There hasn’t been many rumblings linking Nicholas Castellanos to the Cardinals this offseason, though one rival executive suggests to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal (Twitter link) that Castellanos would be a better answer to the Cards’ outfield needs than Marcell Ozuna. We’ve addressed the Castellanos/Ozuna debate ourselves in a recent Free Agent Faceoff, though from the executive’s standpoint, Castellanos is preferable for St. Louis since he isn’t attached to any draft pick compensation. If the Cards were to re-sign Ozuna, they’d miss out on the compensatory draft pick they are slated to receive if he signed elsewhere, since Ozuna rejected the qualifying offer. Signing Castellanos, however, would both upgrade the St. Louis outfield and still leave the Cardinals in line for the extra pick.
On the flip side, the Cards’ apparent lack of interest in Castellanos may signal that they simply prefer Ozuna, who is both a comparable talent and is a more known quantity to the Cardinals’ staff and front office. Recent reports suggest that the Cards, Reds, and Rangers are all still in the mix for Ozuna, while Texas also has some interest in Castellanos, but perhaps only as a first baseman. Along with Josh Donaldson, Castellanos and Ozuna are the headliners of a rapidly-depleted free agent crop as we approach the middle of January, and it will be interesting to see which clubs (perhaps a known suitor or a mystery team) wind up with these big bats.