Reds sign Nick Castellanos
The Reds have had a busy offseason so far, adding Mike Moustakas, Shogo Akiyama and Wade Miley this winter. They topped all of that on Monday with their biggest move of the offseason, signing Nick Castellanos to a four-year deal worth $64 million. The contract also features a pair of opt-outs after 2020 and 2021 plus a player option for a fifth year. Castellanos doesn’t really have a great home defensively, but his bat can make up for that. He had a huge second half after being traded to the Cubs last season and has always been a guy who regularly smokes the ball. As far as his fit with the Reds, he joins a very crowded outfield that also features Akiyama, Jesse Winker, Aristides Aquino and Nick Senzel all vying for playing time. Castellanos will surely get the most run of that group, most likely in left field. Cincinnati is making a real push this winter, and while I don’t think they’re the NL Central favorite, that picture is muddled enough that they are certainly in the mix.
Sox Spin: Two things here. First, Castellanos was a target for the Rangers, who very much want another outfielder. They’ve long seemed like a logical spot for Jackie Bradley Jr. if the Red Sox want to deal him, so this makes that more likely. Additionally, the Reds seems likely to deal an outfielder listed above. They have been connected to Francisco Lindor at times this winter, and a trade with Senzel as part of it could be the way to get that done. I’m not expecting that, but it would certainly clear up the AL Wildcard picture a bit.
Pirates trade Starling Marte to the Diamondbacks
It’s been a little bit since we had an exciting trade in baseball, but we got one Monday afternoon with the Pirates sending Starling Marte to the Diamondbacks in exchange for prospects Liover Peguero, a shortstop, and Brennan Malone, a pitcher. Marte is a big addition for a Diamondbacks team that is sneaky good. He can roam center field well (though his metrics fell a ton last year) while swinging a good bat and providing athleticism on the bases. He joins a Diamondbacks team that should be in the wildcard picture and a really fun top of the lineup with Ketel Marte.
As for the Pirates, well, what can you even say about them. On it’s face, this is not a terrible move. Pittsburgh is rebuilding and they got two high-ceiling prospects in the low minors. The value here is defensible. However, these things do not happen in a vacuum and they now carry a payroll under $60 million. That’s a joke, and it’s embarrassing that a team collecting revenue-sharing money is allowed to do this.
Sox Spin: This is a pretty big deal for the Red Sox, or at least it could be. For one thing, Arizona had been connected to Bradley Jr. early in the offseason and tangentially mentioned in some Mookie Betts rumors as well. This takes one suitor away on those fronts. It also, however, could motivate the Padres to be more aggressive on Betts if they want to solidify their spot in the west. I’m not sure how much I buy that, but it could factor in marginally. On top of all that, Marte was perhaps the most favorable target for the Rangers, and as mentioned above they could be motivated to move on Bradley after today.