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NY Mets: Nick Castellanos is a top free agent target to consider

CINCINNATI, OHIO - SEPTEMBER 25: Nick Castellanos #2 of the Cincinnati Reds rounds the bases after hitting a walk-off home run in the ninth inning to beat the Washington Nationals 7-6 at Great American Ball Park on September 25, 2021 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OHIO - SEPTEMBER 25: Nick Castellanos #2 of the Cincinnati Reds rounds the bases after hitting a walk-off home run in the ninth inning to beat the Washington Nationals 7-6 at Great American Ball Park on September 25, 2021 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
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Something needs to change this offseason in Queens, New York. The New York Mets, as long as they stood in first place in the National League East in 2021, did not win the division. And for a good reason, too.

From the moment the 2021 MLB regular season began, the Mets offense never clicked. As talented as Francisco Lindor, Michael Conforto, Jeff McNeil, Dominic Smith, and more are, they simply never got going at the plate.

With the Mets searching for a new manager and head of baseball operations, there are more changes to come. Of those changes, there are going to be a handful to the starting lineup.

Multiple players, including Conforto, Javier Baez, Jonathan Villar, and more are ready to hit free agency. That being said, the Mets are going to have plenty of decisions to make in-house.

But what about elsewhere? Where could New York add some pop to their batting order? Look no further than Nick Castellanos, who pending a player option, could find himself searching for a new place to call home.

So, why not Queens, New York?

Nicholas Castellanos gives Mets a middle of the order bat

Someway, somehow, 2021 was the first-ever All-Star appearance for Castellanos. Starting his career with the Detroit Tigers, Castellanos has spent time with the Chicago Cubs, and for the past two seasons living in Great American Ball Park.

Following an underwhelming 2020 season, Castellanos had career numbers this past season. With 100 runs batted in and career highs in home runs (34) and on-base percentage (.362), Castellanos is not going to come cheap. After all, he is one of the top players who could hit free agency.

Nevertheless, the cost would be worth it for Steve Cohen’s club. A dominant right-handed bat who thrives hitting second or third may be the missing piece to unlock the Mets offense. That is, assuming the Mets can stand the defensive mishaps.

Mets could have a defensive problem with Castellanos

As previously mentioned, Baez and Conforto are free agents, leaving second/third base and rightfield unmanned. Luckily, Castellanos has played both the hot corner and corner outfield positions in his career.

However, whether he has played well in those spots is another story. Not once has Castellanos posted a positive defensive run saved mark at either position. In 2021, playing entirely in the Reds outfield Castellanos totaled -7 defensive runs saved.

Reds still in play

Technically, 2022 would be the second year in a four-year deal Castellanos signed with the Reds last off-season. A four-year, $64-million deal is a bargain for the Reds, considering his production. Except, Castellanos has a player opt-out to be a free agent, where he surely can receive a raise from any team.

Next. Top free agent starting pitchers for the Mets to consider

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For the Mets, it simply comes down to this – if/when Castellanos becomes available, is he at the top of their wish list? Or do the Mets pass on a consistent, middle of the batting order slugger because of his defensive issues?

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