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Who Ya Got: Kyle Schwarber or Nick Castellanos?

Schwarber and Castellanos, both in the primes of their careers, will still be available on the free agent market when the MLB lockout ends.

The Marlins acquisition of Avisaíl García to a 4-year/$53M deal gave the team a much-needed power source in a lineup so greatly in need of said skillset. By FanGraphs’ wRC+, where 100 represents the league average, Miami’s 84 wRC+ this season finished tied with Arizona and Texas for third-worst in the Majors.

But in a division that boasts the defending World Series champion Atlanta Braves and big-budget New York Mets, it’d behoove us to say more must be done to augment a feeble offense.

91st MLB All-Star Game presented by Mastercard Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber, two mighty outfielders coming off great offensive seasons in 2021, are names that have been connected to Miami in an offseason where we’ve already seen them be active in upgrading their 67-win roster.

But what, if any, is the fit for either of these two on the 2022 Fish?

Castellanos’ Case

MLB Trade Rumors contract prediction: five years, $115 million

Nick Castellanos’ Statcast percentile rankings, 2021
Nick Castellanos’ Statcast percentile rankings, 2021
Baseball Savant

Coming off a year where posted a career-best 136 OPS+ and 3.2 rWAR, Castellanos earned his first All-Star nod in 2021. Since the start of 2018, Castellanos owns a .290/.345/.527 (125 OPS+) slash line split across time in Detroit, Chicago, and Cincinnati. The Hialeah native, who turns 30 the following March 4, opted out of the final two years and $32M of his deal with the Reds. During his stint there, after adjusting for the hitter-friendly conditions at Great American Ball Park, Castellanos put together a 125 OPS+, in line with his track record since 2018. This, in turn, suspects those to believe some regression is expected should Castellanos play his home games in pitcher-friendly loanDepot Park (97 one-year park factor compared to GABP’s 115).

Financially, Castellanos could be out of the Marlins’ plans considering his similarities to prime J.D. Martinez in terms of skill set, agent (Scott Boras) and asking price. Factor in the extensive track record of poor defensive metrics—minus-93 defensive runs saved (-10 dWAR)—and Castellanos profiles as a future DH.

That being said, the extensive track record of above-average offensive production will leave the slugger with many possible suitors. Miami has reportedly kicked the tires on Castellanos with good reason. Stay disciplined on a four-year offer in the ballpark (no pun intended) of around $75-80M, and hope for the best.

Schwarber’s Case

MLB Trade Rumors contract prediction: four years, $70 million

Kyle Schwarber’s Statcast percentile rankings, 2021
Kyle Schwarber’s Statcast percentile rankings, 2021
Baseball Savant

A recent foe of the Marlins, hitting .333/.462/.905 with 4 home runs in 6 games during his brief stint with the Nationals, Schwarber put together a career-year in 2021, slamming 32 home runs in only 113 games played. His .928 OPS and corollary 148 OPS+ also marked career-bests, as was his 3.2 rWAR. Following a trade to Boston, where he’d play in just 41 games due to a bout with COVID-19, Schwarber hit .291/.435/.522, guiding the team to the ALCS.

While not regarded as a defensive stalwart either, Schwarber has at least shown the ability to move around the diamond, playing both left field and first base in 2021.

Schwarber, who also happens to be a year younger than Castellanos, may appear the safer bet on a free agent deal. As a bonus, the former was not eligible to receive a qualifying offer from his previous team and therefore signing him wouldn’t force the Marlins to forfeit an early-round MLB Draft pick.

While Schwarber’s fate, may too lie in the throes of being a DH, his 13.1-percent career walk rate and track record of upper-echelon bat speed make him the more attractive name to plug into Miami’s lineup come 2022.