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.
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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.