Even before the offseason officially began, the Cincinnati Reds were already being linked to outfielders in upcoming free agency. The Reds have picked up two free agents thus far, signing Mike Moustakas to take over at second base for at least the next four years at the beginning of the month. Earlier this week they signed left-handed starter Wade Miley. But they’ve continued to look for ways to improve the offense, and it seems outfield has been at the top of that list since the Moustakas signing.
A week ago today saw Jon Morosi of MLB Network report that the Reds were taking a look at outfielder Nicholas Castellanos on the final day of the Winter Meetings. It certainly made sense – after joining the Cubs in the second half last season he hit .321/.356/.646 while leading the league in 2019 with 58 doubles (and he also hit 27 home runs and three triples). If the Reds were going to be looking solely at upgrading their offense, it may have been Castellanos who would have provided the biggest upgrade among the outfielders on the free agent market.
But it seems that the Reds may be out on the slugger at this point. Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic reports that the San Francisco Giants, Texas Rangers, and Chicago Cubs might be the front runners due to those teams valuing clubhouse culture – something important to Nicholas Castellanos as he looks to join a (potentially) new franchise. While the Reds actual moves seem to have been ones that no one was talking about, not seeing Cincinnati listed when it appears the information is coming from someone close to the outfielder.
Aristides Aquino homers in the Dominican Winter League
Last night saw Aristides Aquino crack his first home run of the Dominican Winter League for Licey.
— Tigres del Licey (@TigresdelLicey) December 19, 2019
The Reds outfielder got a late start to the season down in the Dominican Winter League after a contract dispute. It took The Punisher 11 games to get his first home run. Through those 11 games he’s hit three doubles, a triple, and the home run shown above. But overall he’s hitting just .209/.255/.395 so far with three walks and six strikeouts.
The Best and Worst Reds Free Agent Deals of the Decade
David Schoenfield of ESPN took a look at the best and worst free agent signings for each team over the last decade. Spoiler alert – the best deal was Aroldis Chapman and the worst was Ryan Ludwick. But that’s not really the point of bringing this up. This is:
No team spent less in free agency in the decade than the Reds, whose decade began with playoff appearances in 2010, 2012 and 2013 but concluded with six straight losing seasons. The Reds are ramping up for 2020, and the $64 million deal with Mike Moustakas already tops anything they gave out in the 2010s.
Tough to win if you are trying to do it all from the inside. As noted, the team is starting to spend this offseason. For Reds fans, hopefully it means something different than what happened on the field for most of the last decade.