Eric Chavez is hoping to avoid knee surgery

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Eric Chavez has a knee injury that might normally require surgery, but the 36-year-old is close enough to the end of his career and has gone through enough health problems that he’s decided not to go under the knife.

Instead the Diamondbacks have placed him on the disabled list with what’s officially being called a sprained left knee and Chavez will hope that some rest and rehab will do the trick. Or at least do the trick enough to let him play the second half of the season in a part-time role.

Chavez told Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic that he heard a “small pop” in his knee before the Diamondbacks left for Australia to open the regular season against the Dodgers. It’s been swollen for much of the season and he’s had to get it drained multiple times, so it’s pretty impressive that Chavez has been able to post an .800 OPS in 81 plate appearances.

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.