3 free agents who could break the Chicago White Sox contract record
The Chicago White Sox could really use someone like Nick Castellanos.
There is not a more pressing need for the White Sox right now than in right field. The lack of production from their corner outfielders the past two seasons has come back to bite the White Sox. In 2020 the White Sox traded for Nomar Maza.
He hit a woeful .228 with just 15 RBIs and a single home run. In the playoffs, he struck out three times in two games made the final out of the season in the American League Wild Card Round. The White Sox brought in Adam Eaton the following year and he was released before the end of July which sparked a revolving door of mediocrity in right field.
If there was ever a position the White Sox needed to sign a player for a record-breaking contract to solve a problem, it would be in right field. Nick Castellanos is the best offensive right fielder remaining on the board. At the age of 30, he also is coming off of a career year.
Castellanos posted a 4.5 WAR in 2021, which is the highest amongst all free agent right fielders and it isn’t particularly close. The next highest WAR is Avisaíl García’s 3.6 mark, but he has already signed a deal with the Miami Marlins.
Castellanos hit 34 home runs and drove in 100 RBIs. He also had a career-best .309 batting average and .930 OPS en route to his first All-Star appearance. Despite the fact this is the first time he has been recognized as an All-Star, he has been playing at an All-Star caliber level for quite some time.
In 2017, he had 101 RBIs and led the league with 10 triples. In 2018, he batted .298 with 23 home runs. The following season he was traded to the Northside of Chicago midway through the year and dominated.
He nearly single-handily revived the Cubs season in 2018 and carried them to a playoff spot but they came up just short. Castellanos’ hit 16 home runs in 51 games on the Northside while batting .321.
The fit on the south side of Chicago would be perfect as well. The numbers showed that the White Sox won more games when they hit a home run. Outside of Jose Abreu and Yasmani Grandal, the White Sox did not drive the ball out of the ballpark at a prolific rate.
They ranked just 19th in the MLB with 190. Part of that is due to Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert missing significant time but adding Castellanos would make the White Sox the most feared lineup in the MLB.
His .309 batting average would have tied Tim Anderson for the best on the team. The White Sox needed more guys that can hit for average. Over the past couple of seasons, the teams that have done well in the postseason are the ones that put the ball in play and hit for average.
The White Sox lost their best contact hitter at the trade deadline when they shipped off Nick Madrigal to the Cubs. Castellanos would serve as a great replacement to help boost the White Sox team batting average along with providing more power than Nick Madrigal ever could.
Playing in Guaranteed Rate with Jose Abreu as lineup protection would set up Castellanos for his best season to date. There are concerns about his defense but Adam Engel is still on the roster and can serve as a defensive replacement late in games if need be.
MLB Trade Rumors projects that Castellanos will sign for $115 million for five years. That would easily make him the highest-paid player in franchise history.
If the rules from the previous CBA carry over to next season, the White Sox would have to surrender their second-highest draft pick in 2022 and have their international signing pool reduced by $500K.
He would be well worth the investment. Adam Engel hasn’t proven that he can stay healthy. Gavin Sheets had a nice season but his defense is limited and he has an unproven track record. Andrew Vaughn is better suited as a backup first baseman/DH.