Marlon Byrd homered in his first minor-league rehab game at Double-A, so the Reds have decided to activate the veteran outfielder from the disabled list after just two weeks on the sidelines with a small fracture in his right wrist.
His overall numbers this season aren’t pretty thanks to a brutal start that saw him hit .169 in April, but Byrd batted .250 with eight homers and a .953 OPS in 26 games from May 1 through his going on the DL.
Philadelphia paid half of his $8 million salary to move Byrd in an offseason trade and the injury makes it unlikely that he’ll reach the plate appearances necessary to trigger next season’s $8 million option, potentially making the 37-year-old a trade target for contenders if he continues hitting for good power.
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.