This morning it was reported by Jayson Stark of The Athletic that the Philadelphia Phillies were going after free agent outfielder Nick Castellanos. But just a few minutes ago Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported that the Phillies weren’t the only team showing interest in the outfielder and that the Cincinnati Reds were among a group of “surprise teams” that were still interested.

Updated at 11:30pm ET on March 18th

Nick Castellanos has signed with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Original article continues below

To say that adding Nick Castellanos back would be a difference maker would be an understatement. For all of the hand-wringing that has rightfully been had over what Cincinnati has been doing since the lockout was lifted, Baseball Prospectus PECOTA system projected them as a 79-83 team as of this morning. With six teams getting to the playoffs in each league now, as sad as it sounds, a .500 record could get a team in.

The Cincinnati Reds outfield, no matter how you slice it, is a bit of a mess right now. No one in spring training with the team that is listed as an outfielder has actually played a full season in the big leagues as an outfielder. Tyler Naquin and Nick Senzel are two of the presumed starters in the outfield as things stand today, with the third outfielder being up in the air after trading away Jesse Winker to the Seattle Mariners earlier this week.

With Shogo Akiyama, Aristides Aquino, Max Schrock, TJ Friedl, Jake Fraley, and potentially Jose Barrero as the other options to round out the outfield, the Reds could really use a proven guy out there. Nick Castellanos could be that guy as we’ve all seen over the years – including last season when he hit .309/362/.576 with 34 home runs and 100 RBI for Cincinnati. He’s not going to come cheap, but hey – The Reds have been shedding payroll over the last week and have plenty of money to spend if they choose to do it.

61 Responses

    • Frostgiant80

      I agree but then why trade Winker? I get trading Gray if you think Greene and Lodolo are ready but I am at a loss if this is true.

      • JoshG

        yeah.. I have no clue at this point…

      • Chris

        Exactly! Winker and Suarez together were cheaper than Castellanos is going to be. Again, makes no sense at all. That’s not to say I don’t want them to sign Castellanos. The real issue is that their long term plans are literally DAY to DAY.

      • greenmtred

        You trade Winker because he can’t play a full season, can’t hit lefthanders and he has value as a trade chip. They got, by most accounts, a high-ceiling pitching prospect. Suarez had so much abuse heaped upon him by almost all of us that I can’t believe you are now lamenting that the Reds traded him. He may rebound, certainly, and I hope he does, but he wouldn’t likely be the 3rd baseman on the next good Reds team.

    • A

      That would be a huge step in righting the ship, but I will believe it when I see it.

    • doofus

      This seems too much like Lucy teeing up the football again for Red’s fans. I do not believe what the Reds leak to John Heyman.

    • TheCoastMan

      How embarrassing. The salary dump backlash has been pretty massive with fans as well as local and national media outlets hence the Minor signing and feigning interest in Castellanos.

    • LDS

      Votto4Life, couldn’t agree more. It’s propaganda attempting to mitigate the abundant bad press. Less than a week ago, Krall said there had been no contact. My guess is there still hasn’t been. They just think their fans are gullible and sadly they may be right. I’d like to be wrong, but I’d bet money I’m not.

    • Bill J

      Could this be because of the Hal McCoy story of the woman who charged the Reds with Fraud to credit on the Reds tickets she purchased and Capitol Credit Card agreed with her.

  1. Klugo

    I dont believe it. Not for one second.

    • scotly50

      I don’t believe it either. Bryant was the player the Reds should have targeted, even over Nick, had they been serious about winning.

    • LuciusRuber

      Agreed. Why would Nick come back to this mess?

  2. old-school

    Nick Senzel starting in CF and hitting 5th. Thats a good sign.

    • Chris Holbert

      and Farmer batting 3rd and playing SS….

      • LDS

        Which isn’t a good sign. But it’s the first game. Maybe Bell will get it together. Nah, I’m kidding. That’s not going to happen.

      • Vitto4life

        Kyle Farmer is going to be the SS of this team come hell or high water. Krall and Bell think they have found an inefficiency in the market with Farmer. I don’t get it either, but if Barrero plays at all this year in Cincinnati, it will be in the outfield.

  3. redsfan4040

    Somethings gotta give, roster wise, already. Even if they don’t sign Castellanos which I simply can’t see as very likely. Castellanos would just add to the chaos.

