The Dodgers are seeking a right-handed bat but their interest in Nick Castellanos doesn’t make much sense given his inability to play the outfield.
The Dodgers rumor mill continues to bring up two players, Corey Kluber and Nick Castellanos. Another rumor surfaced that the Dodgers are interested in Castellanos who has a high asking price. After trading away Puig and Kemp the Dodgers outfield is a bit lefty heavy with Joc Pederson, Cody Bellinger, and Alex Verdugo. Then there are the left-handed infield bats in Max Muncy and Corey Seager.
While Seager is able to hit lefties fine as a left-handed hitter, the Dodgers could still use another right field bat to help balance out the lineup. One of those bats could be Nick Castellanos although he isn’t a great fit with the Dodgers. While he did mash lefties last season hitting .381 against them in 2018, his defense is horrendous.
After originally coming up as a third baseman, the Tigers shifted Castellanos to the outfield to try and hide his glove. This past season, Nick had a -12.3 UZR/150 rating in right field which for comparison, Matt Kemp had a -4.0 UZR/150 rating in right field last season. Whomever the Dodgers put in right field will be a downgrade defensively compared to Yasiel Puig, but Castellanos would be a huge downgrade.
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The only way that Nick Castellanos fits into the Dodgers’ plans is if they plan to use him in the traditional Andrew Friedman three-way trade. The Dodgers could look to acquire Castellanos to flip him to the Indians in exchange for Corey Kluber. The Indians are seeking outfield help and being in the American League they could always use Castellanos as a designated hitter.
While Nick Castellanos will be a free agent after the 2019 season, the Indians would have the money to sign him to a long term deal if they can clear Kluber’s 17 million dollars a year off their payroll. That is where the Dodgers would come in since they freed up additional salary in their blockbuster trade with the Reds. The Dodgers can now afford to take on all of Kluber’s salary.
The argument can be made for and against adding another right-handed hitter to the Dodgers’ lineup, but even if you are for adding another righty, it doesn’t make sense to weaken the Dodgers defense in doing so. There are still plenty of free agents who mash lefties like DJ LeMahieu, and the trade market still has J.T. Realmuto among others. The Dodgers may be seeking a right-handed bat but they need to bring in someone who can play defense too, which Castellanos cannot.