There are always plenty of rumors this time of year, with free agency just underway and the GM Meetings happening. But Philadelphia Phillies fans woke up to a shocking piece of news that dropped late overnight on Wednesday, or rather very early Thursday morning.
According to Mark Feinsand of MLB.com, the Phillies are open to trading right-fielder Nick Castellanos.
While Feinsand cited an anonymous source, someone from the organization definitely told the MLB reporter something about the front office's plans.
Now, it doesn't mean that president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski will trade the 31-year-old outfielder; it doesn't even mean that Dombrowski and general manager Sam Fuld are actively shopping him.
But it's interesting that this has come out and that the Phillies are open to exploring a roster shake-up. After all, Dombrowski went on the record Wednesday to say that the Phillies feel set with their positional players for 2024.
"Well, I think really, it's interesting for us because our positional players are right now, we're pretty well set at the big league level," Dombrowski said. "I talk about that infield, and then all of a sudden you talk about Marsh and Rojas in the outfield, and Castellanos in the outfield, with Schwarber as the DH, most of our roles are really more the utility backup type roles that we have [available]."
Did Castellanos' epic struggles at the end of the year seal his fate?
Despite Dombrowski's assertion that they're set at the big league level, it wouldn't be a huge surprise to see the front office make some changes after the shockingly disappointing exit in the NLCS. Castellanos is the poster boy for the extreme challenges the Phillies lineup faced after looking unbeatable coming out of the NLDS and even through Game 2 of the Diamondbacks series.
As hot as Castellanos was in the NLDS against the Braves, with a .467 batting average and a 1.796 OPS, he went the complete opposite direction in the NLCS. He hit .042 with a .278 OPS against Arizona and went hitless in his final 23 at-bats of the NLCS with 11 strikeouts and a 50 percent chase rate out of the zone.
His regular season wasn't exactly a model of consistency either. He finished the year with a .272 batting average and a .788 OPS with 29 home runs and a career-high 106 RBI but fell off down the stretch and was dropped to eighth after a particularly cold spell, hitting .240 in September.
Per Feinsand, Castellanos ranked in the bottom two percent of the league in chase rate, the bottom five percent in whiff rate, and the bottom 12 percent in walk rate.
Feinsand mentions Jorge Soler and Teoscar Hernández, or even Alex Verdugo, as possible replacements for Castellanos. There's even a chance that Juan Soto is available on the trade market.
Only time will tell if the Phillies actually pull off a big offseason trade involving one of their core players, but if we're hearing about this, you can be sure that the rest of the MLB executives are aware of the change to the Phillies' trade block.