Most of the major free agents this offseason have already signed new contracts. However, there are still a few big names still available, and one of the best players that are still available is Nicholas Castellanos.
Nick Castellanos was expected to garner a lot of attention this offseason thanks to his bat and his versatility in the field. The former Tiger and Cub has been one of the league’s more consistent power hitters, and was a bright spot in recent years for a rebuilding Tigers team prior to being traded this past July. Castellanos has hit 20 or more home runs in each of the past three seasons, and he’s had an OPS over .800 in the last four seasons.
Castellanos’ last two seasons, though, proved how dangerous of a hitter he really is. With the Tigers in 2018, Castellanos had a slash line of .298/.354/.500, and 23 HR’s, 74 XBH, and 89 RBI’s for a team that was one of the worst in the MLB. And he had a pretty similar season in 2019 (.289/.337/.525), but his production went up in a big way once he became a Cub.
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After being moved at the trade deadline to the North Side, Castellanos was one of the best hitters in all of MLB. From August 1 (Castellanos’ first game with the Cubs) until the end of the season, Castellanos had a slash line of .321/.356/.646. Castellanos’ SLG during that time was seventh in all of MLB, while his 1.002 OPS was 11th during that period. If he proved anything during his time with Chicago, it’s that he’s one of the league’s better hitters, while showing that he can be even more dangerous when he has protection around him.
With all of that said, it really doesn’t make all that sense that Castellanos is still available. But it’s highly unlikely that he will be on the market for much longer, so where could he be playing next season?
Where could he wind up?
It seemed that the White Sox were the favorites as of early this week, as they have been heavily linked with Castellanos for quite some time. They’ve already had an active offseason, signing Yasmani Grandal, Gio Gonzalez, Dallas Keuchel, and most recently, Edwin Encarnacion. They also acquired Nomar Mazara in a trade with the Rangers during the Winter Meetings.
Source: #WhiteSox remain interested in Nicholas Castellanos, following their signing of Dallas Keuchel. Their current payroll obligation is around $100 million for 2020, with room to possibly increase further. @MLB @MLBNetwork
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 23, 2019
However, after the move for Encarnacion, are the White Sox still interested in Castellanos? Considering they already have Eloy Jimenez and Nomar Mazara as locks in the outfield, as well as top prospect Luis Robert waiting in the wings, they may no longer be interested in the former Tiger and Cub.
However, Castellanos would make sense for the Rangers, Braves and Nationals. The Rangers missed out on Anthony Rendon, and they could use another right-handed bat for their team (the Rangers finished 22nd in wOBA and 26th in wRC+ against LHP in 2019) next season.
The Braves and Nationals may also look at Castellanos depending on where Josh Donaldson goes. Both teams want Donaldson, and with the Nationals losing Anthony Rendon, Castellanos may be a fallback option for both squads. The big question, though, is whether those teams would want to move Castellanos back to third base. Even though he has played that position for most of his career, he hasn’t a played a game at third since 2017.
Considering how good he’s been, and the fact that no draft pick is attached to Castellanos, it’s a bit surprising that he is still a free agent. What do you think about Nick Castellanos, and where do you think he’ll wind up? Let us know on our social media channels, and be sure to keep checking out the FH Freeway site for more articles on all things baseball.