Ever since we watched Nick Castellanos sit on the top step of the home dugout at Wrigley Field after the final game of the 2019 season, we’ve dreamed of a possible reunion. But, to this point, we’ve seen nothing to indicate it’ll be the Chicago Cubs who come out of this offseason with his bat in the lineup next year.
Two teams have emerged as potential suitors, though – the San Francisco Giants and Miami Marlins.
Now both are in very different positions. San Francisco, of course, just won a franchise record 107 games under NL Manager of the Year Gabe Kapler. They’ve got money to spend and will do so as they look to replace departing free agents such as Kris Bryant, Alex Wood and Anthony DeSclafani.
Miami, meanwhile, is a team on the rise – loaded with young pitching talent – and adding someone like Castellanos could go a long way in helping the team take that next step. He’s a Florida native and grew up less than half an hour from Miami, so the return home could prove enticing.
Earlier this month, Castellanos opted out of the final two years of his four-year, $64 million deal with Cincinnati. That hardly came as a surprise as the Reds had made it abundantly clear they had one goal this winter: slash the baseball operations budget drastically. Given he’s coming off the best season of his career, there was no chance the All-Star outfielder was going to sign up for two years of losing.
Is there a chance the Chicago Cubs make a play for Nick Castellanos?
MLBTR pegged Castellanos for a five-year deal at $115 million ($23M AAV). The odds of him providing that level of value into what would be his age 34 season drastically increase if the designated hitter comes to the National League and you can keep him from regularly playing the outfield – there’s no doubt about that.
With the Cubs still trying to get out from under Jason Heyward’s eight-year, $184 million contract (there are two years and $44 million remaining), I personally have trouble seeing Jed Hoyer and his front office going out and adding a guy like Castellanos, regardless of whether the money is there or not.
His line is totally dependent on him putting the ball in play. He doesn’t draw walks (just 41 in 585 plate appearances in 2021) , so there’s not much to fall back on either with his defense or his ability to get on base when he’s in a slump. As exciting of a presence as he is and as much as I emotionally want to see him back in Chicago, it’s hard to see the front office allocating resources here this winter.