    But right now, they’ve got Stephenson, catcher #2, Votto, Moose, India, Farmer, Solano, Moran, Naquin, Senzel, Fraley almost guaranteed to be penciled in on OD. That leaves 2 spots for Barrero, Schrock, Akiyama, Aquino, Lopez, Friedl, any NRI they like.

    So why not add to the mayhem and sign Castellanos?

    • west larry

      I don’t think that they would/could outbid the Phillies for Castellanos. I’d love him back in the red’s everyday lineout, but I am not buying it for a second.

    • Votto4life

      The Reds have an embarrassment of riches LoL

  4. redsfan4040

    Also, Packy Naughton DFA’d by Angels to make room for Archie Bradley. Had a rough year last year, but, the Reds need left handed arms. Could see them claiming him and having him report to AAA.

    • MuddyCleats

      Justin wilson is only LH in the pen right now. Could Sanmartin be another?

  5. RedBB

    I was saying no way when ppl were projecting a 5 yr $100M for Castellanos. First of all his D is bad and second teams don’t want to lose that draft pick. Those 2 things severely hampered his signability,

    I would consider offering him back his previous contract plus a million a year and a guaranteed third year with a 4th year option. But not more…

  6. Old Big Ed

    The Reds may just be faking it, to ensure that the Phillies sign Castellanos to a $50+ million deal, thereby ensuring that the Reds get the compensatory pick after the first round in the draft.

    That is a fairly valuable asset, as the Reds got Jay Allen last year, upon the loss of Trevor Bauer to the Dodgers. (Not that the Dodgers will end up having to pay Bauer $50 million, which is TBD.)

    Signing Castellanos is not impossible; stranger things have happened. We didn’t quit when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor, for example.

    • Votto4life

      Castellanos will easily get a $50 million contract, unless there is something we don’t know.

      • Old Big Ed

        You would think, but the other possible bidders are starting to thin out, so the Phillies might could convince him to take a 1-year offer and go back out again next year. The Reds do need to guard against that possibility, however remote it is.

      • David

        Yes, I think that is the Reds’ strategery. They have no intention of spending the kind of money it would take to get Castellanos. But drive up the price for the Phillies.
        And I think Senzel comes in and plays 3rd base, the position he was always meant to play.
        And the outfield IS a hot mess of nothing.
        Getting Mark Minor was perhaps the most stupid thing in the world, after waiving Wade Miley. Same money, worse pitcher.

  7. RedsGettingBetter

    Oh no, no…I remembered the recent cases of J.T. Realmuto, D. Gregorius and Zack Wheeler where all of them pursued by Phillies and Reds but they were inked in Philadelphia, breaking the Reds fans heart…

    • SultanofSwaff

      Of the top 50 free agents, the Phillies were the only team to grossly overpay the estimates (for Schwarber). Not a good sign I suppose.

  8. realist

    Votto for life is right, Big Bob is probably thinking the negative backlash might hurt his Banana business. He is probably just half heartedly pursuing Castellanos half heartedly in a cynical fashion hoping he won’t sign with the team.

  9. Mark

    I think they should be looking at Tommy Pham for RF if not Castellanos.

    • Votto4life

      I like Tommy Pham too. Not as much as Castellanos but yeah Pham would be better than any outfielder on the current roster. But didn’t Pham has some pretty harsh things to say about Reds fans last season? Probably wouldn’t matter that much I guess.

  10. SultanofSwaff

    Giving Castellanos the Winker and Shogo money makes perfect sense. His prime still lines up with our next competitive window……which could be this year if we get him. Clearing out salary for this signing makes a lot of sense…..especially considering our top OF prospects are 2-3 years away.

    This would certainly change the narrative about ownership lol.

    • Alan Horn

      Good reasoning. Really, you have Winker, Gray, Miley, Barnhart, Lorenzen, Castellanos, Doolittle, Garrett, Givens and Hembree money to play with minus the recent FA signing money and what was added at the ML level in trades which isn’t much.

  11. citizen54

    Please no. Does Moustakas ring a bell?

    • Alan Horn

      He is the one they need to move, but may be the most difficult.

