Quote of the Day: some NL exec would start a team with Adam Jones over Mike Trout

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Assignment to reporters in Arizona: find the source of this anonymous quote in MLB.com’s Lyle Spencer’s story.

The story: asking various executives which player they would choose to build a team around. Most execs chose Mike Trout or Clayton Kershaw, which makes sense. Some chose Andrew McCutchen, which, sure, why not? Others went with young prospects or decided that it was most important to build around certain positions like shortstop or catcher. Which also makes sense. Indeed, it’s hard to truly criticize almost any of the choices here given the hypothetical nature of this exercise and the various ways there are to build a railroad.

But there is one exec — a general manager no less! — who made a choice and a justification therefor which is impossible to get one’s head around:

“Adam Jones is a five-tool guy who comes to beat you every day and is a great leader,” an NL GM said of the Orioles’ center fielder. “I love Trout, but I just love Jones a little more.”

Like I said: picking a pitcher or a catcher or a shortstop or a young prospect over Mike Trout in this exercise is totally defensible. But to decide that you want an MLB center fielder and then not only go with Jones over Trout but to do so on the basis of a head-to-head comparison between the two and a justification of Jones being a “five-tool guy” with, more or less, the will-to-win is a pretty special thing. Especially for a general manager.

Spencer said he did this out in Arizona. The NL GMs in Arizona are, as follows: Dave Stewart of the Dbacks, Jed Hoyer of the Cubs, Walt Jocketty of the Reds, Jeff Bridich of the Rockies, Farhan Zaidi of the Dodgers, Doug Melvin of the Brewers, A.J. Preller of the Padres and Brian Sabean of the Giants. Fans of one of those teams: I am sorry.

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.