Rockies and Reds discuss Huston Street-for-Edinson Volquez deal

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The Rockies might have less of a sense of urgency to get a deal done after acquiring Kevin Slowey from the Twins, but Troy Renck of the Denver Post reported this morning that they have had discussions about a possible deal that would send Huston Street to the Reds for Edinson Volquez.

Street has a solid 3.50 ERA and 170/33 K/BB ratio in 167 innings over three seasons with Colorado, but he’s on the trading block now that Rafael Betancourt has established himself as the closer. The 28-year-old right-hander is due a reasonable $7.5 million salary in 2012 and his contract includes a $9 million mutual option or $500,000 buyout for 2013, so he makes sense for a lot of teams, even with a number of free agent closer-types available. The Reds are currently on the market for a closer after declining Francisco Cordero’s $12 million option in late-October.

As for Volquez, he’s coming off a nightmare season in which he posted a 5.71 ERA and 104/65 K/BB ratio over 108 2/3 innings at the big league level. Still, he’s barely two years removed from Tommy John surgery and is only due a slight raise over the $1.6 million he made in 2011, so he’s an ideal buy-low target for a number of clubs.

There’s a pretty large gap in the salaries of the two players, so Renck notes that the Rockies would likely have to sweeten the deal by covering some of Street’s contract and/or including a prospect.

Reds are the frontrunner for Nicholas Castellanos

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Jon Morosi of MLB.com reports that the Reds “have emerged as the frontrunner” to sign free agent outfielder Nicholas Castellanos. Morosi says the Reds and Castellanos “have made progress over the past several days.”

The Reds were going to have a lot of outfielders already 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. Senzel was an infielder before last year, of course, so he could move back to the dirt, perhaps. And, of course, the Reds could trade from their outfield surplus if, indeed, they end up with an outfield surplus.

Without question, however, Castellanos would be the big dog, at least offensively, in that setup. 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. If he were to sign to play half his season in hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark one can only imagine the damage he’d do.