Welcome to the first installment of the lockout Free Agent Debate. The Texas Rangers, to everyone’s surprise, have spent big this offseason. They’ve addressed their most glaring need up the middle, leaving only two holes left: an outfield bat and another starting pitcher.
With the recent loss of “right-handed Joey Gallo” D.J. Peters, the Rangers are relying on Adolis Garcia, Kole Calhoun and one of Eli White, Leody Taveras or Willie Calhoun in left field.
Kole Calhoun, to me, is a bench or platoon player, and I’m not fully relying on Adolis Garcia’s rookie emergence last season, albeit he was a Gold Glove caliber defender.
Enter Nicholas Castellanos and Seiya Suzuki into the Texas Rangers offseason plans.
Both are very talented, right-handed hitters that would give the Rangers offense at least another 25-30 homeruns per season. But of the two, who is the better fit? Let’s break them down.
Texas Rangers Free Agent Debate: Nick Castellanos
One of the best hitters in all of baseball since 2018, Castellanos is the perfect middle of the order hitter for any big league club. He hits for average, power and draws his fair share of walks to boot.
The 2021 All-Star and Silver Slugger finished last season with a .309 average, .576 slugging percentage and .939 OPS. He hit 34 long balls and drove in 100 runners last season, that’s good for 6th best and 4th best among major league outfielders last season.
Castellanos stays on the field, too. He has played at least 150 games in five out of his nine big league seasons. He only played in 11 games his rookie season in 2013 and 50 games in the COVID-ridden 2020 season.
Not much of a fielder, Castellanos could bounce around the diamond for the Rangers. He has. played over 500 games each in the outfield and at third base and could probably play first in a pinch.
Still only 29-years old (turns 30 in March), there is a lot to like with the former Red, Cub and Tiger, but sources around the league say he is seeking a seven or eight year pact.
No doubt deserving of a long term contract, I’m not sure the Texas Rangers are willing to hand out another deal of that length this offseason. However, I also wasn’t expecting them to hand out 31-year old Marcus Semien a seven year deal, either.
Although, if Texas were to pursue Castellanos post-lockout, a 1-2-3 of Semien, Seager and Castellanos would be incredibly nasty and arguably the best top-of-the-order offense in baseball.
As far as competition goes for his services, the Miami Marlins have been linked to Castellanos, as well as the Phillies. I can see the Giants, Mariners, Reds, Cubs and Astros in for Castellanos, as well. All of those teams are looking to boost their right-handed thump, especially Houston and San Francisco if they lose Carlos Correa and Kris Bryant, respectively.
Castellanos would be a great fit in Arlington, but this wouldn’t be a debate if we didn’t have an opposing side.