Royals: Signing Nicholas Castellanos makes sense for team

(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) /

The outfield for the Kansas City Royals going into 2020 is far from settled. Adding a young veteran with power and superior fielding would improve the team.

It looks like Shawn isn’t the only Kings of Kauffman writer on board with a potential Castellanos signing. You can check out Michael Huckins’ case here.

The only guaranteed starter in the outfield for next season is Whit Merrifield, and that is contingent on Nicky Lopez‘s performance and the health of Adalberto Mondesi. Plus, Bubba Starling and Brett Phillips still need to prove they can produce at the major league level and the return of Alex Gordon is up in the air. Jorge Soler is a better fit for the DH role for the majority of games for his health and the Kansas City Royals defense.

One option is to sign free agent Nicholas Castellanos. He will turn 28 next year and has had six productive years at the plate. After making nearly $10 million dollars last year, it is reasonable to think he could be acquired for three to four years for around 12-13 million per.  He is not a fan of playing in large parks, so that may be a hurdle to overcome, though.

The need is there; last season the combined WAR for left field, center field, and right field were -1.0, -1.5, and 0.2 for a composite of -2.3. Castellanos has produced a 0.5, 1.5, 0.8, 2.9 and 2.7 the last five years.

Defensively, Castellanos moved to outfield permanently in 2018 and has only committed five errors in the last two seasons. He has shown off an arm as well collecting an amazing 16 assists. Once traded to the Chicago Cubs in the middle of 2019, he did not make any errors in 48 games. His range factor per game in right field was first in the American League at 2.28 before the trade. Since he plays right, Merrifield could easily move to center or left depending on where the Kansas City Royals’ biggest need is.

Another positive is that Castellanos spent six and a half seasons with the Detroit Tigers so he is familiar with a lot of pitchers in the American League Central. During 50 career games at Kauffman Stadium, he has hit 14 doubles, seven home runs and produced a slugging percentage of .466, which would be a large improvement compared to what the Royals outfielders have garnered the last couple of seasons.

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Yes, the Kansas City Royals have other needs to address this offseason as well. And it does not appear new owner John Sherman will open up the pocketbook quite yet, but adding a young, polished outfielder to help the team put more runs on the board will be a good first step.