Third baseman Mike Olt fracturing his right wrist in mid-April is what led to the Cubs calling up Kris Bryant from Triple-A to take over the position on the same day he went on the DL, but now that Olt is healthy again Bryant’s presence means there isn’t room for him in Chicago.
Bryant has thrived as a rookie, hitting .275 with 12 homers and an .859 OPS in 75 games to live up to the hype as baseball’s No. 1 prospect, so the Cubs activated Olt from the disabled list and optioned him to Triple-A.
Olt put up big numbers at Single-A and Double-A to establish himself as a top-100 prospect, but he’s mostly struggled for the past 2-3 seasons and has hit just .158 in 111 games as a big leaguer for the Rangers and Cubs. At age 27 he still has time to get back on track, but Olt needs to go crush Triple-A pitching for a while.
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.