Reporting doesn’t get more reliable than Jon Morosi, who said this:
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) January 26, 2020
Matt Wilkes wrote about Castellanos a couple months ago, taking a look at how his offense and defense are a fit for the Reds. Read the whole thing, but here was Matt’s conclusion:
“If the mission of the offseason is improving the offense, Castellanos checks that box. He should have several years of strong production left at his young age. Cost won’t be an obstacle in signing Castellanos unless his market becomes unexpectedly competitive. That said, he’s probably not a buy-low bargain like Ozuna could be.
… If any National League team is well-equipped to deal with Castellanos’ defense, though, it’s the Reds. The pitching staff was second (by the slimmest of margins: 0.1 percentage points) in the league in strikeout rate in 2019 at 25.6%. More strikeouts means fewer balls in play and fewer opportunities for bad defenders to burn the team. The Reds were also sixth in ground-ball rate (44.3%), which can also limit the damage poor outfielders can do if it continues.
Castellanos isn’t the perfect fit, but he would help address Cincinnati’s biggest need next season and beyond.”
The reporting on this sounds like one of those cases where meaningful momentum is building, but it’s still just a report. It’s always wise to figure out who has an interest in leaking this.
Adding Castellanos would add to the log jam in the Reds outfield. We’ll take a closer look at that in the next few days.
Thoughts from Matt Wilkes
Castellanos was projected by MLB Trade Rumors to fetch a four-year, $58 million contract in free agency. Whether he gets that amount remains to be seen after the slow development in his market and the underwhelming deal given to recently signed Marcell Ozuna. However, it should be noted that Castellanos does not have draft pick compensation attached to him as Ozuna did.
Per Steve’s most recent payroll update, the Reds have about $126 million tied up in payroll right now (that projection remains the same after arbitration signings). Last year’s total was around $127 million, and members of the front office have stated a desire to expand payroll heading into the coming season. Castellanos represents their last chance to do that in the free-agent market. If Castellanos gets the MLB Trade Rumors projection — a $14.5 million annual value — that would push the Reds in the area of a franchise-record $140 million.
Thoughts from Nick Carrington
Castellanos would bring an above-average bat and some certainty that the Reds do not currently have in the outfield. Nick Senzel is young and coming off surgery, Shogo Akiyama is adjusting to a new culture and better pitching, and Jesse Winker needs to stay healthy and show some growth, especially on defense. For the record, I think all three of those guys have strong years and make the Reds a much stronger team. But Castellanos is probably a 20% or 30% better hitter than the league and gives the Reds even more depth.
[Photo Credit: KA Sports Photos]