Twins option Danny Santana to Triple-A, recall Kennys Vargas

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The Twins have optioned shortstop Danny Santana to Triple-A Rochester and recalled DH Kennys Vargas, MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger reports. Eduardo Escobar will take over regular duties at shortstop.

Santana, 24, finished seventh in American League Rookie of the Year balloting last season, but was unable to gain any traction this year. He entered Sunday’s action batting .217/.235/.291 with no home runs and 11 RBI in 184 plate appearances. He finished 1-for-4 in Sunday’s win against the Brewers.

Vargas, 24, had some struggles of his own, resulting in a demotion to Triple-A in mid-May. He was hitting a meager .248/.295/.362 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 112 PA. It appears he may have figured things out, as he was crushing minor league pitching, posting a .965 OPS with three home runs in 58 PA.

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.