Reds payroll likely to be down slightly from last season

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After signing Ryan Ludwick last week the Reds more or less have their roster set, with John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer speculating that the one last move they might make is adding a veteran utility man like Ryan Theriot.

Fay crunched the numbers to find that Cincinnati’s current payroll will be around $76 million even if they lose both pending arbitration cases, which is slightly down from last season’s $80 million mark.

Their most expensive pickup of the offseason is Ryan Madson on a one-year, $8.5 million deal and no one else added this winter is on the books for more than $3.1 million (Sean Marshall).

Last year’s team went just 79-83 on that $80 million payroll, while the 2010 team won the division at 91-71 with a payroll around $72 million.

Reds sign Nicholas Castellanos to a four-year deal

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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.