The Case For Nick Castellanos

There is not a whole lot to talk about that has not already been cut, bit, chewed, swallowed and regurgitated, and probably many times over.  As we have also digested, all of us have favorite Dodgers; many who have moved on to other teams.  I think Bums is holding a spot for Joc for when he gets to the HOF. One such Dodger fan favorite was Yasiel Puig.  Unfortunately, Puig never attained the stardom that he hinted at back in 2013.  He had his moments, and his arm is special.  Bat flipping, bat licking, hitting coach kissing, tongue wagging, and all-around fun were attributes that made Yasiel a fan favorite.  At times bad base running, overthrowing cut off, being late to games, immature rants were also Puig attributes that gave Yasiel his other persona; one which he gave not only many fans, but also FO, managers and coaches, and teammates heartache.  He was an enigma with a boatload of talent that could not be harnessed; thus why the moniker of Wild Horse penned by the great Vin Scully was so apt. But now Yasiel has been traded (along with Kemp, Wood, and Farmer), which will be forever known as the Kyle Farmer trade.  In addition, those fans of Puig are incredulous that the FO now says that they need a power RH bat when they had one in Puig.  Never mind that Puig was a left-hand hitter hitting from the right side of the box.  Puig fans will point out that Puig didn’t always fail to hit LHP, but it can also be pointed that Alex Wood use to be a 16-3 pitcher by Alex Wood fans.  Baseball is a game of what have you done for me lately.  The Dodgers need a RH bat they can count on other than JT. So how does the team get that RH power bat?  There are not many available, and those that are, are already on teams where a trade needs to be consummated.  JT Realmuto comes up in discussions quite a bit.  Catcher is seemingly a position of need, but certainly not at the cost the Marlins are holding out for.  The Fish will hold out until some team blinks, but it will not be Andrew Friedman that blinks.  The Fish want Barnhart and one of Nick Senzel or Taylor Trammell from the Reds.  If Dodger fans think Verdugo, Lux, and Ruiz are untouchable, you know that Senzel, Trammel, Hunter Greene, and Jonathan India are as close to untouchable as they come for Reds fans (and management). I have heard names like Francisco Cervelli and Jose Abreu.  Cervelli has significant health concerns with concussion protocols.  That is a real problem for catchers.  All I need to do is ask my son who had more than his share, and at a time when there was no such thing as concussion protocol.  Abreu is a possibility, but then what do you do with Muncy?  That also makes David Freese irrelevant. Giancarlo Stanton is a love him or hate him type player.  I think Stanton would look good in Dodger Blue, but right now NYY thinks he looks just fine in Yankee Pinstripes.  We will find out after the first of the year if Manny Machado gets his dream team, NYY.  That would make Harper almost impossible to get unless they unloaded Stanton, but fans are seemingly happy with the RH dominance in a stadium built for a LHH hitter.  But for some reason, Harper is not getting a lot of love in NY.  It could be for show, but it could also be that NYY is happy for the production from Stanton at much less dollars and less years than would come with Harper. DJLM and AJ Pollock as FA are possibilities, but neither one is known for any kind of power. Who I want to write about is soon to be 27-year-old Nicholas Castellanos.  The Dodgers interest appears to be quite genuine. At first, I was underwhelmed because Castellanos is perhaps one of the worst defensive OF in MLB. And then I remembered one of my baseball creeds, you can always hide a weak defensive but strong OF bat in LF.   Because if Castellanos is indeed traded for, he is going to be compared to Puig.  It is only natural. So let’s take a look at some of the key metrics comparing Castellanos to Puig for 2018.
2018 slash line.298/.354/.500/.854.267/.327/.494/.820
2018 HR2323
2018 Doubles4621
2018 Triples51
2018 RBIs8963
Against RHP.273/.329/.478/.807.297/.357/.564/.921
Against LHP.381/.432/.571/1.004.209/.268/.360/.628
Batting 4th.337/.384/.510/.894
Batting 7th.278/.331/.602/.932
Batting 8th.343/.403/.676/1.079
2 outs.288/.336/.498/.834.237/.275/.427/.703
Men On.335/.392/.559/.951.247/.305/.453/.758
2 outs RISP.310/.364/.606/.969.179/.256/.333/.589
Where the Dodgers needed help the most in 2018 was a big RH bat in the middle of the lineup, hitting against LHP, hitting with 2 outs (keeping an inning alive), hitting with RISP, hitting with 2 outs and RISP.  In every situation, Castellanos was superior.  Puig was at his best in the 7thor 8thspot in the lineup, while Castellanos was at his best in the #4, but was also very good in the #3 and #2 (but those are taken).  Simply comparing the clutch metrics, and there really is no comparison.  This is not meant to be critical of Puig, but just to show how good a RH bat Castellanos is, and how he can be an immeasurable help to LAD.  Castellanos shows he has the ability to provide offense for the Dodgers where they were most lacking last year. Is Castellanos another DJM?  He is a prolific RH bat while being a very poor defensive player.  Check.  He is two years younger than DJM in his final year with the Tigers & DBacks before FA.    So what should it take to get Castellanos.  It isn’t surprising that the Tigers are asking for Verdugo or Ruiz.  Why wouldn’t they.  But they are not going to get either one for one year of Castellanos and they know it.  But start big and maybe you end up with a better return than you would have originally thought. The DBacks traded three middle infielders:2B Dawal Lugo (23 at time of trade)– Made ML debut in 2018.  Should be starting 2B in 2019.2B/SS Sergio Alcantara (21 at time of trade)– Played AA in 2018SS Jose King (18 at time of trade)– Played in the NY Penn League (Rookie League for College players) That was a decent haul for JDM.  Lugo is considered a potential 2B starter for Detroit in 2019, Alcantara should be in AAA at 22, and King should start at low full season A at 19.  For a full season and for a player 2 years younger, it may take more to get Castellanos.    At the time of the trade, Lugo was #8 for the DBacks (currently #15 for Detroit), and Alcantara was #28 for the DBacks (currently #21 for Detroit). I would propose DJ Peters (RF), Connor Wong (C), Kenneth Betancourt (2B), and Brock Stewart.  That is a superior package than what the DBacks returned for DJM. However it is now believed that the Tigers are going to wait until Harper signs so as to reset the OF market, which should generate an even better return. If the Dodgers want a power RH bat, Castellanos is the best option for what the team was lacking last year and what they need this year.  Yasiel Puig fans will not accept that Castellanos is a better option, but maybe if he hits more like JDM than Puig, they can get over their displeasure. Then again maybe it is all just an illusion and Andrew wants Bryce Harper all along. 

