Should the Cubs re-sign Nick Castellanos?


by - Staff Writer -
Kamil Krzaczynski - USA Today Sports
Kamil Krzaczynski - USA Today Sports

In a word: yes. End of story.

Unfortunately for the Cubs, it is not that simple. The Cubs were desperate at the trade deadline for some help in their lineup and preferred a player who could crush left-handed pitching. The Cubs took the flyer on Castellanos’ sub-par defense and pulled the trigger for the trade with seconds to go, and it was one of the best moves at the deadline in recent history.

Castellanos fell in love with Chicago, and Chicago fell in love with him. Not to mention, Castellanos had the most productive trio of months in his career. The fans enjoyed the two-homer games, the bat smashes, the handshakes with teammates, and of course, the consistent production on the field.

Not only was Castellanos an anchor in the Cubs’ lineup for a few months under Joe Maddon, but he also was brought to tears discussing how excited he was to play on a team in a pennant race - and the Cubs fed off of his energy and hunger.

In addition to Castellanos’ well-known energy, it was his attitude that set him apart from other great players. Castellanos adopted an “every day is opening day” attitude, of simply appreciating and cherishing every game - and thus playing with his best effort. The Cubs fed off of that attitude that Castellanos provided and used him to lift them up and almost bring them to the playoffs amidst inconstancy and nagging injuries.

Castellanos hit 16 homers, 21 doubles, and had an average of .321 as a Cub, in just 51 games. He finished the year with a respectable season of production: .289 average with 27 homers, 73 RBI, and 58 doubles. Not only that, his perfect fit in the clubhouse was well documented with handshakes with Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Maddon and the rest of the roster.

Tweets that exclaimed EXTEND BIG STICK NICK or something along those lines filled up every Cubs fan’s timelines every time he hit a home run or double - which felt like every other at-bat from his time in Chicago, while his OPS was over 1.000. But what Cubs nation is finding, him back as a Cub is not as easy as it may seem.

Castellanos loved Chicago, and Chicago loved him. There is a well-reported ‘mutual interest’ between the Cubs and Castellanos, but there is, of course, a but there. Castellanos is represented by agent Scott Boras, who is known to take his players to free agency, wait out the open market and squeeze out every penny available for his clients. (Bryce Harper 10+ year 300+ million dollar deal signed after spring training started is an excellent example of this.) In addition to that, Castellanos played himself into more money after having such a dominant second half of the season in a major market.

Plus, the Cubs already have a right and left fielder, and they would prefer to keep them there. Signing Castellanos either means the Cubs would have to move Jason Heyward to center field permanently, even though he has won multiple gold gloves in right. Or the Cubs would have to trade Kyle Schwarber, who is coming off a 38 homer 92 RBI season, making room for Castellanos.

They could, in theory, use all three players. The issue with keeping all three is that all three players are playing a position they are simply learning, a year after the Cubs had a historically bad season defensively. Throwing this trio out every day would have a third baseman learning right field (Castellanos, a minus defender), a catcher player left field (Schwarber an OK defender), and a right fielder playing center (Heyward, a plus defender). I’m not sure if that defensive gamble is one that the front office is willing to take with a — rookie manager in David Ross.

The other implausible factor would be if the NL adopts the DH indefinitely, freeing up a corner spot for a plus defender as Schwarber would slide nicely into the DH spot.

The biggest factor fo whether or not the Cubs re-sign Castellanos is if he comes with an affordable price. MLB Trade Rumors says Castellanos is projected to sign for four years and 52 million dollars, a deal that should be affordable for the Cubs who are freeing up the budget and making big changes in what is documented as their reckoning offseason.

If they don’t, he is projected to sign with the cross-town rival White Sox…so say it with me:

EXTEND BIG STICK NICK!

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Tags: Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Jason Heyward, Kyle Schwarber, David Ross, Joe Maddon
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