Nicholas Castellanos could join Chicago White Sox in 2020

Joshua Finkelstein
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
(Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /
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The Chicago White Sox could very well acquire an outfielder they pursued this past offseason at some point this year.

The Chicago White Sox pursued Nicholas Castellanos this past offseason before deciding to acquire Nomar Mazara in a trade to fill their right field opening instead.

That led Castellanos ultimately signing with the Cincinnati Reds on a four year, $64 million contract (Spotrac).

However, that deal includes opt-outs after the 2020 season and 2021 season which could potentially give Castellanos a chance to join the Chicago White Sox again.

Now, the simplest way that the right fielder could end up in the South Side would be by him simply opting out of his contract next offseason as the team could have an opening if Nomar Mazara doesn’t perform.

Due to this year’s shortened season, though, Castellanos could actually find himself on the trade market.

If the Reds fear that him opting out is likely, they could look to trade him regardless of where they are in the standings. And if they are struggling, Castellanos would almost certainly become trade bait.

Now, an interesting twist to this situation could be if the White Sox and Reds end up in the same division in 2020, which has been proposed in the recent discussions about division realignment.

That would make this situation require one of them not to be in playoff contention for these two teams to connect on a trade, even if this realignment would only be for this season.

The right fielder could make a lot of sense as a mid-season addition in a trade during this season, though, as he would fill the White Sox right field situation with more of a certainty.

While Mazara had an impressive spring training, he really needed a platoon partner this offseason and truthfully is only a long-term solution at the position if he can somehow manage to become the star he was once projected to be.

Castellanos would be an improvement over Mazara as he had a 2.8 fWAR in 2019 as compared to the latter’s 0.5 fWAR.

Another factor that could lead to the Reds looking to deal Castellanos is his abysmal defense that made his fit with a National League team somewhat questionable.

On the positive side, it did see significant improvement from 2018 to 2019, despite still not being too great. That progression is likely something the Reds are banking on the 28-year-old continuing or at least maintaining.

If he can’t, the Reds could look to deal him before his value plummets when also factoring in his opt-outs.

Castellanos’ ability to play right field would be a requirement for the Chicago White Sox, though, as they will have a log jam at DH and first base this season between Jose Abreu, Edwin Encarnacion, and even Yasmani Grandal.

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There are many scenarios that could still see Nicholas Castellanos in a Chicago White Sox uniform over the next year, though, and he’d be a game-changer if they managed to acquire him.

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