A hot commodity at this year’s trade deadline that was only saved at the last minute from continued mediocrity by the Chicago Cubs, slugging outfielder Nicholas Castellanos was almost able to help push the Cubs backs to the postseason for their fifth consecutive season under Joe Maddon. With the team missing the playoffs and Maddon being relieved of his duties at Wrigley, Castellanos is without a team and figures to become one of the highest-paid outfielders in the league this offseason.
With the Cubbies having cash issues going into this offseason, the type of deal that Castellanos will earn on the open market will almost certainly not come from Chicago, which is going to be a great sign for their National League Central divisional foes. But what if he stayed within that same division for the next four-plus seasons?
On the come-up for the past few seasons, while undergoing a rebuild, the Cincinnati Reds have the space on their salary sheet to go out and sign a top-flight free agent, someone like Castellanos who can be counted on as the team’s best offensive producer. While the team has been rumored to be interested in bringing catcher Yasmani Grandal back to the team that drafted him originally, upgrading their outfield should take more precedence.
All that Nicholas Castellanos has done is show his power numbers and his middle of the batting order power is exactly what any team should be looking for. And while he would obviously be a better fit for any team that is going to be competing for a playoff spot in 2020, the Reds are right on the cust of being right on the cusp, and the former Detroit Tigers outfielder has the stuff to help propel this team to almost being a postseason contender.
Through six full-time seasons and one brief cup of coffee in 2013, Castellanos has produced 18 or more home runs in four of those seasons, topping out at 27 long balls this past season. Surprisingly, he has only driven in 100 or more runs in one season, as his 2017 campaign was his best in a Tigers uniform in terms of the main offensive statistics, hitting 26 dingers and driving in 101 Tigers.
For Cincinnati, they acquired their ace of the future and of now, Trevor Bauer, from the Cleveland Indians before the trade deadline, and he has a great chance to team up with Sonny Gray and Luis Castillo to form one of the better three-headed starting rotations in the NL. By adding an offensive force like Castellanos to the mix can only help this team as it tries to climb from the bottom of the NL Central to try and threaten the Cubs, Milwaukee Brewers and the St. Louis Cardinals for the division title.