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.

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.

Photo of Nicholas Castellanos by Keith Allison and was edited. The license can be found here.

31 Responses

  1. Hotto4Votto

    Somewhat disappointing as I believe Castellanos is by far the best bat available. He’s also the only FA bat entering his prime. It’s still only December, so plenty of time left, but at this point the mandate to #gettheoffense has not really made much headway considering the amount of holes we needed to plug.

    Maybe the Reds feel more confident in other OF options or maybe they feel Castellanos will price himself out of their range? Still feel like the offense is two impact bats away from where it needs to be to compete.

    • CFD3000

      When I first read your comment Hotto I saw “holes we need to Puig”! Yasiel would be a nice depth upgrade but otherwise I don’t see any possible impact bats out there besides Castellanos and Akiyama. I think the key now will be more OBP from Winker, Senzel. Votto and Barnhart.

    • Wes

      SF, Rangers, Cubs is all u need to know that reds aren’t and are not going to be pursuing his services and reds shouldn’t be. 3 teams w a long history of drastically overpaying.

    • earmbrister

      Thank the Lord the Reds are out on Castellanos. He’s a terrible fit for the Reds. Winker needs to start, and he only fits in LF (he’s not a RFr, and certainly not a CFr).

      The Reds need a RFr, someone they can platoon with Aquino. Calhoun or Puig.

  2. CFD3000

    The big offensive upgrade for the Reds in 2020 needs to be more men on base. They hit plenty of home runs last year but that’s ineffective without runners in base. Castellanos was the one outfield bat available with enough thump to represent a potential, real power upgrade, but that’s not where I expect success to originate (if it does) next year. OBP will make all the difference. If Winker and Senzel stay healthy, if Senzel gets more comfortable hitting big league pitching, if Votto realizes that he’s still Joey Votto, if second half Tucker Barnhart plays more than first half Tucker – that’s four batters on base at a .350+ clip. That could be a huge upgrade. If that happens I expect playoff baseball in Cincinnati in October. If not, then not.

    Castellanos would be a nice upgrade but there’s no one out there except Akiyama and his high OBP that would bring any upgrades beyond depth. I hope the Reds don’t waste resources on Ozuna or Dickerson. It’s good to see the Reds opening the checkbook for free agency finally, but at this point I think the winning formula is, at least potentially, already playing for Cincinnati.

  3. Doug Gray

    Just to clarify, MLB Trade Rumors did not break that story. Mark Feinsand did, and MLB Trade Rumors wrote about what he reported.

    • CFD3000

      Either way, Lindor would be a much bigger upgrade, at a position of much greater needs than Castellanos or any free agent outfielder could ever make. If the price isn’t insanely high I hope the Reds ARE talking to the Indians.

  4. Ed

    CFD – I hope you’re right about playoff baseball! At the same time, I don’t know that I put much faith in getting full seasons out of Winker and Senzel yet, and with such a narrow window available, I would’ve loved to see activity to bring in more proven outfielders. Lindor would be awesome, especially from an excitement/press and energy perspective! At the same time, Aquino, Senzel- even Tuck- a lot is riding on them having bounce-back seasons. When you’re banking on half of your starters to have bounce-back seasons, “contending”,starts sounding a little bit like a pipe dream. you mention a need for depth, and I totally agree, but I argue we’re missing proven MLB starters. We have plenty of good bench pieces

    • CFD3000

      Ed you’re not wrong about the Reds outfield depth. And while I believe Winker and Senzel have the potential to be better than Ozuna, Dickerson, or a handful of other free agents, it is a gamble to count on them to be healthy all year. Castellanos would be a clear upgrade, but it looks like that’s not happening. I’d be fine to bring in Puig on a modest contract, and I’d be happy to see Akiyama and his OBP in Cincinnati. But either way I do believe the success of the Reds offense hinges in the health and productivity of Winker, Senzel, Votto and Barnhart. Now if they land Lindor, especially if they can hang onto Greene, Lodolo and Tyler Stephenson, then that’s a very different and happier story. Sign me up for that in a hurry.

  5. jg

    Give the Indians Aquino (sell high), India, Galvis, and Naughton for Lindor the try again on Castellanos. It would be a record payroll but not overshooting the budget that much. Indians have coveted a big right handed bat for a while now. India is their second baseman of the future, Galvis plays short this year, and Nuaghton is a back end starter for them next year.

    • Colorado Red

      the Indians hang up on that offer.
      They will want a TOR pitcher candidate.
      I would think something like Winker, Lodolo, and a few other pieces might get it done.

