It wouldn’t be an MLB season without free agency rumors before the World Series even starts. Although the Brewers being brought up this early is unusual.
Jon Heyman over at MLB network appeared on a segment where he broke down where 13 free agents might end up. The Milwaukee Brewers were mentioned in that list.
Current Cincinnati Red and former Chicago Cub and Detroit Tiger Nick Castellanos was listed as a likely candidate for the Brewers. Castellanos signed a four-year, $64MM deal with the Reds back in 2020, but has an opt-out clause starting this off-season. If he stays with the Reds, he would make $16MM in 2022.
If he tests the free market, he will most likely make close to $20MM a year and will have plenty of interested clubs with money to spend. He probably also wants to sign with a team that is close to winning the World Series. And while the Brewers don’t have tons of cash to throw around this offseason, another power bat outfield could be just what they need to win it all.
It’s great that the Brewers are being linked to big free agents already, but let’s look at the outfielder’s stats and see if it would be possible to sign him.
Nick Castellanos Stats
The 29-year-old had the best year of his career in 2021. He ended with a .309 batting average, .939 OPS, 34 home runs and 100 RBIs. All were career-highs. There is no guarantee he can repeat those numbers again, but anywhere close would benefit any team looking to compete.
Castellanos is a career .278 hitter, and has hit at least 23 home runs the last four full baseball seasons. He is mostly a right fielder, but also has experience at third base and designated hitter. Nick said he doesn’t want to be a full-time DH, which would currently fit the Brewers mold. He hasn’t played third since 2017, but has experience if he’s not playing in the outfield for a few games.
Could The Brewers Do It?
Obviously, we would need to see what decision Avisail Garcia makes. He has a mutual option, and if he decides to stay with the Brewers, Milwaukee will not be going after Castellanos. They already have Christian Yelich, Lorenzo Cain, Garcia and Jackie Bradley Jr. using up half of their team salary and if Garcia comes back at $12MM, there’s no room.
If Garcia opts out, it will be up to the Brewers front office if they want to pay for Castellanos. It would be a blockbuster signing and give the team the offensive spark it needs. Especially since they are set on starting pitching, can find cheaper bullpen arms and might give Luis Urias the everyday third baseman job. Spending on another outfield is a solid option in free agency this year.
But the team will not have a bunch of money to spend either. A lot of their players will make more in arbitration this year. Josh Hader, Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, Willy Adames and Rowdy Tellez are just some of the players that will get raises for next season. The team was around $97 million for team salary last year, and not sure how much above that they will go next season.
Castellanos is a great option. If not, there will be plenty of other outfielders available for the team to look at if they go the high-end outfielder route. Kris Bryant, Chris Taylor, and Joc Pederson are all outfielders who could fill in at multiple positions and hit well at American Family Field.
News came out that he planned to opt out of his deal before the 2021 season even ended. After the regular season, Castellanos didn’t seem so sure at his season-ending presser.
Castellanos said he would need to step back and think about everything during the off-season. It seemed like a 50/50 shot. But within the last week, reports are popping up again saying he is more likely to opt-out. There is also a really good chance that he will opt-out, but still re-sign with the Reds on a bigger contract.
If Nick does pick free agency, Milwaukee would be a great option. They will compete for the NL Central, they might need a starting right fielder and is in the prime of his career. The Brewers could use a guy who can bring in 100 runs a year and hit more than 30 dingers.