This article has 40 Comments

  1. Nice article, as for my preference an outfield of Castellanos, in left and Verdugo in right could be a huge upgrade over Puig and the Kemp,Pederson platoon in left. I say could be because even thou I think Verdugo is going to give the Dodgers a very good hitter and maybe a very good leadoff hitter he still must prove he cam do those things. I think he will and the Dodgers will be a better team in left and right field. What would the Dodgers give up in a trade for Castellanos?, I have no idea that is up to the Dodgers.

  2. Would love to have Castellanos in the lineup, especially as DH. He would add to the crowd in the outfield unless another trade were made. I think a cleaner trade would be Muncy for first baseman Jose Abreu. That would not weaken the defense and would not only add a righty bat, it would take a lefty bat out of the lineup. I think Abreu is signed for two more years.

    1. Let’s do that trade Bums…trade a 27 year old making $555K with a 4.2 2018 WAR and a .973 OPS/35 HR and 4 years team control for a 31 year old making $13M plus with a 1.7 2018 WAR and an OPS of .798/22 HR and 1 year team control because Abreu its RH and Muncy LH? Hard Pass!

          1. If I were Friedman I would make a trade that helped the team. As a fan, I am not going to propose a trade that includes player that I enjoy.

        1. Yes it is. I think the team is fine as it is but could be better with a couple of additional righty bats. I don’t want to trade for a rental, and I am not going to suggest “B” prospects will get a player whose team is on record asking for “A” prospects.