      • jg

        They’ve actually shown no signs of wanting pitching (its their only strength). They also have repeatedly been on record for wanting a right handed not left handed outfielder. Not saying they wouldn’t hang up on my proposal, but they would listen to it longer than yours.

        You could always engage the Dodgers and let them have Lindor and we get Seagar. We send Galvis and Aquino and the Dodgers send Ruiz, Gonsolin, and one more mid level prospect to Cleveland, we get Seagar and Dodgers get Lindor.

      • jon

        They would laugh hysterically at that ridiculous offer.Why not throw corky miller while you are at it. lol.

  6. Jeff Gangloff

    What would the Reds have to give up to land Lindor? Do we think the Indians would be after Senzel in the deal? Would the Reds consider moving Senzel?

    • David

      Senzel was asked for by the Marlins for Yelich. Would you have done that now in retrospect?

    • jon

      Exactly who is going to replace Senzel’s 12 hr. 42 rbis and .256 avg.?

  7. Amarillo

    It means he values the teams that will offer the most money, and those 3 have formal offers out currently.

    • Amarillo

      I’m being partially sarcastic, but yes, probably. I’m not sure “clubhouse culture” is something you can even have any idea about unless you are in that clubhouse. All these players get asked why they chose so and so team, and they always come up with some excuse as if they didn’t choose the highest monetary offer.

  8. redwolf

    green yes…. Lodolo no…. India yes…. senzel no….. Aquino yes…. Santillan no…. vlad yes (please excuse some of my spelling)

    • wizeman

      i would have no trouble putting santillian in that deal.
      siani or fairchild

      no on lodolo or greene

      • redwolf

        I think with our new pitching coaching staff Sant has some real potential in the bigs for us, maybe put Mahle or Romano (they would prolly want Mahle as he has been more productive) and I really think Siani could be really really good. Starting CF type hitting 18-22 homers and batting 280-300 and swiping 30 bags. I would like to hang on to him. I would be ok giving up Fairchild. But, They also might want bullpen help too… Iggy???

  9. Redsvol

    The reporter reporting this is a Cubs writer. Of course he is going to say the Cubs are still in it. I would be shocked if the Cubs add that type of payroll. The have to pay Bryant and Baez big time soon.

    I applaud the Reds front office for looking at major upgrades – not the small incremental ones most teams are going for now after the winter meetings are over. Such a refreshing change from the past 6 years.

  10. Linkster

    The Reds should do everything they can to get Lindor. As a fallback (and more likely to happen) The have a three-way trade with the Dodgers and end up with Seager.

    Either would be a major upgrade but, cost major salary money. Also, they still would have a major gap in the outfield. AA (as you can see above) is not the answer in right field. They would need to spend more money than expected and get Dickerson in as well as Lindor or Seager..

    Spending over $140M is fine but, there is only so much money they are willing to spend.

  11. David

    Yeah, and next the Reds will trade for Mike Trout. I think the Indians will want a lot more than India, Greene (recovering from TJ surgery) and Galvis (a replacement level player).

    The Indians may want India, but I would think they would also want Luis Castillo, Santillan and probably at least one more prospect (Stephenson?). Lindor is one of, if not the best, SS in the MLB today.

  12. David

    Sports writers propaganda, from the Sportswriters “Book of Bromides and Cliches'”.

    No team REALLY wants good clubhouse culture (facepalm)

  13. Scott C

    I would be all in for Lindor, I think there should be very few untouchables. Anyone name Nick, Hunter or Tyler should be off the table otherwise, How can we make this deal work.

  14. Doug Gray

    It sounds like it means he wants teams that actually seem to care about how players interact with each other rather than just treat players as a number on a spreadsheet.

  15. earmbrister

    David, if the Indians want more than 2 top 5 prospects, TWELVE YEARS of control, for TWO years of Lindor, just say no. In fact, I’d say no to including both. If you’re talking 1 top 5, a second prospect in the 6-15 range and change, sure.

  16. Ryan Singer

    the offseason is fun for speculation, certainly. I say get Lindor no matter the cost as he is proven to play at highest level and then sign Betances to solidify bullpen. I live in Cali but just might buy season tix if they did this move. It’s fun to at least have some real optimism heading into next season for once.

  17. sixpack2

    Lindor would be great but not at the cost some are saying. Look, he would be here two years and gone, so unless he extends his years, and he will not, you maybe give up India, plus, plus and that’s it. If it is no, then that’s it. If Bell uses his left/right outfield properly I think there is a lot of upgrade and the stats agree. We do need someone to split with Aquino in RF in case he is a two Month wonder. Go Reds!