As the budget-conscious Cubs figure out their 2020 payroll, an NL West team has emerged in the race to sign free agent Nicholas Castellanos.
According to The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal (subcription required), a team interested in Castellanos views the Giants as the top-bidder for the outfielder's services.
The Giants recently named Cubs front office assistant Scott Harris as their general manager, so San Francisco has some ties to Castellanos. The Giants 2020 luxury tax payroll is currently projected to be $186 million (per Roster Resource) so they could sign Castellanos without going over MLB's $208 million threshold.
Castellanos was a stellar addition last season after the Cubs acquired him at the trade deadline. He posted a .321/.356/.646 line with 16 home runs and 21 doubles in 51 games. That performance upped the 27-year-old's value entering free agency.
The Cubs are looking to get under the luxury tax threshold to avoid being penalized a second straight season. Signing Castellanos would complicate this, but the Cubs are still pursuing him, as they could potentially sign him and clear payroll in a corresponding move.
But if it turns into a bidding war, the Cubs may find themselves unable to bring Castellanos back.