Nationals right-hander Doug Fister dealt with elbow problems early in spring training and then, just when he was over them and getting ready to start the season healthy, he suffered a strained lat muscle in yesterday’s game.
William Ladson of MLB.com reports that Fister will be placed on the disabled list to begin the season, which likely means Taylor Jordan and Tanner Roark will both be in the Nationals’ rotation after competing with each other for the fifth-starter gig previously.
Fister was acquired from the Tigers this offseason in a trade that had many people wondering why Detroit gave him up so cheaply, but his spring was filled with setbacks. He started 32 games last season and logged 209 innings with a 3.67 ERA and 159/44 K/BB ratio.
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.