I guess the baseball offseason rumor mill doesn’t stop for non-baseball news. Setting aside the terrible Kobe Bryant news for a moment.
The Reds have quietly been mentioned at the periphery of the Nick Castellanos free agent market for a while, but with teams like the Cubs not being aggressive on him for various reasons, the Reds might just be the team to pounce.
The latest from Jon Morosi:
— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) January 26, 2020
With many other presumed suitors closing up the books (or holding them tight the whole time) – the Rangers, Cardinals, and Cubs, for example – it seems highly likely that a team like the Reds would be well-positioned to swoop in and get a relative bargain on Castellanos. The Giants had been the other team I was thinking about (they are also mentioned by Morosi), but the Reds are pushing into 2020 much more aggressively.
If the Reds do add Castellanos, they will have a very robust outfield mix, together with newly-signed Shogo Akiyama, and youngsters Nick Senzel, Phillip Ervin, Jesse Winker, and Aristides Aquino. It would also provide them the flexibility to trade from that group if they wanted to trade add elsewhere on the roster.
It’s not too difficult to see an incredible lineup there, plus a top tier rotation and bullpen, if things break right for the Reds. We’ll see what happens with Castellanos – it would not be fun to root against him – but if the Reds pull it off, they will easily be right up there at the top of the division in my mind on paper.
… if only the Cubs could figure out a way to get a deal done with Castellanos before that happens. Alas, that would almost certainly require trading Kris Bryant (or comparable salary) ASAP, which is artificially held up by the service time grievance decision. And even if the Cubs could make that move, it doesn’t necessarily make a lot of sense to do it without also opening up a full-time corner outfield spot for Castellanos.
It’s always been a long-shot, and although the coming Steven Souza, Jr. signing isn’t the thing that took the Cubs out on Castellanos or signaled that it definitely wasn’t going to happen, he’s probably the righty outfielder you’ll have to hope on.