Nick Castellanos made it clear he wants to do one thing with the Phillies: win in the Playoffs.
“I’ve played over 1,000 big league games and I have zero playoff wins,” Castellanos said in his introductory press conference Wednesday at BayCare Ballpark. “You know what I’m saying? So, cool, like, I’ve made money, I’ve hit Homers, I’ve played on TV, but I haven’t won any games that matter. I would like to do that. “
“He’s one of the premier hitters in Major League Baseball,” said Phillies president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski, who was the Tigers’ general manager when Detroit took Castellanos in the first round of the 2010 Draft. “He brings more than just a bat to the lineup. With his determination, the winning atmosphere, the chemistry that he brings to the clubhouse – he’s a Championship type of individual.”
Castellanos batted .309 with 34 home runs and 100 RBIs for the Reds last season, making his first career All-Star team and winning a Silver Slugger Award in the outfield.
After Castellanos became a free agent, Dombrowski and Bryce Harper – who has the same agent, Scott Boras, and was a teammate with Castellanos in USA Baseball in 2009 – made the push to Phillies owner John Middleton to bring the Slugger to Philadelphia.
“I want to thank John Middleton for signing Nick, and now I don’t get four phone calls a day for the last month from Bryce Harper,” Boras joked at the press conference.
Castellanos’ arrival, after the Phillies already added Kyle Schwarber, could give the club its best offense since the teams that routinely hammered the National League pitching under manager Charlie Manuel from 2005-11.
Dombrowski said Middleton would approach him every night asking what additional moves the Phillies could make to get better – and Castellanos was out there.
“I thought, ‘That bat sure would look nice in the middle of our lineup,'” Dombrowski said. “‘I don’t think he’s signed anywhere, or is close to signing, from what I’ve read. But I know how good a player he is and how good a hitter he is and what he brings to a team.’ And so all of a Sudden you talk about having… having Harper and Schwarber and Castellanos and [Rhys] Hoskins and [J.T.] Realmuto, that’s pretty good. “
Castellanos can play both corner outfield spots, third base and designated hitter. He gives Phillies manager Joe Girardi more lineup versatility as the Phillies intend to use their Everyday players at DH. Girardi said the Phils’ plan is to primarily use Castellanos in the left and right field and at DH.
“The organization’s committed to winning,” Castellanos said. “The opportunity to be here, to play with these guys – I’m excited to be teammates with Bryce again, we won a gold medal together in Venezuela in 2009 – so just a lot of things for me to be excited about. “