Here’s a twist.
Despite reportedly agreeing to a four-year/$79 million deal with Kyle Schwarber Wednesday, the Philadelphia Phillies have continued to show interest in All-Star outfielder Nick Castellanos, per Jon Morosi of MLB.com.
This is a surprising development because the Phillies have approximately $12.8 million to work with under the $230 million luxury tax threshold, according to Phillies Nation‘s Destiny Lugardo. The Phillies can go over that number, but they’ve never topped it before. And as recently as last Sunday, Matt Gelb of The Athletic reported that while president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski could spend up to $230 million, he didn’t have the blessing of ownership to exceed the threshold.
Another alternative would be to offload another player who is making a sizeable amount to open up room for Castellanos, such as Didi Gregorius or Jean Segura. Gregorius and Segura both count $14 million towards the luxury tax in 2022, because that’s the average annual value of their deals. It’s unclear if there would be a market for either, especially if the expectation was that the team acquiring either would be taking on most or all of their salary in 2022.
Either Castellanos or Schwarber could be the DH, with the other set to play left field. Schwarber had -5 defensive runs saved in left field last season, while Castellanos had -7 defensive runs saved in right field. Castellanos was a third baseman when he broke into the league with the Detroit Tigers — then run by Dombrowski — but he had -45 defensive runs saved at the hot corner, which necessitated a move to another position.
For all the questions that signing Castellanos would bring to Philadelphia, the idea of him, Schwarber, Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins would make for a pretty imposing lineup. And if the Phillies aren’t his landing spot, Morosi also notes that the division-rival Miami Marlins continue to show interest in Castellanos as well.
It should be noted that Castellanos is represented by Scott Boras, who has every reason to give off the perception that the Phillies are still in on one of this clients. It’s entirely possible that’s what is happening here.
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