The Cincinnati Reds have reportedly agreed to a 4-year, $64M deal with outfielder Nicholas Castellanos. According to the Athletic and Mark Sheldon, the deal comes with opt-out clauses after the 2020 and 2021 seasons. Castellanos split last season between the Detroit Tigers and the Chicago Cubs. Castellanos had a decent first part of the season for the Tigers, posting a .273/.328/.462 slash line, good for 0.8 fWAR and a wRC+ of 105 in 100 games. Once traded to the Cubs, Castellanos caught fire. In 51 games, Castellanos slashed .321/.356/.646 with a wRC+ of 154 and produced 2 fWAR.
Castellanos adds to an increasingly crowded Cincinnati Reds outfield. Something to watch will be how the outfield competition unfolds in Spring Training, with six outfielders all deserving consideration for consistent playing time. Most likely, Castellanos, Nick Senzel, Shogo Akiyama, and Jesse Winker will all see around 500 ABs in some form of an outfield platoon, while Phil Ervin and Aristides Aquino will fill in off the bench, if they make the roster out of camp. Steamer projects Castellanos to slash .275/.331/.490 with a 112 wRC+ and 1.5 fWAR. The one downside to Castellanos is his poor defense. This could be hidden some by the smaller, hitter-friendly outfield at Great American Ballpark and due to the hitter-friendly nature of GABP, Castellanos could even see a bit of an uptick in offensive production to help counteract the defensive struggles. Castellanos has also played some corner infield in the past, so the Reds could hide his defense at first base on Joey Votto’s off days.
Overall, this is a solid signing for the Reds and will likely lead to a nice boost in the offense. After the deal was announced, John Heyman reported that the Reds are considering trading Nick Senzel. Moving Senzel mostly likely be in an effort to clear up the jam in the outfield and upgrade at another position, such as shortstop, although nothing is imminent at this point in time.
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