MLB instituted the Designated Hitter in the National League and the Phillies took that personally. Jayson Stark of The Athletic first confirmed the Phillies were hot on the trail of free agent Nick Castellanos.
This comes on the heels of the Phillies signing Kyle Schwarber to a 4-year $79 million contract. While this will further the Phillies’ defensive plight, Nick Castellanos is a difference-maker with the stick.
Last season, Castellanos was an All-Star. He won a Silver Slugger award. He also finished 12th in MVP voting. He slashed .309/.362/.576 with 34 homers and 100 RBI for the Cincinnati Reds.
While he hasn’t gotten many accolades, Castellanos has been a serious hitter for the past half-decade. Since 2016, Castellanos has hit .286 with an OPS of .853. In Detroit in that span, he averaged able 24 home runs. That’s low because the Tigers’ field is one of the most cavernous in MLB. Centerfield extends out to 420 ft.
It’s been mentioned before but John Middleton had stated that he’d go over the tax for the right player. A Jim Salisbury tweet confirms that the Phillies are serious about this.
The Phillies currently sit about $10 million below the new Competetive Ballance Tax of $230 million. This would be the first time the Phillies have ever gone over the tax. If they stay under $250 million, all they will pay is an extra 20% on the overages.
It makes sense to go over the tax now as the Phillies are in a 10-year playoff drought. Only the Mariners are in a longer dry spell. There’s an extra playoff spot this season but the Phillies should be in the division hunt if this deal goes through.
While the bullpen still leaves something to be desired, the lineup and starting rotation should be one of the best combinations in baseball.
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