The winter meetings are underway and that means ridiculous rumors abound for all 30 clubs, but especially the Dodgers. The latest rumor has the Dodgers interested in Tiger’s right fielder Nick Castellanos. I can’t understand why though. He seems to be a poorer version of Yasiel Puig.
We know that the Dodgers are thinking of moving Yasiel Puig and he’s a bit upset with management over the lack of playing time against left handed pitching last year. He’s also in the final year of team control. The Dodgers also have a lot of outfielders and are interested in moving one or two of them. You would think that the Castellanos rumors could possibly mean the Dodgers are seriously thinking of actually dealing Puig, since Castellanos is primarily a right fielder and could be a potential replcacement. Would Castellanos be an upgrade over Pug? Or would he be a downgrade?
Looking at his numbers offensively and defensively it would likely be a downgrade. Castellanos is 26-years old and won’t become a free agent until 2020. With one more year of team control remaining it’s no wonder why the rebuilding Tigers are looking to move him. Castellanos made 6.05 million dollars last season so you would assume that he could get a decent pay raise in arbitration in 2019.
Source: #Dodgers interested in #Tigers OF Nick Castellanos via trade, but there’s no present momentum toward a deal. Dodgers active on numerous fronts and Castellanos is not their highest priority. @MLBNetwork @MLB
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 11, 2018
As for his offense, he’s another power bat with little on-base skills that strikes out too much. So I guess he’ll fit right in with the Dodgers. But it looks as though Castellanos greatly improved his batting and on-base skills last year. He’s a career .274 hitter and had never posted an OBP higher than .320, until 2018. Last year he slashed .298/.354/.500 with 23 home runs and 89 runs driven in over 678 plate appearances. His 130 OPS+ was the highest mark of his 6-year MLB career.
Unfortunately he doesn’t walk much. Castellanos walked just 41 times in 2017 and walked 49 times in 2018, which was another career high for him. He struck out 151 times in 2018 and 142 times in 2017. He averages around 150 whiffs per season since his MLB debut. However he did tally 167 hits in 2017 and 185 hits in 2018. Those numbers are trending in the right direction in terms of overall batting and on-base skills. The right handed slugger hit 26 home runs in 2017 and 18 home runs the year before. Overall he’s clubbed 93 home runs and averaged a 111 OPS+. He posted an .854 OPS in 2018. Playing half his games in a hitter’s park like Comerica, compared to a pitcher’s friendly haven like Dodger Stadium should skew the numbers a bit. At least you would think so.
The great thing about Castellanos has been his health. He’s played in 157 games each of the last two seasons. Since 2014 he’s appeared in less than 148 games in only one season. He seems to be very durable. Now to the bad stuff.
He’s a dreadful outfielder. Defensive metrics hate his outfield play. Castellanos has played in right field in all but 9 of the games he’s appeared in. That’s 163 games in right field. The rest of the games he’s been a third baseman. He’s notched 527 games at third base. Of course the Dodgers wouldn’t need him to play third base obviously. He would more than likely play one of the corner outfield spots.
The numbers say that he’s been well below average at third and in the outfield. He cost the Tigers 19 runs in right field in 2018 and rated a -9 in total zone fielding runs above average. He has a career -18 rating in right field and has cost the Tigers 64 runs at third base. While he’s not the flashiest glove, he does have a strong arm. He notched 10 outfield assists last season.
There are some positives in acquiring Castellanos. His batting and on-base skills seem to be trending upwards. He has great power, and a strong arm. However his defense would be a huge downgrade over Puig, and he doesn’t have much contact skills or speed. He would come relatively cheap though, and we all know how much the Dodger’s front office would love that. Let’s see if there is any momentum to this rumor.