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Detroit Tigers trade rumors: Could Indians trade for Nicholas Castellanos?

Indians reportedly exploring short-term offensive upgrades

Nicholas Castellanos #9 of the Detroit Tigers looks out from the dugout during the game against the Los Angeles Angels at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on July 29, 2019 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

DETROIT – A new potential suitor has emerged for Detroit Tigers outfielder Nicholas Castellanos ahead of the MLB trade deadline: the division rival Cleveland Indians.

MLB Network's Jon Morosi reports the Indians have Castellanos on their radar as a potential short-term offensive upgrade.

Cleveland is 17-5 this month and has clawed within two games of the Minnesota Twins, who once held a massive lead in the division.

With a starting rotation that could return aces Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco later in the year, Cleveland has some of the best pitching in the American League. Shane Bieber and Mike Clevinger have become excellent starters, and Trevor Bauer is one year removed from serious Cy Young contention.

Nicholas Castellanos #9 of the Detroit Tigers hits a single in the ninth inning against the Washington Nationals during a MLB game at Comerica Park on June 30, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. Washington defeated the Detroit 2-1. (Photo by Dave Reginek/Getty Images)

Zach Plesac hasn't been a bad injury fill-in, either, posting a 3.10 ERA and 1.10 WHIP in 11 starts.

Cleveland's window to contend is starting to close, so that's likely why they prefer a short-term offensive option that wouldn't cost as much to acquire.

Jose Ramirez is starting to return to his elite form, joining Francisco Lindor and Carlos Santana as offensive threats atop the lineup.

The outfield is weak, though, despite the emergence of Oscar Mercado in center. Jake Bauers in particular is struggling, currently sporting a negative WAR.

Castellanos is the best hitter on the Tigers' roster, posting a .780 OPS with 10 home runs, 36 doubles and 108 hits in 100 games. His defense is still a liability, but he's improved in right field this season.

Nicholas Castellanos reacts after striking out against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on March 30, 2019, in Toronto, Canada. (Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

Castellanos is scheduled to become a free agent at the end of the year.

The Tigers and Indians pulled off a deadline deal last season, as Detroit sent breakout outfielder Leonys Martin to Cleveland for prospect Willie Castro.

Martin was solid for the Indians before missing time with a serious medical condition, but got cut early this season due to a .619 OPS and minus 0.2 WAR.

Castro is Detroit's No. 10 prospect and has a .792 OPS, 34 extra-base hits and 16 stolen bases in Triple-A this season.

If Castellanos is traded to Cleveland, the Tigers could target a young infielder with high upside, such as Brayan Rocchio, Yu Chang, Gabriel Rodriguez or Aaron Bracho.

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