The Chicago White Sox landing Nicholas Castellanos in free agency would be a game-changer for the team as they look to contend in 2020.
In fact, I’d go as far as to say that the team immediately leapfrogs the Cleveland Indians for second place in the division, especially if the Indians decide to trade Francisco Lindor and/or Mike Clevinger.
Jon Morosi of MLB.com reported on Monday that despite having a payroll set to increase past $100 million in 2020 after signing Dallas Keuchel, the White Sox are still interested in signing Castellanos too.
The 27-year-old would immediately be a middle-of-the-order threat as he hit .289/.337/.525 with 27 home runs and 73 RBI in 2019 split between the Detroit Tigers and Chicago Cubs. That gave him a 121 wRC+ and 2.8 fWAR (FanGraphs) for the season.
After being dealt to the Cubs, Castellanos really took off with a .321/.356/.646 slash line with 16 homers and 36 RBI to give himself a 151 OPS+ over 51 games.
Defense has obviously never been his calling card, but believe it or not -9 DRS and a -4.4 UZR over 1,171 innings last season was a major improvement for him in right field as noted in an article I wrote about a month ago.
However, after the team traded for Nomar Mazara in earlier this month, Castellanos wouldn’t even have to play right field every day and could simply DH most games.
- Tim Anderson SS
- Yoan Moncada 3B
- Nicholas Castellanos DH
- Yasmani Grandal C
- Jose Abreu 1B
- Eloy Jimenez LF
- Luis Robert CF
- Nomar Mazara RF
- Nick Madrigal 2B
The signing of Castellanos would allow James McCann to become a true backup catcher for the team next season with the DH spot occupied.
Mazara also has significant platoon splits for his career with a .799 OPS against right-handers as compared to a .633 OPS against southpaws.
Bringing in Castellanos would give the White Sox the ability to sit Mazara against at least against tough left-handers and move Castellanos to right field in a pinch.
If the White Sox can actually sign Nicholas Castellanos, they might have a lineup very capable of carrying the team next season and they would immediately become true playoff contenders.