Just two days ago, we did some dot-connecting about the Cubs scouting the definitely-selling Tigers, discussing just how good the fit is with outfielder Nicholas Castellanos.
And what do you know, from a Detroit News sportswriter, the boom:
The Cubs are among the teams showing interest in Nick Castellanos. They probably want to move Jason Heyward to center, add Castellanos RH bat in right. This one has some teeth.
— Chris McCosky (@cmccosky) July 21, 2019
THIS ONE HAS SOME TEETH. So, yeah, keep your eyes peeled.
As for the obvious fit with the Cubs, I wrote on Friday:
To be sure, Castellanos, 27, is more than just a lefty-masher. He’s had his ups and downs, but he’s a career .275/.325/.460 (110 wRC+) hitter overall, and went .298/.354/.500 (130) just last season. He’s more or less a good hitter overall, who especially crushes lefties. This year? .377/.451/.639 (184) against lefties. Hoo baby.
The rubs with Castellanos are his stone glove (he will absolutely not add to your corner outfield defense quality), and his presence as one of the few quality rental bats on the market ….[E]ven if Castellanos is more of an everyday type, he still might be your best target. Not only does he lock down a spot in the lineup against lefties, he also provides additional starting-caliber outfield depth, as well as the ability to give more days off to the other outfielders.
Financially, he makes just $9.95 million this year, his final before free agency. Even the budget-tight Cubs should be able to take on most of his remaining contract. As far as the prospect cost, yes, it would be guys you’d miss. But historically, top rental bats have been surprisingly economical at the deadline, with the return typically looking like two to four very good prospects in a team’s system, but not really top 100 types.
Many of the Cubs’ would-be-regular righties are simply not hitting at all this year, let alone specifically against lefties. That leaves you with lineups that feature Albert Almora, Addison Russell, David Bote, and Martin Maldonado on the regular. Good reasons to play those guys for defense? Sure, I suppose. But a fearsome group to opposing lefties? Not so much.
Since there aren’t obvious reinforcements on this particular front coming internally, then, the trade market seems to be the best route for impact. And Castellanos may very well be the most impactful rental bat traded this year.
This one has some teeth? Well it certainly should.