After an outstanding second half with the Chicago Cubs last season, Nicholas Castellanos is one of the hottest names on the free-agent market. The Cubs acquired the 27-year old outfielder from the Detroit Tigers before the 2019 Major League Baseball trade deadline; then he tore the cover off the ball in the National League, hitting .321 in just 51 games.
His productivity last season has caught the eye of several major-league teams this offseason, with the Cubs, San Francisco Giants, and Cincinnati Reds all in the mix. However, MLB.com’s Jon Morosi considers the Texas Rangers the “most prominent team” in the Castellanos chase.
With the Rangers trading Nomar Mazara to the Chicago White Sox, there’s a void in right field for the Rangers. Castellanos played the majority of his games in right last season. This would give Texas four different players to use at both corner outfield positions and at designated hitter in Joey Gallo, Shin-Soo Choo, Willie Calhoun, and Castellanos. The Rangers haven’t executed a big-money signing this offseason, making a blockbuster deal with Castellanos a definite possibility.
The Numbers Speak for Themselves
Castellanos has been a very productive player through his seven-year, big-league career, hitting .277 with 120 home runs. He has slugged over 20 home runs three times, including three consecutive 20-plus home run-seasons from 2017-19. His 2018 campaign was, by far, Castellanos’ best offensive trial, as he hit .298 with 46 doubles and 23 home runs.
Castellanos struggled in the first half of last season with the Tigers, hitting just 11 home runs in 100 games. But he got a fresh start when he was traded to the Cubs on July 31 last season. New surroundings really paid off for Castellanos, as he became one of Chicago’s most reliable hitters over the last two months of the season.
He hit 16 home runs in just 51 games while also totaling 46 RBIs. In August alone, Castellanos slugged 11 home runs, while hitting .348. To put that number into perspective, he hit just 11 home runs in 100 games with the Tigers in 2019 prior to the trade. Pretty impressive to say the least.
Frankly, the Cubs should be pursuing Castellanos just as much as Texas given his production for them last season. For now, the Rangers look to be the favorite, and they should be doing everything possible to bring this type of impact bat to the Lone Star State. Defensively, he’s versatile, having played both corner outfield positions and third base in his big-league career.
He has also made it known that he’s open to playing first base, if needed. If you want to keep his bat in the lineup, he can always serve as a designated hitter, too. Pairing Castellanos with Gallo in the Rangers lineup would be deadly, giving them two big-time power hitters in the heart of their order. Gallo hit 22 home runs in just 70 games last season, while compiling 81 home runs from 2017-18.
Castellanos is the Answer for Texas
The Rangers were interested in Josh Donaldson, but the 34-year old is seeking a four-year deal, and he’s already creeping into his mid-30s. Castellanos, however, is just 27. He’s in his prime, so a four or five-year deal would see Castellanos play for Texas into his early 30’s; he has more left in the tank, so Texas would be getting more reward from the money they give him.
His ability to hit for power and average is hard to ignore. Texas should be doing everything possible to sign the 27-year old because he would definitely be an impact player for their organization.