What tax? Signing Nick Castellanos shows a clear commitment to winning

While John Middleton has said the Phillies would go into the tax for the right opportunity, fans didn’t believe him. As the old saying goes, actions speak louder than words.

Well folks, the team’s actions are lining up with Middleton’s words.

Nick Castellanos is the second, and very unexpected, big splash for a bat this offseason. Yesterday, many, including myself, felt the Phillies’ interest was Castellanos’ camp posturing for more money. However, when Jayson Stark reported they were in heavy pursuit, it was definitely smoke. His word carry weight and for him to confirm the report made it more than posturing.

Not long after, our man Jim Salisbury, echoed similar sentiments regarding Castellanos. Salisbury has incredibly high-ranking contacts within the organization, so there is smoke to information he reports.

It took all day for any update, but news started to break around midnight that he was joining the Phillies. Nick Castellanos practically confirmed the report by posting an Instagram picture from Philadelphia. While there will be adventures defensively, the Phillies are going to try and outscore their opponents.

Castellanos is coming off a season that saw him slash .309/.362/.576, along with 34 HRs and 100 RBIs. His performance paved the way for his first All-Star appearance and a Silver Slugger award. One of the best hitters in baseball last year, he immediately adds another layer of protection for Bryce Harper. He also has ties to the current Phillies’ regime. President Dave Dombrowski drafted him as the GM of the Tigers in 2010.

While Castellanos adds a big power bat to the Phils, the defense is definitely going to be suspect. Paired with the Kyle Schwarber signing, the Phillies added to their surplus of 1B/3B/LF/DH types. I don’t think the defense got worse with Castellanos, but it means less DH time for players like Alec Bohm and JT Realmuto. Joe Girardi is going to have some juggling to do, especially with the number of players of similar skill sets.

Even with the defense in mind, the Phillies needed to make this move. The Braves are the defending World Series champions. The Mets are going to have an operating payroll near $300MM this season. The competition in the division is only getting fiercer and the Phillies have to find a way to keep up. Adding the likes of Schwarber and Castellanos to your lineup will do that.

Not only will they help the team, but they will also help each other. All these big bats in the lineup will allow for them to see better pitches to hit. Opposing pitchers will be unable to pitch around people with this much firepower. Where everybody hits in the lineup is yet to be figured out, but wherever you put them, they are going to hit.

Bryce won the MVP last year with not nearly this amount of protection. Imagine the amount of damage he can do in this lineup, which is, on paper, one of the deepest lineups in franchise history.

This deal going through brings much needed life to a fan base desperate for air. The team is in the midst of a 10-year playoff drought, and fan interest was waning. Bringing aboard two proven hitters to join this lineup makes them dangerous.

There is still room to make additional moves if needed. The next luxury tax threshold isn’t until $250M. With the Castellanos signing, the Phillies have approximately $236M in payroll responsibilities for the upcoming season. There are still a few holes, namely on the pitching staff. The possibilities open up now that they have finally passed the tax.

Sure, they aren’t your typical baseball team. They might not excel at pitching or fielding, but they are going to thump opposing pitchers at the plate.

Address the defense if it becomes a problem, which there is a highly likelihood it could. I am just ready to see some BOMBS (nukes, taters, missiles, tacos, however you want to refer to them).

Dare I say the Phillies will be fun this year?

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