Before the Miami Marlins signed an ex-Detroit Tigers infielder to be their everyday third baseman, they inquired about a potential future cornerstone of the franchise.
ESPN.com's Jayson Stark is reporting the Marlins unsuccessfully explored trades for a trio of young third basemen, including Tigers prospect Nick Castellanos.
Miami signed Placido Polanco to a one-year contract Thursday.
The 20-year-old Castellanos moved from third base to the outfield last season, as his path to Detroit is blocked by American League MVP Miguel Cabrera.
In 134 games between Lakeland and Erie, Castellanos hit .320 with 10 home runs and 57 RBI. Tigers president Dave Dombrowski said recently he expected Castellanos to begin the 2013 season at Triple-A Toledo.
About the only desirable asset remaining on the Marlins is 23-year-old outfielder Giancarlo Stanton.
Stanton hit .290 with 37 home runs and 86 RBI last season. He isn't eligible to be a free agent until 2017, and is arbitration eligible for the first time.
Stark did not say which players Miami had discussed with Detroit. The Tigers have interest in acquiring another outfield bat, preferably a right-handed hitter.
ESPN.com's Jim Bowden, a former GM with Washington and Cincinnati, wrote Wednesday that Castellanos is among the "next top prospects to be traded."
"Although the Tigers have taken the position that Castellanos is as close to untouchable as any prospect they have, they won't hesitate to move him for a significant piece this summer if they think it will make them World Series favorites," Bowden wrote.