This story broke a few days ago but the Cincinnati Reds have signed Nicholas Castellanos to what can become a 4-year deal worth $64 million. I say can become because Castellanos will be given the opportunity to opt-out of the remaining contract time after the 2020 and 2021 season. That being said Cincinnati will be securing one of the top hitting free agents in baseball to man the left field on a regular basis this year.
The double opt-out seems to be something fairly unique that I’ve not seen happen but it makes sense a ton of sense for Castellanos. He’ll be set to earn $16 million ($10M this season followed by $2M deferrals in Jan 2021, Feb 2021 and Jan 2022) for his work alone on this season. That will give him a decent pay while he has the opportunity to prove himself for a larger deal next year. If Castellanos performs well then he can just check out and go for more money in 2021. If not he’ll have a secured $14M waiting for him to return back to the club for the 2021 season to try and improve again.
I’m certainly going to be cheering for him to perform well enough to make that opt-out worth it. After joining the Cubs in the second half of the season last year Castellanos slashed a healthy .321/.356/.646. Considering Great American’s corners are only 325′ out I imagine we’ll see Castellanos continue to showcase his hitting finesse in Cincinnati. That will bode well for the Reds as it’s likely we’ll be seeing him regularly appear in the Reds daily lineups.
I actually held off on making the post for Castellanos signing because I anticipated we’d see an additional swap being announced from the Reds. That’s because Castellanos is joining an already cramped outfield. The Reds went into the off-season with Jesse Winker, Aristides Aquino, Phillip Ervin and Nick Senzel set to carry most of the outfield duties. That group was expanded when the Reds signed Shogo Akiyama earlier in the winter. Now with Castellanos there’s going to be a serious limit to the number of players who can be on the field.
Early on I was anticipating that we’d see the Reds attempt to move Senzel and possibly Aquino to capture the likes of Francisco Lindor from the Indians. That doesn’t seem to be happening now that Cleveland has said they don’t intend to move the SS. That leaves less interesting options for trades for an upgraded SS to join the ranks. Add that with President of Baseball Dick William’s comments that Senzel isn’t being shopped and I don’t see any major trades being lined up.
That makes Spring Training potentially even more interesting. The Reds still have pieces they could upgrade between now and then but if no deals are made then Spring Training could determine how the Reds play their hand on Opening Day. We only have two weeks before pitchers and cathers report for the first workouts so it’s coming soon!