As we count down the final days before pitchers and catchers report to their respective complexes in Florida and Arizona, teams are currently trying to put the finishing touches on their rosters. The Rangers and Indians are two examples of this, as FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that both clubs have interest in free agent infielder Ryan Theriot.
Theriot batted .270/.316/.321 with zero homers, 28 RBI and a .637 OPS for the World Champion Giants last season while playing almost exclusively at second base. The 33-year-old mostly functioned as a backup after the Giants acquired Marco Scutaro from the Rockies in July.
Theriot’s starting days are likely behind him, but he wouldn’t be asked to be anything more than middle infield depth in Texas or Cleveland. It’s worth noting that he was also on the Cardinals in 2011 when they won the World Series, so he may have replaced Eric Hinske as baseball’s human good luck charm.
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.