brought back Lane Adams on a minor league deal. He hit .135 for the AAA Cubs and they let him go.

  12. I’ll say what we’re all thinking:

    You don’t win friends with Salas! You don’t win friends with Salas! *starts conga line*

  13. I think Rob is on the right track that a deal like Castellanos/Fulmer is what the Braves are looking for. I’m not particularly familiar with either Castellanos or Fulmer; the former looks like a good (not great) RH slugger with team control who can fake it at 3B but has no real defensive home, while the latter is a dude with prospect pedigree and a huge fastball but whose results have been going backwards ever since he joined the majors. My understanding is the Tigers would want a huge haul for Fulmer, and I wouldn’t want the Braves to pay that kind of price unless they have a great idea about how to coach him into a real ace like the ‘Stros did with Cole.

    If the Braves kick the tires on Moose and Castellanos but only end up with a bench upgrade and a few relievers by trade, I’ll actually be OK with it. I feel like there’s a good chance that Newk and Folty will fade in the 2nd half and we’ll realize that this team isn’t *quite* ready to take on the big boys yet. That’ll happen next year when Acuna and Dansby take steps forward and Soroka/Allard/Gohara/Touki etc. are ready to contribute.

  14. The Dodgers have won their division five years straight. I would prefer that they fall short in what until recently had been a down year, when it seems like their NL West competition is going to fall off quickly in ensuing season.

  15. I would rather Machado stay out of the Braves’ division… Then again, does anyone think winning the Machado sweepstakes will hurt the Phillies after this season?

  16. Yes, but not immediately after. One prospect rumored to be in the deal, Adonis Medina, is in A+.

    I guess adding Machado now does subtract from their trade chips this offseason. But I imagine their plan for then is just to spend lots of money.

  17. I feel like Atlanta has buttons to press to improve the 2018 roster without hurting the future. I don’t think Philly has that. If they deal Medina for Machado, that definitely helps them in the short-term, but that wouldn’t be a good idea long-term. I think Medina+ for Machado is similar to the hamstringing we made with the Tex deal.

  18. We got more than three months from Tex.

    Do you expect both Harper and Bryce to spend next year in the AL East, Rob?

  19. Right, but they’ll give up less, and I think it will be a similar effect to the Tex deal. Won’t gut their system, but I think losing Medina thins the top of their farm out pretty good. With that said, their rotation is cost-controlled and 3-4th in baseball, and their hitters are 20th in WAR, so if they were to do a deal like this, this would be the deal.

    Do you mean Machado and Harper? I know I don’t know, especially since Boston already has Betts, Benintendi and Martinez, and New York has their outfield. New York has Didi at SS, and Boston has Bogaerts. Not sure I see a perfect fit there without making moves.

  20. Castellanos is Martinez light. Not quite as bad defensively, not quite as good of a hitter. Similar track record. A little younger. So, put him on his own, and he should be a similar haul.

    Fulmer is a little less than Quintana. Should be a 3 but could briefly be a 2 or fall off to a 4. Quintana was a 2 who wouldn’t make it to 1, but probably would be better than a 4.

    I THINK I would give up the package you specified. And, the Tigers really ought to take it.

  21. Need I really remind you guys that losing Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Matt Harrison and that shortstop guy really didn’t hurt us at all?

  22. I think that package is way too much to give up, especially with Fulmer’s arm issues. As a matter of fact, I think I’d rather have Gohara than Fulmer going forward. Wouldn’t mind having Castellanos though.

  23. How about Asdrubel and Familia? That’s a combo that would be perfect (IF and CL) and then you would have a great chance at extending them if you want to.

  24. @45

    It seems odd for him to come out and say that in the context of talking up Cumberland and Contreras. I tend to think beat writers are lying or have ulterior motives way more often than not, so I can’t help but think AJax has some attitude problems that were not native to the Seattle org, and maybe this is a way of telling him he’s not in the team’s plans until he plays better. It just seems odd to make such a drastic statement about a 22-year old playing a position where the bat typically doesn’t develop until later.

    He hit well during the regular season last year, he hit well in the AFL, but he still gets bad marks on his defense and his offense has now slumped. Athletically it doesn’t seem like there’s an issue so maybe he’s just not mentally there and the Braves are hoping for a change. With that said, if a 22-year old catcher at AAA who had a .800 OPS last year between A+ and AA is not a prospect, then whatever, but I’m glad we still have him.

  25. Sure, I guess they hope the bat can still develop.

    Maybe the guys who have watched him play say that he has a bad swing, or a slow bat that can’t catch up to heat in the upper minors (let alone the bigs). Maybe he can’t hit a breaking ball, Pedro Cerrano style. Don’t know, just speculating.

  26. The kid is throwing out 31% of basestealers and has a .990 fielding percentage without undo numbers of passed balls or wild pitches. He appears to have made real strides with the glove. On offense, he has put up a 120 OPS+ over the last month and has been promoted to AAA. who cares what Bowman thinks?

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