Finding a Match for Nick Castellanos: San Francisco Giants

The San Francisco Giants, who have won 17 of their last 21 games, have climbed within three games of a wild card spot in what is shaping out to be a wide-open National League playoff race. It doesn’t sound like they are planning to sell off any of their pieces, most notably ace pitcher Madison Bumgarner. The players are really hoping the Giants’ front office personnel decides to keep their red-hot group intact from the looks of it…

He’s [Madison Bumgarner] the quiet heartbeat of the hottest team in baseball. He’s a former postseason hero. And he doesn’t give a s–t about trade rumors. Madison Bumgarner is a Giant in every sense of the word, but for how much longer?

“If you trade Bumgarner now, this clubhouse will go ballistic,” an anonymous veteran Giants player told USA Today’s Bob Nightengale. “And so will the fanbase. How can you possibly justify it?

“I mean, what more do we have to do?’’

Dalton Johnson of NBC Sports California

The Giants will be competing for a wild card spot alongside the Nationals, Cardinals, Phillies, Brewers, and Diamondbacks. Their odds of making it to the postseason are less than seven percent according to FanGraphs. Realistically, San Francisco will need to improve their team if they wish to play in October. Coming into play on July 24th, the Giants outfielders had combined to produce 1.6 wins above replacement (FanGraphs), which is the fifth lowest mark in the majors.

Kevin Pillar, their starting center fielder, provides little value on offense (.247 AVG, .275 OBP, .408 SLG, and a 74 wRC+), and his defense does not overcompensate for his lack of offensive prowess (five defensive runs above average [DRS] in CF this season).

San Francisco has used 12 different players in the outfield this season, and only one of them has been worth more than 1.0 fWAR: Alex Dickerson (1.5). Mike Yastrzemski, who has been worth 0.6 fWAR on the year, has been picking it up as of late…

  • PA: 49
  • AVG: .333
  • HR: 4
  • RBI: 11

With that being said, they could certainly improve their outfield. One potential target could be Tigers’ right fielder Nick Castellanos (.282/.339/.478), who leads all of baseball with 36 doubles. He’s a pending free agent whose defensive struggles are well documented (-7 DRS in the OF this year), so the cost to acquire him won’t be all that high. Considering most contenders possess a strong outfield and the fact that there is no DH in the National League, a lack of potential suitors could also lower his trade value.

Photo: Getty Images

FanGraphs values the Giants’ farm system at $182 million, which is the 20th highest in the MLB. Trading for a player like Castellanos will hardly put a dent in the Giants’ rebuilding efforts.

Here is what a trade between the two teams could look like…

San Francisco Giants trade RF Alexander Canario to the Detroit Tigers in return for RF Nick Castellanos

Alexander Canario, who just turned 19 years old a couple of months ago and is ranked as the Giants’ 5th best prospect (FanGraphs), is hitting .275/.381/.478 in 84 plate appearances at A-. He boasts a strong arm, solid speed, and massive raw power.

Photo: Baseball America

Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel, FanGraphs’ prospect experts, are bullish on Canario…

He has mediocre natural timing and feel to hit, and his front side often leaks, which impacts his ability to spoil breaking stuff away from him. His lower half got thicker and stronger during the offseason, making it more likely that he ends up in right field rather than center. But this is a potential middle-of-the-order hitter because of the raw power; the swing has natural loft, and the early-career plate discipline data is strong. There’s huge ceiling if the hit/approach component improves, but of course, this type of prospect often fails to fully actualize.

All in all, the Giants would be getting themselves a strong hitter in Castellanos, which would allow them to slide Yastrzemski to center, where he played 179.2 innings at triple-A earlier this season. The Tigers would be picking up a high-upside position player prospect who fits their contention timeline (2023 ETA per FanGraphs).


  1. Do not trade your young prospects for an old one! We did that with Bryan Reynolds for McCutchen – he is not better than Pillar, Dickerson, Yaz, or Slater.


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