Oakland has wasted little time making moves this offseason, bidding $17 million for the negotiating rights to Japanese pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma, trading Vin Mazzaro and Justin Marks to the Royals for David DeJesus, claiming Edwin Encarnacion off waivers from the Blue Jays, and spending $800,000 to sign 16-year-old prospect Vicmal De La Cruz out of the Dominican Republic.
And now Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes.com reports that the A’s have offered free agent third baseman Adrian Beltre a five-year, $64 million contract.
That may not actually get Beltre signed, as he’s coming off an MVP-caliber season and is reportedly being pursued by a ton of teams, but five years and $64 million is the exact same contract he accepted from the Mariners in his first crack at free agency and the normally budget-conscious A’s coming out of the gates with that type of proposal is certainly surprising.
Oakland was in the mix for Beltre last offseason, but he ended up choosing a one-year, $10 million deal from Boston in the hopes of reestablishing his value as an elite player and hitting the open market again. He did just that and now the price tag for Beltre is in a whole different stratosphere.
The Cincinnati Reds have signed outfielder Nicholas Castellanos to a four-year deal worth $64 million. The contract includes opt-outs after both 2020 and 2021, which is certainly good for Castellanos, allowing him to go back out on the market if he has a big year. Odd that the Reds would agree to that, but on an annual basis it’s kind of a bargain for them so you figure that has something to do with it.
With Castellanos in the fold the Reds are going to have a lot of outfielders when they hit Goodyear, Arizona in a couple of weeks, with newcomer Shogo Akiyama, Jesse Winkler, Nick Senzel, Aristides Aquino, Travis Jankowski, Scott Schebler, and Rule 5 draftee Mark Payton already on the roster. Senzel was an infielder before last year, of course, so he could move back to the dirt, perhaps taking over short from Freddy Galvis, who could be dealt. Alternatively, the Reds could trade from their newfound outfield surplus.
Castellanos, however, will have left field to himself. While he’s shaky at best with the glove, he had a breakout year at the plate in 2019, hitting .289/.337/.525 overall (OPS+ 121), but slugging at a blistering .321/.356/.646 pace (OPS+ 151) after being traded from the Tigers to the Cubs. In Chicago — rescued from cavernous Comerica Park — his big doubles power turned into big homer power.
Now that he’ll be playing in hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark one can only imagine the damage he’d do.