There was never a doubt that Nick Castellanos could top the two years and $34 million remaining on his deal with the Reds when he opted out earlier this month. But I don’t know that anyone expected him to parlay his breakout into a 7+ year deal.
That’s reportedly what he’s seeking, though:
Nick Castellanos remains a great fit for Miami, but a source said he’s seeking a seven- or eight-year deal, likely taking him out of the Marlins’ price range.
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) November 29, 2021
That is a very, very long deal for any player these days, and longer still for any player who doesn’t play a premium position. Castellanos, who will be 30 in March, has become a stud at the plate, and could produce at a very high level for many years to come, particularly with the likely arrival of the DH in the National League. But big bat, weak defensive corner outfielders tend not to secure monster length contracts anymore. Castellanos getting even a five-year deal would’ve been really solid, so starting with asks of seven or eight years is quite surprising.
Maybe he’d prefer the long, long-term stability in exchange for a lower AAV? I mean, I don’t want to immediately poo-poo this as though there isn’t a deal that couldn’t make sense for some teams. Even on that length of a deal, I’d be willing to roll the dice on a $15-ish million AAV. Yeah, you’re locking in a lot of risk and likely downside in his mid-to-late 30s, but that’s not much of an annual sting for a guy might at least remain a quality bat.
That said, I’d be surprised if that’s the shape of deal he’s looking for at age 30, coming off some really strong years. Not sure he can get the years, but he can top that AAV.
The projections ranged from three years and $16M AAV, on the extreme low end, to five years and $23M AAV on the extreme high end. My gut always kinda had it in the four years and $80 million range, but every year my gut is a year shy and several million shy on the AAV. So maybe he does get that high end projection (which was the one offered by MLBTR, by the way).
As for the Cubs, while a long deal for Castellanos could, arguably, make more sense in terms of when the Cubs will have a greater chance of competing at a high level (as well as spreading around the draft pick compensation cost), I tend to think he’s gonna wind up getting a higher-AAV deal from a team that really wants to push aggressively in 2022 and 2023, when his bat is most likely to be impactful, and when he is most likely to still be able to play serviceable corner outfield. Don’t get me wrong, I love Castellanos’s bat enough that I’ll still be out here arguing that the Cubs should sign him. I just tend to think there’s going to be a team or two out there willing to offer more than will make sense for the Cubs at this moment in time.