Cubs: Nick Casellanos, Ryan Tepera, Trevor Rosenthal instead of Carlos Correa
Going back to the well of bringing back a former Cub, instead of a second bat, we add strength to the back end of the bullpen. As many are aware, Nick Castellanos is still a free agent after opting out of his deal with Cincinnati. No doubt, it was a career year for Castellanos, who slashed an impressive .309/.362/.576 and reaching 100 RBI for the second time in his career.
Castellanos’ hot start really stands out, as he put up a .331/.384/.585 line with a 150 wRC+ in the first half of the 2021 season. The veteran outfielder carries a career .364/.401/.727 mark in 177 plate appearances at Wrigley Field. Though Correa is a better defender than Castellanos (even mentioning them in same sentence defensively is a sin), Castellanos has him beat offensively with a career batting line of .278/.329/.486 against. Correa’s .277/.356/.481. The only offensive edge to Correa goes in the on-base percentage department. A glaring weakness however when comparing the two is Correa’s 7.2 WAR in 2021 vs. just 3.2 for Castellanos – even in a career year.
Regardless, Castellanos’ price tag promises to come in far less than what Correa will get. That allows the Cubs to spend that salary elsewhere, specifically the bullpen in this instance. Adding an arm back such as Ryan Tepera gives the Cubs another familiar face who has proven himself at Wrigley Field. More importantly, it helps to patch up a desperate need in the bullpen after it was gutted at last season’s trade deadline.
We’re not done yet, either. You can go bring in a wild card who missed all of 2021 in Trevor Rosenthal. If the right-hander gets back to his dominant ways, he has the potential to be the ultimate steal for any team looking to add a closer this winter. Although he missed 2021, in 2020 Rosenthal posted a 1.90 ERA and 2.20 FIP in 23 2/3 innings of work, recording 11 saves in the process. His best year came in 2015 where he posted 48 saves with a 2.10 ERA en route to an All-Star appearance. Even if he is not a closer moving forward, he still has extremely high potential if his injury is fully behind him.
All in all, Correa is a superstar. It’s understandable to want to go all-in. The excitement that comes with landing a big star and the heightened optimism that it will catapult your team to the top is something we live for as sports fans. But it also has the potential to handcuff your club for years to come if things go wrong – something that’s surely not lost on Cubs fans.