Now, years later, Miami has another chance to make a play for Castellanos. And the club is certainly open to signing the 27-year-old free-agent outfielder.
“I would say, we're open to everything,” Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said on Wednesday afternoon. “We're not closing any doors with opportunities for us to get better.”
At the General Managers Meetings in Scottsdale, Ariz., Hill spoke with MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand and didn’t rule out Miami’s interest in Castellanos.
Castellanos, who attended Archbishop McCarthy High School in Southwest Ranches, Fla., is from Broward County.
A right-handed-hitting outfielder/third baseman, Castellanos is a proven middle-of-the-order threat, hitting .289/.337/.525 with 27 home runs and 73 RBIs in 2019 with the Tigers and Cubs. He had a 121 wRC+ and is among the most productive offensive players on the market.
Castellanos made $9.95 million in 2019, and if he winds up with the Marlins, he would become a building block in the organization’s push to become a playoff contender.
“We know him very well, from evaluating him at McCarthy High School and following his career,” Hill said. “I think most guys with some offensive ability are guys that we have to look at.”
The Marlins are aiming to accelerate their building process at the big league level after finishing 57-105, and coming off two last-place finishes in the National League East.
Unlike the past two years when the Marlins were sellers, they are now buyers, while remaining realistic about where they are in their rebuilding process.
“The Hot Stove is underway,” Hill said.
The Marlins ranked last in the Majors in 2019 in home runs and second to last in runs scored. So, offense will be their primary focus this winter.
“There's players that we've identified that we think could definitely move the needle for us,” Hill said. “That's the goal, is to add to a core group of players that we really like.”
Free agency isn’t the only avenue the Marlins are exploring. They are considering trade scenarios as well.
“Our pitching is very popular, as you would expect,” Hill said. “I think with a little bit of our history, teams know that we will make trades.”
But parting with an established big league starting pitcher -- or close to one -- will take some convincing.
“I'm always open to ideas,” Hill said. “You have to be in this process. But I'm also mindful that we've traded away a lot of good talent to build the depth that we have, so we're going to act wisely and judiciously as we look at ways to improve.”