Nick Castellanos
by Steve Mancuso

Report: Reds in “clear” lead to sign Nick Castellanos

Reporting doesn’t get more reliable than Jon Morosi, who said this:

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]

Steve Mancuso is a lifelong Reds fan who grew up during the Big Red Machine era. He’s been writing about the Reds for more than ten years. Steve’s fondest memories about the Reds include attending a couple 1975 World Series games, being at Homer Bailey’s second no-hitter and going nuts for Jay Bruce at Clinchmas. Steve was also at all three games of the 2012 NLDS, but it’s too soon to talk about that.

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Mark Moore
Mark Moore
8 months ago

If it happens, I’ve got think another trade is also in the works for a SS.

David Yount
David Yount
8 months ago

If the Red’s do indeed sign Castellanos that might lead them to the division along with the other signings, however I don’t think it’s enough for them to go deep into the playoffs.

Brian
Brian
8 months ago

If the Reds sign Castellanos, I would have to think that either Senzel is moving back to the infield (which would mean Geno moving to SS), or one or more of the outfielders is getting traded for a SS.

Sandman
Sandman
8 months ago
Reply to  Brian

I wouldn’t want to move Geno from third bcuz he’s so good there and I heard he was a subpar SS when he was there.

So my hope is that they use their OF depth in a trade for a very good SS.

Sandman
Sandman
8 months ago

With Castellanos in this s lineup as it currently stands we may be unstoppable but if we get Castellanos and can use some of our OF depth in a package for Lindor that would be a SCARY offense.

Sandman
Sandman
8 months ago

I just hope all will be able to stay healthy

Brian P Van Hook
Brian P Van Hook
8 months ago

I confess to being really confused about any prospects for Senzel moving to the infield. It would make all the sense in the world, and I thought he did OK there in his limited role there a few spring trainings ago. But poof, he was back in the minors at second base, then in center field.

Never knew whether the Reds were dissatisfied with his play at short, or just thought they were set there with Peraza. Lately I’ve been hearing and reading that the Reds didn’t think he could play shortstop in the majors. …. Yet it seems to make so much sense, it’s an idea that nobody seems willing to give up on.