      1. A patient person can wait one year and sign Castellanos as a free agent and not give up Ruiz or Verdugo for one year of Castellanos. That to date is the asking price. Or, trade a player that had a career year that came out of no where for a better defensive player and is signed for two years and fills a need.
        Trade high or trade low. Vegas, you might be on the trade low side of things.

  3. I read this on another blog about the Farmer trade:

    That illogical and stupid trade infuriated Dodger fans all across the globe.”

    It seems that the writer just misplaced some words. It should have read:

    ”That trade infuriated illogical and stupid Dodger fans all across the globe.

    I’m glad to have cleared that up.

    1. I’ve seen some of those same Dodger fans comment that Freidman should be shipped out, that he is the problem. Meanwhile other teams are poaching from the front office and hiring our coaches to be managers-because the Dodgers don’t know what they are doing. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and other teams are imitating, Probably enough said but this is the last year of Andrew’s 5 year contract and it would be folly to think he won’t be extended like Roberts was.

      The topic was Castellanos and if he is traded for then Joc must be included in the package going back which offsets some salary and lessens the prospects required plus subtracts a LH OF bat.

      #1 Option: JTR. #2 Option: Grandal 1 year $10M. #3 Option: Vet Backup/Platoon. #4 Barnes/Gale/Smith-Yikes! I believe this is the order for Freidman as well. If we are talking Rocky Gale the Farmer trade was a salary dump.

  4. Imagine how bad the outfield will be with Castellanos in left and Harper in right.

    Baseball fans are illogical and stupid. Look how much we all loved Chase Utley with his less than league average production for the last few years and no shows in the postseason.

    Puig and Kemp are gone and the team is worse now, until they backfill those spots in the lineup and in the field, which hasn’t happened yet. This infuriates me.

    It doesn’t seem like there are any great options for the holes we have. Good bat, bad glove or scores of left handed hitters. It seems we have a round hole with nothing but square pegs. This is a horrible time to be looking for a right handed power bat.

    1. Agreed! I prefer a Joc/CT3 platoon to Nick on defense alone. The Harper decision comes 1st as Verdugo will be in RF, it is either Harper or Castellanos, not both IMO. Let Kike handle 2B and CT3 be the RH OF and backup SS. I really hope they don’t sign AJ Ellis to replace Utley as team dad.

  5. Go get Castellanos! Trade Pederson who would be a very good pickup for Detroit. The Dodgers would miss him against righties but they have toles and joc is not getting any cheaper. Then add Stewart and peters there you have it. Castellanos would probably need to be replaced a year from now so peters might not work. Friedman has the assets so when the trade is right he will move or not.

    1. Good idea, sub out Beaty or Rios for DJ Peters as they both hit left, are positionally blocked and are better with a DH team in the AL. I don’t think they are ready to deal DJ just yet or Kendall.

  6. In case anyone missed it, the Dodgers had a huge FA signing yesterday. Okay not that huge. Career AAAA/MiLB left hand hitting OF, Shane Peterson signed a minor league contract with LAD with a spring invite. He was a 2008 St. Louis Cardinals’ 2nd round pick (59 overall) out of Long Beach State. And yet another Dirt Bag. He may be best remembered as being packaged with Clayton Mortensen and Brett Wallace in a trade to Oakland for Matt Holiday in July 2009. That is the 2007 #1 pick (Mortensen), 2008 #1 pick (Wallace), and 2008 #2 pick (Peterson) for Matt Holiday ( a rental at the time). With Dodger fans not wanting to trade any of the top prospects for help in 2019, can you imagine what Cardinal fans were thinking after this trade? Do not think St. Louis wanted to do a redo on that trade.
    This is organizational OF depth only. Shane is basically replacing Travis Taijeron on the OKC roster. His MiLB career numbers are .287/.369/.439/.808 in 11 minor league seasons and 4,391 PA. He has career 90 MiLB HRs and 583 RBI. Roughly a 21% K rate. He has played in parts of three MLB seasons (Oakland 2013, Tampa Bay 2015, and SD 2017) with a .254/.319/.359/.677 batting line in 320 PA.

