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Giants interested in free-agent outfielder after letting Pillar go [report]

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

There are an entire season’s worth of games and 21 home runs the Giants need to replace.

A day after they allowed Kevin Pillar to walk, not tendering the center fielder a contract for the 2020 season, they were linked to another outfielder who would make some sense. reported Tuesday the Giants are interested in Nicholas Castellanos, the free-agent corner outfielder who hits far better than he fields.

The 27-year-old longtime Tiger was flipped last season to the Cubs, with whom he starred, slashing .321/.356/.646 with 16 home runs in 51 games — all under the eyes of Scott Harris, the then-Chicago executive and now Giants general manager.

Castellanos is a righty who kills lefties, slashing .306/.358/.532 against southpaws for his career, which would be a nice fit for a Giants outfield that houses Alex Dickerson, Mike Yastrzemski and Steven Duggar — all lefties.

Upon letting Pillar go, Farhan Zaidi told reporters the Giants would be in the market for a power-hitting corner outfielder. Yet, he also said the primary reason for allowing the well-liked center fielder to hit the market was to provide an opening for the younger outfielders to see more at-bats. He insinuated the Giants would use 2020 as another developmental season, in which winning games is less important than letting youngsters make progress. While Castellanos is young, a splash of this relative magnitude would come as a surprise.

The suspect fielder — who’s probably a better fit for an American League team, but has somewhat settled into a corner-outfield spot after playing his way off third base — should command a four- or five-year pact worth about $15 million per season. The fact he does not have a qualifying offer attached to him means his market won’t be hurt like, say, Marcell Ozuna’s will. The Giants, who already have one additional pick from Will Smith signing with the Braves and should have another if Madison Bumgarner signs elsewhere, could see a deflated market for players with qualifying offers as a chance to strike.


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