      • David

        Agree. He was overweight last season. Can you lift that guy up? 🙂

  12. Melvin

    Big Bob must have had something good for dinner last night and feeling good today. Better sign Casty today though as Big Bob’s mood could change overnight. :)….honestly given what’s happened chances are slim to none. The Phillies always outbid us. However, as has been noted on here, crazier things have happened. The positive side about that is there’s no one crazier than our Big Bob. 🙂

  13. Magnum 44

    I’m confused why would you trade and release 2 of your 4 top starters? Lol what’s the plan here?

    • JayTheRed

      There is no plan… See how the Reds work they have a huge board of players who are free agents and trade possibilities, and they roll dice on the board and whoever it lands on they try to get. This is what it seems like.

      Big if by some miracle they do sign Castellanos. I’m back on board with the team. Even if our chances of the playoffs would still be pretty low.

  14. Steve

    I’d offer him 2 year $50 mil. I don’t want big contracts on the books beyond 2023 when we shed moose and votto’s contract. In 2024 we Will have most of our prospects up and will have a lot of $ to spend.

    • Votto4life

      It’s a future that never comes…

  15. Old-school

    Jack Flaherty and Alex Reyes are both out indefinitely for the Cardinals with shoulder injuries.

    • JayTheRed

      Ouch… that that is rough for them. I hope the players get a chance to recover but it seems like they are having a rough start to their spring training.

  16. Still a Red

    Lots of cynicism here re: Castellanos and the Reds. I don’t think its the Reds trying to play coy. I do believe it might be Boras contacting the Reds as a way to hike up the Phils offer. That said, the fact Castellanos hasn’t moved yet may mean he’s getting desperate. It sounds like he wants a long term contract, one that takes him to the end of his career. Would he take less money to get the time….maybe. No question he had success hitting in Cincinnati. Never mind his defense….it did not hurt us last year.

    • Optimist

      5 years/100m to the Phillies. With Schwarber, they’ll have a brutal defensive outfield. Reds get the compensatory draft pick. Next . . .

      • Votto4life

        The Reds were never involved. Phillies may finally make the play-offs.

        It’s going to a very long season for our hapless Redlegs and for those of us who will be following them. I really need a better hobby.

  17. Jon

    Reds need an owner and GM that actually care about winning. I tried giving them the benefit of the doubt this week after the Gray/Suarez/Winker trades/salary dumps. I was hoping they’d make it right by using the freed-up money to re-sign Castellanos, but that didn’t happen. Now we may end up with one of the worst outfields in the sport. The Phillies blow past the luxury tax and the Reds won’t even have a $100 million payroll.

  18. Jon

    And once again, the Reds payroll headed into 2020 was almost $150 million. So cheapskate Bob could absolutely have afforded Castellanos and could have even outbid the Phillies’ offer.

  19. Votto4life

    I knew since last July that Nick would not be in a Red’s uniform this season, so I don’t know why am I so bummed out about it.

    It’s just really disappointing. Not sure why I care about this team. It’s clear the owner doesn’t care and the incompetence general manager is just happy to have a job.

    I hope the Reds do the decent thing and pick up enough of Joey’s contract that will allow him to get out of this back water town.

    So disappointing.

    • Jon

      It’s absolutely idiotic. The Reds play in the most winnable division in baseball, there are expanded playoffs, yet ownership doesn’t want to try to win. I hope that Votto demands a trade out of here so he can play for a contender.

  20. Jon

    What’s really depressing? The Reds are wasting India and Stephenson now as well. Seeing as how Bob wants to go the “Rays way” and trade players when they start to get expensive, we may only have the two of them for two more years after 2022. Then they’ll get dumped for prospects and the cycle will continue. India’s never going to sign an extension with the Reds with Boras as his agent and with the way they disassembled a team that would have made the playoffs last year under the new CBA expanded playoffs.

  21. Redsvol

    Best remaining outfielders; Tommy Pham, Jorge Solar, Conforto (not likely with draft pick compensation), and to lesser extent Kevin Pillar and Adam Eaton.

    I liked the Eddie Rosario and McCutcheon signings. I think one of the above ends up with us and I wouldn’t be surprised if we also did a minor league signing for one of the even lessor guys still out of work. Will be disappointed if Aquino is on the opening day roster.