The White Sox desperately need to upgrade their right field situation if they want to compete in 2020 and lucky for them there’s one available in free agency.
Nick Castellanos did everything possible to will the Cubs into the postseason during the final two months of the season after he was traded to Chicago by the Tigers. He brought energy, passion, leadership, every intangible you can think of to the Cubs, while carrying the offense in August. In 51 games with the Cubs Castellanos slashed .321/.356/.646, with 16 home runs.
A playoff race rejuvenated Castellanos, who thrived under the pressure at Wrigley Field. Overall in 2019 with the Tigers and Cubs, Castellanos posted a slash line of .289/.337/.525, leading to a career best .862 OPS after his offensive outburst with the Cubs.
He’d be a big upgrade for the White Sox and there are already rumblings that they’re strongly pursuing the 27-year-old outfielder.
Castellanos homered 27 times in 2019, 16 coming after the July 31 trade to the Cubs. His power numbers will go up at Guaranteed Rate Field compared to his time hitting in Detroit.
The biggest issue the White Sox have to worry about is his outfield defense, which has ranked dead last since he moved from third base, where he was also well below average defensively. Yet, Castellanos has improved slightly since transitioning to the outfield, but could the White Sox afford to have two bad outfielders in the corners?
Because Castellanos has been poor defensively his WAR has been hindered despite the good production on offense. From 2016-19, Castellanos has averaged a 120 wRC+, but his fWAR hasn’t eclipsed above 3, which was his career high in 2018.
Despite the concerns, fans should like his projected offense on the South Side and if things really do become a disaster on defense the White Sox can either move him over to left field or give Castellanos at-bats from the DH spot.
While Castellanos isn’t the biggest splash the White Sox can make this offseason, he’d still be a solid signing. Of course, if the White Sox do sign him, they can’t leave the offseason with him being the only significant addition.
So, if the White Sox are serious about pursuing him, how much would it cost? MLB Trade Rumors actually predicted the White Sox signing Castellanos to a four-year deal, worth $58 million. At FanGraphs, Castellanos is projected a similar contract, four years for $56 million.
The Cubs and Castellanos reportedly have mutual interest in working out a deal to reunite on the North Side. Ultimately, though, it’s going to come down to the money.
So, White Sox fans, yes or no Nick Castellanos?