CHICAGO -- If the Cubs were to re-sign Nicholas Castellanos, they would bring back a player who was their most productive hitter for the last two months of the 2019 season after they acquired him in a trade-deadline deal with the Tigers, sparking an offense that had struggled for the first two-thirds of the season.
But "it's more complicated issue than 'We'd love to have him back,' " team President Theo Epstein said in his end-of-season news conference Sept. 30.
Many teams covet Castellanos -- and for good reason -- and that interest is expected to accelerate at the winter meetings this week in San Diego.
Here are the pros and cons of the Cubs re-signing Castellanos:
If they were to re-sign Castellanos, the Cubs would retain the services of the youngest productive free-agent hitter who thrived at Wrigley Field and set up numerous run-producing opportunities for Anthony Rizzo, Kris Bryant, Javier Baez and Kyle Schwarber.
Castellanos, 27, showed no signs of slowing down. Since Aug. 1, Castellanos led the Cubs in hits (68), doubles (21), home runs (16) and RBIs (36), and his 11 home runs in August were the most hit by a Cub in that month since Sammy Sosa's 11 in 2002. From Sept. 13-22, Castellanos batted .375 with nine doubles, two home runs and nine RBIs.
Castellanos has played in at least 148 games in five of his six major-league seasons. He can play left field as well as right.
Castellanos could earn a four-year contract, which would give the Cubs some security with Kris Bryant, Javier Baez and Anthony Rizzo potentially becoming free agents after the 2021 season.
Castellanos also brought a sense of urgency to a team that fell into a "winner's trap" since they had advanced to the playoffs in each of their previous four seasons.