Nick Castellanos broke the internet when he announced his own Philadelphia Phillies signing with a subtle Instagram post
Nick Castellanos wasn’t going to wait around for his future to be announced by Jeff Passan, Ken Rosenthal, Robert Murray, or any of the other MLB insiders who typically declare a ballplayer’s next move.
As the inadvertent star of the popular internet meme “Drive into Deep Left Field,” it’s safe to assume he’d like to have some control over what is said about him online, at least in important moments such as his own free agency.
So when the time came late Friday night, Castellanos took matters into his own hands, sharing a photo to his Instagram from the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, famous for their cameo in the iconic Rocky film franchise. He left the caption blank; the photo was worth a thousand words. Or in his case, millions of dollars.
The post quickly went viral on Twitter, with Phillies fans pleasantly shocked that their team had signed two sluggers (Kyle Schwarber earlier in the week) in the span of a few days.
Within the hour, Passan reported that Castellanos and the Phillies were in agreement on a deal. In the hours after that, the specifics – five years, $100M – also became public. On Saturday morning, Bryce Harper, who had been pushing for the signing, said it was a “good day to be a Phillie.”
Rare is it that a player breaks their own news. The news itself is even more significant, as he’s the first player for whom the Phillies deemed worthy of exceeding the luxury tax threshold. For the first time in their 140-year history, the Phillies will pay for overspending; fans who have waited and watched a decade-long playoff drought are thrilled.
Originally drafted by Phillies president of baseball operations, Dave Dombrowski, when he was the Detroit Tigers’ GM, Castellanos has an impressive nine-year resumé in the majors. He’s coming off his first Silver Slugger season, in which he hit .309/.362/.576 with a .939 OPS, 38 doubles, and 34 home runs in 138 games. He scored 95 times and drove in 100 more runs, one run shy of his career-high, which took him 157 games, back in 2017.
Heading into the 2022 season, the Phillies have a lineup that can compete with the top contenders. Harper, Castellanos, and Kyle Schwarber each hit 30+ home runs in 2021. According to Sarah Langs, the last time the Phillies had multiple players with 30+ HR in a season was in 2009. That year, their most recent pennant-winning season, they set a franchise record with four: Ryan Howard, Raúl Ibañez, Chase Utley, and Jayson Werth.
The future looks brighter than it has in a long time for this Phillies team.