If Phillies are open to it, Toronto Blue Jays should pursue Nick Castellanos

Photo credit:Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
5 months ago
Editor’s note: After this article was posted, it was brought to our attention that a report from ESPN’s Buster Olney, citing a Phillies source, said the club isn’t interested in trading Castellanos.

If there’s one thing the Toronto Blue Jays lacked last year, it was drives to deep left field.
Drives deep to any part of the outfield were a severe issue of contention for them last season, hitting just 188 home runs — a drop of just 12 from last season, but one that saw notable regression from the likes of Alejandro Kirk, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Matt Chapman and George Springer, who accumulatively hit 26 fewer home runs this year.
Some of this regression as a whole was covered up by newcomers in Daulton Varsho (20 home runs), Brandon Belt (19), and Kevin Kiermaier (eight), but with Belt likely set for retirement or a new home, and Kiermaier potentially signing with the New York Yankees, the Jays need a new bat.
One could potentially be opening up in the trade market, with MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, citing a source, reporting that the Philadelphia Phillies are open to trading slugger Nick Castellanos. There is an enormous caveat before even moving forward with the thought of acquiring him, and it’s his contract: one with three years remaining and $60 million owed.
In virtually no world would the Phillies be able to move that mammoth deal while bringing back anything of value. They could, however, pay down some of the contract or include a plethora of cash to a new team to help offset that deal.
Nonetheless, the idea of Castellanos becoming a Blue Jays could make sense. He’s been a fearsome slugger in the past with three years between 2019 and 2021, where he hit 75 home runs in 349 games, with a .880 OPS and 125 OPS+. While his numbers at the plate fell in 2022, he saw a resurgence this year, earning his second all-star appearance thanks to a 29home run campaign where he slashed .272/.311/.476 across 671 plate appearances.
Should the Jays begin to explore the possibility of bringing him to Toronto, he would like to be the team’s designated hitter, similar to Belt last season. That’s because Castellanos has pound-for-pound been one of the worst defensive players in the previous four seasons with the third worst defensive runs (-28), and the fewest outs above average (-30) among all qualified hitters.
At 31, Castellanos isn’t getting any younger, but this year’s playoffs showed he still has the clutch gene despite his and his Phillies’ struggles in the NLCS. Castellanos slashed .253/.297/.645 for a .941 OPS and five home runs in 52 plate appearances across 13 games. He’d be another right-handed bat, but one that could provide some pop to a franchise needing it.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@oilersnation.com.


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