By: Kurt Snyder
How many sportswriters admit when they are wrong? How many throw up their hands declaring themselves “guilty as charged” when they are proven wrong about a team or a player.
Not many. But it’s happening here today. We share a lot of opinions. We ask a lot of questions. We drive a lot of discussion. But I am pretty sure we haven’t admitted to being wrong.
But I’m the black sheep of this little partnership here at Totally Tigers and I am the one who gets to throw the emotions around. I am the lucky one who gets to deliver the passion. I get to fly by the seat of my pants. To me, I have the easy job. So if I am going to spout off about someone, I have to be prepared to admit when things are just not what they seem.
So here it goes: Thank goodness the Tigers didn’t trade Nick Castellanos.
Yep, I was the one before the trade deadline last season who was in buy mode. I was the one looking for the Tigers to go get some starting pitching by sacrificing an everyday player; Nick Castellanos.
I admit it. I haven’t been enamored with a player the Tigers were hell-bent on keeping. Every possible suitor for Castellanos has been turned away over the last few years. Nick’s been an untouchable. He was the Tigers’ sure thing.
But when we started to see him play, the initial glimpses were not that impressive. He seemed to be very slow of foot, certainly not athletic enough to play an effective third base. And his arm? Average at best. Certainly not the kind of arm that could gun someone down on a bang-bang play in a close game.
But the Tigers figured the defense would come. And it has. They figured his vaunted talents with the bat would soon blossom. And they have. But last season, even at just 23, it was hard to see future stardom for this kid. It just was.
So to me, he was prime trade bait. Nick offered decent tools at the plate; he was still young and could have bagged the Tigers some more pitching. But young talent at a critical position like third base doesn’t come around often. I just wasn’t patient enough to let it all play out. I just thought I knew the game enough to know.
But I don’t care how much baseball you watch. I don’t care how many games you have attended or how much you think you know about this great game. You’re never going to figure it out. You can only trust your instincts that you hope will validate your knowledge of the game most of the time.
How many fans out there were losing their minds early in the season thinking Miggy had been reduced to just a singles hitter?
How many fans declared JV in serious decline at the beginning of this year? If you haven’t been paying attention, none of it is true. Miggy’s hitting bombs again and JV is back to baffling hitters.
And then there is Nick Castellanos; a young third baseman, still only 24 years old, hitting the ball harder than he has ever hit it. Hitting with the kind of power none of us have seen until now. It has all come together.
He’s more disciplined at the plate. He doesn’t go to the plate searching for his pitch, hoping he gets it. He waits, gets his pitch and drives it. No more guessing. No more indecision. He is a confident hitter who has that look when he walks up to the plate, a relaxed look he didn’t have before.
Nick is a young and very coveted talent, one the Tigers have been stubborn about keeping. Glad they stuck to their guns.