  7. Just looking at our depth chart I think the Dodgers are pretty good right now barring injury. Our most glaring weakness is at catcher and rh power. I would like to see Castellanos but I wouldn’t overpay. Opening day lineup could be: Muncy, Hernandez,Seager,turner,Barnes,joc,bellinger,verdugo against righties. Vs. lefties: freese,Muncy,Seager,turner,Barnes,Taylor,bellinger,verdugo could substitute kike in there. That is a good lineup either way if players maintain or improve on last year. If Seager has a slow recovery Taylor will slot in making us much weaker. Sp looks good: kershaw,buehler,ryu,hill,maeda with urias slotting in after the break. Bp looks good: Jansen,kelly,,floro,fields rh and lh cingrani,Alexander,Ferguson this team would get us to the all star break in good shape barring injury. If dumb… Roberts would prepare in spring training so the Dodgers don’t get off to a terrible start we would be fine until the deadline. Although the deadline is a bit dicey. I think getting machado was the right move and it was good but not great. Friedman has been adequate but not great at the deadline. Darvish, dozier, etc. looked like the right moves they just didn’t pan out as we hoped. We might need to add a healthy dozier on a 1 year cheap contract if possible to provide depth against a seager relapse.

    1. Bum

      Joc has not exactly been consistent himself, he has only had two decent years in the last four years, and he has never had two decent seasons in a row.

      And non of Joc’s seasons are close to what Muncy did last year either, and Muncy did that against both righties and lefties.

      Muncy also hit this when runners were in scoring position last year. 293/422/576/999

      Joc in his fourth year in the majors, did this when runners were in scoring position.


    2. Therealten: I, too, would love to see what a healthy Dozier would do if we signed him for a year or two. He’s already been an all-star, won a GG, and except for this year has been constantly better than average in FLD%. Also good for 25-30 HR per season. He and Castellanos would make up the power loss of Puig and Kemp.
      Not sure how and why Castellanos has been given a bad rep as far as Fielding is concerned but this past year he had a .990 FLD% with 10 assists and 3 errors. Compare that to Puigs .958/10 assists/ 8 errors.
      I understand Lux is the heir apparent to 2B but looking at the defensive numbers so far he has a lot to go before he can be proficient. The signing of Dozier would allow Lux th time to hone his skills in the field.

      1. Dozier seemed to have a team attitude. While streaky I know we didn’t get the best he has to offer. If the price is right and he wants to be in la it may happen. We are probably going to need the depth so we can utilize kike and Taylor in the outfield as needed. Castellanos can’t be any worse than kemp and he could play left we just can’t overpay to hurt our future teams. He would provide a solid bat, with power, and possibly more upside in performance as he plays for a new contract.

        1. There are a ton of 2B out there: Gonzales, Lowrie, Dozier, DJLM, but my gut says Kike gets the job unless one will sign for 1 or 2 years. Lowrie is a switch hitter, Dozier is a guy they tried to get for years.

          1. KikE’ will hit .382 this year, eleventy-six homers,
            Tommy Davis-like RBIs, and win a Platinum glove at
            three positions, as well as batting practice!!!

            This is (FINALLY) THE year.

            (How’m I doin’, Boss?):-)

          2. I agree but I am just sayin they will be looking for a cheap option for depth. If seager is not ready or can’t play regularly and I expect both. They will then put Taylor at ss and play Muncy/Hernandez at second. That would cut back on their of flexibility vs. lefties. Gonzales,lowrie, and djlm are probably too costly or want too lengthy of a contract. Dozier might bite on a 1 year to re-establish value after a terrible year. It is a long shot but maybe the best hope. If healthy Dozier has got to be better.

      2. It is not Castellanos’ actual fielding and throwing that are the problem; it is his range. It his inability to read the ball off the bat and give a good route to the ball. He just has never done it. He is a good athlete who can get better. I would like to see him get a chance. With the dearth of OF in the system, Castellanos could be a candidate to re-sign. It is difficult to read a ball hit over your head and go back on it. The only Dodger OF that can consistently read balls over his head and go back on it is Joc. Cody has trouble as does CT3. They are both getting better at it. Joc’s problem was getting late starts for the gaps and not recognizing if he could get there or not. But he is very good at going back on the ball.

          1. Rudy

            I don’t think that has been an issue for sometime, because Joc is not fast enough to be a decent big league centerfielder.

