Trade 1: Nicholas Castellanos
I have wanted Nicholas Castellanos to be a Cardinal for quite some time now. Castellanos was traded to the Chicago Cubs at the trade deadline last summer and then proceeded to sign with the Cincinnati Reds on a four-year/$64M contract this winter. So, unfortunately, the slugger has now become a familiar face in the NL Central.
Last season, Castellanos lead all of baseball in doubles with 58, a statistical category that the Cardinals struggled heavily at in 2019, thus explaining why they finished 28th in the league with an underwhelming 246 doubles.
Who finished behind St. Louis? Cincinnati, which is now the home for the 28-year old outfielder, and San Diego.
In 2019, Castellanos had an impressive slash line of .289/.337/.525 to go along with a .863 OPS, while also finishing with a stellar 121 wRC+. Additionally, his 21.5 K% would have put him 12th among Cardinals hitters in 2019.
I won’t ignore his defense, though… the numbers aren’t pretty. Last season, Castellanos posted a -5.2 UZR, -9 DRS, and -7 OAA, which is well below average to say the least.
So great offense and bad defense? Why would we want him? With the likeliness that there will be a universal DH moving forward, Castellanos could prove to be a perfect fit for the Cardinals as the everyday DH. And even if the DH doesn’t come in 2020, it’s hard to argue that the defensive gap between Dexter Fowler (-0.1 UZR, 4 DRS, -6 OAA) and Castellanos is enough to make up for the substantial difference on offense.
In a perfect world, the DH would be implemented, Castellanos would become the Cardinals’ DH, and top prospect, Dylan Carlson, will be the everyday RF in place of the declining Fowler.
If things don’t go as planned for the emerging Reds in 2020, Castellanos would be a great name to look in to at the trade deadline at any point throughout the season.