The Mariners have been without Michael Saunders since July 10, but he has been activated from the disabled list and will start in right field tonight against the Astros.
Saunders originally landed on the disabled list with a left oblique strain, but his return was delayed due to a viral infection. He was pulled off a minor league rehab assignment and reportedly lost about 12 pounds as a result, but he’s now back to 100 percent and will attempt to help the Mariners make their first playoff appearance since 2001.
Saunders, 27, is batting .276/.327/.434 with six home runs and 28 RBI over 65 games this season.
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.