C. Trent Rosecrans and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic that the Cincinnati Reds have a multi-year contract with outfielder Nick Castellanos. Mark Sheldon of MLB.com is reporting that the deal is a 4-year agreement. And now Jon Heyman of MLB Network is reporting that there are opt-outs after the first and second year for Castellanos.
— C. ???????????? (@ctrent) January 27, 2020
The Cincinnati Reds set out to spend money this offseason. The front office stated that they planned to have a new high payroll and they’ve gone out and tried to make that happen. Assuming the reporting from Jon Heyman of MLB Network is correct, Castellanos is getting $16M per year, which would push the payroll to the $141,000,000 mark, give or take a few thousand.
The offseason has watched the Reds hit free agency with a fury that they’ve never shown before. They were heavily involved in trying to land both Yasmani Grandal and Zach Wheeler, but ultimately came up short in both of those deals. But they did go out and land Mike Moustakas, inking him to the largest free agent contract in franchise history, and it wasn’t remotely close. Among position players it was more than three times larger than any they had ever signed before – though that was more about how sad their attempts had been in the past at signing free agents.
The team then followed up the Moustakas signing by picking up their first Japanese player, agreeing to a 3-year deal with Shogo Akiyama. That deal was the second largest ever given to a position player in free agency by the organization, trailing just the one given to Moustakas. To help their rotation, the team then picked up Wade Miley on a multi-year deal.
Unsatisfied with where they were, the team continued to try and improve their lineup. Rumors were that they had offer a multi-year deal to Marcell Ozuna, but he turned it down for a 1-year deal with Atlanta. The focus then moved to Nick Castellanos. And for the fourth time in the offseason, the Reds front office came through and landed what they wanted.
The Reds plan was to get the offense this offseason. And Nicholas Castellanos is the ice cream to follow the cake. Adding Mike Moustakas and Shogo Akiyama gave the Reds more power and more on-base ability to a lineup that needed a little more of both. Adding Castellanos just takes it to the next level. After getting out of the cavernous ballpark in Detroit last season at the trade deadline and joining the Cubs, the right-handed hitter just destroyed National League pitching – hitting .321/.356/.646. On the season he had 58 doubles, three triples, and 27 home runs. In the last four seasons he’s hit .286/.336/.504, good for a 120 OPS+.
He is entering his prime – he won’t turn 28 until after the start of spring training games. And the Cincinnati Reds just locked him up for multiple seasons. The question will remain for now as to how the Reds will manage the playing time for everyone, but having too many options beats the heck out of the alternative for David Bell.
This story has been updated multiple times as it continues to develop with more information.