The Dodgers could have taken their offense to the next level by signing Bryce Harper. Even with him out of the picture, there still remains at least one candidate who would bolster the offense.
After “failing” to sign Bryce Harper due to not offering thirteen years, the Dodgers are still a very talented club and the favorite to win the National League for the third consecutive season. If Andrew Friedman still wants to upgrade the Dodgers’ offense to be able to compete with the powerful lineups of the American League he could look to a rebuilding club in the Detroit Tigers.
Nick Castellanos is entering his last season before free agency and will likely be the biggest bat available at the trade deadline this season. The Dodgers could jump ahead of the trade deadline frenzy and try to acquire Castellanos now with trade chips like Alex Verdugo and the vast assortment of pitching prospects the Dodgers have. The Dodgers were linked to Castellanos earlier this off-season.
While Castellanos could be a one-year rental, the Dodgers would get draft pick compensation if he leaves after this season as long as he is acquired before the season starts. Nick is likely to be a type A free agent if he has one if his average seasons. That would net the Dodgers a decent compensation pick if they fail to sign him to a long-term deal or choose not to re-sign him.
Last season Nick Castellanos hit .298 with 23 home runs and a healthy .354 on-base percentage. Much like the addition of AJ Pollock, Castellanos would help balance out a Dodger lineup that is filled with powerful left-handed hitters. Over the last three seasons, Castellanos has hit .300 against southpaws with a stellar .535 slugging percentage. He is also effective against right-handed pitching which would be one more step towards eliminating platoons in Los Angeles.
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The one knock on Nick Castellanos is that he is not the best outfielder defensively but as the Dodgers did with Matt Kemp last season, they could work around that. Last year, he graded out with a -12.3 UZR/150 rating in right field and while that is not very good, take into account that Bryce Harper had a -15.4 rating in right field last season.
With Pollock in center field and Bellinger in right field, the Dodgers have two outfielders who would help cover ground to make up for Castellanos. There could always be a late-game defensive replacement to solidify the defense in the later innings. Adding Castellanos would also allow the Dodgers to trade Joc for additional prospects that could be used to bolster the farm or be flipped in a deal to acquire another trade piece.
The Dodgers offense is good enough as is to make the World Series and compete for a World Series title, but that has been the case for the past two seasons. It wouldn’t hurt to acquire another big bat and Nick Castellanos is the best bat on the trading block at the moment. Even if he is a one-year rental the Dodgers could maximize his time in LA by dealing now and having him for a full season.