Nicholas Castellanos is a free agent for the first time in his career after finishing the 2019 season with the Chicago Cubs. He had spent his career with the Detroit Tigers before he was shipped to the Cubs at the deadline where he aided in their playoff push by posting a 1.002 OPS in 51 games following the trade.
The 27-year-old began his major league career at the hot corner, but the defensive metrics were not a fan of his work. Castellanos recorded -64 Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) and a -7.4 Ultimate Zone Rating in four seasons at third base, so he was considered far below average.
These struggles prompted a move to the outfield, where he has not graded out much better defensively. In the last three seasons spent primarily in right field, he has generated -36 DRS and a -11.6 UZR. Similar to third base, the defensive metrics are not a fan of his glove in the outfield.
However, given his age and relative inexperience in the outfield, it stands to reason that he can improve upon those figures.
His rough defensive ability is what makes him an imperfect fit for the Giants, but they seem to be flirting with the idea of signing him nonetheless:
Even with his below-average defense, Castellanos’ bat would be a solid addition to the lineup. The right-handed slugger posted a .289/.337/.525 line in 2019 to go along with 27 home runs and 73 RBI. The last Giants hitter to match those 27 home runs was Hunter Pence back in 2013.
Last season was not a fluke, either. Over the past three seasons, Castellanos has averaged 25 long balls per season. Additionally, he has posted an OPS north of the .800 mark in each of the last four seasons.
There are some offensive red flags, namely a middling 6.4 percent career walk rate, which dipped to 6.2 percent this past season.
Still, he would immediately be a middle-of-the-order threat for a Giants offense that has been short on threatening bats. Since Mike Yastrzemski and Alex Dickerson are likely to receive considerable playing time as left-handed hitting outfielders, adding Castellanos’ right-handed bat would create a little more balance in the outfield.