The Philadelphia Phillies are reportedly interested in one of the best remaining hitters on the free-agent market.
Jon Morosi of MLB.com says that the Phillies are “showing interest” in outfielder Nick Castellanos, who he reminds was a first-round pick of the Detroit Tigers in 2010, when Dave Dombrowski was their general manager.
This isn’t especially shocking when you consider that Morosi reported just prior to the owners locking the players out in early December that the Phillies had “recent contact” with the slugging outfielder’s camp. Still, it’s noteworthy that the Phillies have apparently re-engaged in recent days, with the transactions freeze being lifted.
What would be interesting to know is what type of contact the 30-year-old is targeting at this juncture. At the outset of the offseason, I projected on Audacy Sports that Castellanos would land a five-year/$105 million deal. MLB Trade Rumors projected a five-year/$115 million deal. And yet, MLB.com‘s Mark Feinsand reported in late November that Castellanos was looking for a “seven or eight-year deal.”
Just as it did in Great American Ball Park during his two seasons with the Cincinnati Reds, Castellanos’ bat would certainly play in Citizens Bank Park. He’s coming off of a season where he homered 34 times and drove in 100 runs, the type of production that the Phillies would love to add in the middle of their order along with Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins.
However, Castellanos was a failed third baseman that was ultimately moved to the outfield. While he’s a better outfielder than he was a third baseman, Castellanos still had -7 defensive runs saved in right field last season. If the Phillies planned for him to get a bulk of his starts in left field, they’d seemingly have to upgrade a defense that posted a league-worst -54 defensive runs saved last season elsewhere. That could mean acquiring a defensive-first center fielder like Kevin Kiermaier, but it also may mean acquiring an upgrade over either Didi Gregorius or Alec Bohm defensively as well.
What’s becoming increasingly clear, though, is that Dombrowski is probably going to do more than just tweak around the edges as he attempts to turn an 82-win squad into the first Phillies team to reach the postseason since 2011.
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