            Puig didn’t do that to the other players playing center since, because Cody and Taylor, are much faster then Joc.

            Cody and Taylor not only can come up on balls much faster then Joc, they can get to the gaps much faster too.

            Muncy is faster then Joc too.

        1. There’s no doubt that Castellanos would be an excellent upgrade to the batting order. The question is will his defense neutralize that? I think the way we position our fielders has helped more than one mediocre fielder. Kemp’s numbers improved quite a bit last year as did Machado’s shortstop numbers when he got here. I’m willing to give it a shot if we don’t sign Harper. If we have an outfield with Harper in right and NC in left it could get pretty ugly.

  8. And there are much more balls hit in front of outfielders, and in the gaps, then over their heads anyways.

  9. Well, the boat was 6 hours late but we are on it and have a balcony cabin with WiFi so I’ll be around. Dang your luck.

    I consider Castellanos a must. Forget Harper. I am of the opinion that Casty can learn to play an average LF. Pederson, the two Reds Prospects and Smith should get it done.

    Maybe pickup Kluber and/or Realmuto at the Deadline when the price goes down.

    Sometimes subtraction is addition. Ruiz May be ready by the deadline.

    1B Belli
    2B Madmax
    SS Corey
    3B JT
    LF Casty
    CF CT3
    RF Verdugo
    C Barnes

    Subs: Kike, Toles, Freese,

    That’s all I want.

    1. I’m good with that lineup to start the season.

      That did get me thinking though, if we don’t trade Smith or Ruiz, do Smith and Ruiz get enough AAA playing time at C to get them both ready for the ML’s. And that assumes Gale as the ML back-up. I’m of the opinion that neither would benefit from more playing time in AA.

    2. I forgot where you are cruising but enjoy! I have been on 3 carnival cruises that were great fun! I would not be that desperate for Castellanos I think that is an overpay. Joc and the 2 prospects should be enough. Ruiz is on the 40 man who knows how fast he can move.

    3. You make a good point about waiting till after the ASB. Right now, prices are high. Friedman has made the calculated decision the last couple of years to assume the Dodgers can at least tread water enough to keep in the thick of things until the deadline, in which case he can decide with more clarity what the actual team needs are and choose accordingly, and at lower prices.

      The JDM trade to the DBs seemed like a steal, but they were paying for half a year so the prospect cost wasn’t as high.

      The problem is banking on the assumption that Dodgers will actually be in contention despite those flaws that he waited to address. The team lucked out last year, and even then, just barely made it. It’s a high risk strategy.

      Dodgerrick made an interesting point the other day. He didn’t see the logic in trading away Puig just to pay valuable prospects for a roughly equivalent offensive player whose defense isn’t nearly as good. I had to think about that a little. That’s correct, but Castellanos isn’t really a replacement for Puig, #1. I think we’re all assuming that Verdugo is going to get a legitimate shot at starting in RF. He’s equal to if not better defensively than Puig, and, although we don’t know what kind of offensive player he will be, it’s a safe assumption that he will hit for contact much better and strike out much less, although he may not hit 23 home runs.

      #2, although likable and immensely talented. We know who Puig is at this point, and the likelihood that he will be anything better than who he has been the last three years is slim….plus he’s a distraction and headache to the organization and coaching staff. I think there’s a belief around the league that Castellanos still has the potential to improve. Plus, he absolutely crushes LH pitching. Puig is essentially a left hand batter at this point with his somewhat bizarre splits, and Dodgerrick has lamented before about the inability of the team to hit LH pitching.

      So, no. I wouldn’t compare Castellanos to Puig. Casty is more a replacement for Kemp. When you match those two together, factoring age, contract and ceiling, it’s a huge upgrade. Neither are good defensively, but at least Casty has the potential to improve. Kemp is running on fumes at this point in his career.

  10. Happy New Year to everyone…Once again I didn’t make the final bell…I don’t think I’ve made one since Dick Clark was in his 50’s…
    I’m good with Casty, but have no fear going into ST… Got a great group and will anxiously await the litany of injuries that the open the door again at the end of ST for trade possibilities… FO has our back…

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