The Cubs have ongoing interest in bringing back free agent Nicholas Castellanos, who posted a 1.002 OPS over 51 games for Chicago following a Trade Deadline move from the Tigers.
Scott Harris, then an assistant general manager with the Cubs, had a firsthand look at Castellanos’ powerful display in the second half. Last month, Harris was named general manager of the Giants.
In what is perhaps a related development, the Giants are among the teams showing interest in Castellanos, two sources said Tuesday. Castellanos’ market is likely to become clearer during next week’s Winter Meetings in San Diego, with the White Sox and Marlins among the possible suitors.
In addition to Harris’ familiarity with Castellanos, the 27-year-old outfielder fits the Giants’ plans in a number of ways:
• Last winter, in the months after Farhan Zaidi was named the team’s president of baseball operations, the rebuilding Giants nonetheless proved with their pursuit of Bryce Harper that they’re willing to go after stars who hit free agency at the right age.
Castellanos and Harper are far from identical, but Castellanos is only seven months older than Harper, and they were more comparable offensively this year than one might think: Castellanos posted a 121 OPS+, compared to 125 for Harper.
• Castellanos, a right-handed hitter, would be a welcome contrast to what could be an all-left-handed everyday outfield for the Giants: Mike Yastrzemski, Steven Duggar and Alex Dickerson.
Castellanos also has indicated a willingness to play the corner-infield positions, where Evan Longoria and Brandon Belt were close to league-average hitters in 2019.
• While Castellanos has played mostly right field for each of the last two seasons, he also has experience in left field, a longstanding area of need for the Giants. San Francisco left fielders combined for a .673 OPS in 2019, second worst in the Majors.
• The Giants’ decision to non-tender Kevin Pillar this week freed up a spot in their outfield and additional spending power in the 2020 payroll.