Big Stick Nick brought the thunder to the NLDS this week, helping carry the reigning NL champion Phillies past the 104-win Atlanta Braves and making history in the process, becoming the first player in MLB postseason history to have back-to-back multi-homer games.
In the four games, Nick Castellanos put up an ungodly 1.796 OPS, swatted four home runs to pace a Phillies offense that hung 20 runs on Atlanta pitching in the series. This is a Philadelphia team focused on accomplishing the task they fell just short of in 2022: bringing a championship back to the city for the first time since 2008.
Cubs wonder 'what might have been' with Nick Castellanos, Bryce Harper
Castellanos, along with Bryce Harper, Kyle Schwarber and the rest of the club seem to physically embody what Philadelphia is all about. For Cubs fans, though, it's a reminder of the painful decisions ownership and the front office made in the years that followed the team's 2016 championship - as the window closed and cost-cutting became the name of the game.
The Cubs not only let Castellanos walk in free agency after a 1.002 OPS after he joined the team down the stretch in 2019, but sat on the sidelines when Bryce Harper hit the open market. Seeing these two pair up with former fan favorite Kyle Schwarber in Philadelphia feels like a punch in a gut, especially after watching Chicago embark on another rebuild within a decade.
In two of the last three years, Castellanos has been an All-Star and carries a 114 OPS+ since leaving the Cubs. For a team that's searched for a middle of the order presence annually during that span, it's frustrating to see Castellanos stepping up on the game's biggest stage - but, even now, you can't help but cheer for this guy - even playing for another NL club.