Nick Castellanos thought there was a good chance he would be playing in the National League East in 2022, but he apparently didn’t view the Philadelphia Phillies as his most likely landing spot.
Ahead of Thursday evening’s Phillies-Miami Marlins game, Castellanos told Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald that he believed he was going to sign with The Fish at one point this past offseason.
However, the biggest champion of signing Castellanos within the organization apparently was then-CEO Derek Jeter, who resigned from his position in late February and sold his 4% stake in the franchise. His desire to sign Castellanos — or another big bat — probably wasn’t unrelated to his sudden departure from the Marlins. After all, Jeter had done a good job rebuilding the Marlins organization and setting them up for success, by all accounts.
But in a division that’s home to the defending World Series Champion Atlanta Braves — and two of the sport’s top five spenders in the Phillies and New York Mets — Jeter may very well have felt larger investments in major league payroll were needed for the Marlins to be a consistent contender. It doesn’t take a genius to connect the dots as to why he left the organization when it became apparent that they weren’t prepared to spend at the level he deemed necessary. (The Marlins payroll is currently the 26th-highest in the league at $79.5 million, per Spotrac.)
While the Marlins aren’t typically seen as a destination team for major free agents, Castellanos went to Archbishop McCarthy High School in Southwest Ranches, Florida. That’s less than an hour away from loanDepot Park, the home of the Marlins.
The Marlins signed Avisaíl García to a four-year/$53 million deal before the owner-imposed lockout began. Rather than adding onto that by making a serious push for Castellanos, the Marlins ultimately signed Jorge Soler to a three-year/$36 million deal.
Craig Mish of The Miami Herald says that “the Marlins were never signing Castellanos,” even if there may have been a belief from Jeter and him that such a marriage was a distinct possibility.
Instead, Castellanos landed with the Phillies on a five-year/$100 million deal, a pact that feels more than fair for their cleanup hitter.
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