The Cincinnati Reds are reportedly the front runner to sign free agent outfielder Nicholas Castellanos according to Jon Morosi of

Even after signing free agent outfielder Shogo Akiyama in December, the Cincinnati Reds remained in pursuit of both Marcell Ozuna and Nicholas Castellanos. Last week Ozuna signed a 1-year deal worth $18M with the Atlanta Braves, reportedly turning down a multi-year offer from the Reds in the process.

With Ozuna off of the market, it’s very clear that Nicholas Castellanos is the top player available in free agency. He’s a big bat, hitting .289/.337/.525 last season, but really going off once he joined the Cubs for the final 51 games last year and hitting .321/.356/.646 with Chicago. That included a Major League best 58 doubles to go along with three triples and 27 home runs. He’s been an extra-base hit machine over the last three seasons.

Back in December it was reported that while the Reds were showing interest in Castellanos, his preference at the time was with a few other teams. It would appear that things may have shifted if that report, and the one from Jon Morosi from today are correct.

Cincinnati’s got plenty of money to spend, or so it would appear. And they have been trying to find a way to improve their offense all offseason. Adding Mike Moustakas and Shogo Akiyama certainly help with that, but tossing in Castellanos would be another big step in the right direction.

The signing would leave open the question of how does the lineup play out. Bringing Castellanos on board, it would seem to push someone out. Aristides Aquino or Jesse Winker could see a reduction in playing time in the corners with a new addition to go along with Akiyama and Senzel. The old saying goes that having too many good players is never a bad thing. And it’s not. But it certainly makes for a tough way to get everyone playing time, too. This is all pure speculation at this point, because the signing hasn’t happened. But if it does, the Reds have some real figuring out to do with their outfield.

Photo of Nicholas Castellanos by Ian D’Andrea. Photo has been modified slightly to fit the ratio of the site. License can be found here.