It’s official: Colby Rasmus is the first player to accept a qualifying offer

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The possibility of this was first reported last night but now it’s official: Astros outfielder Colby Rasmus is the first player to accept a qualifying offer. He’ll be paid $15.8 million next season and cannot be traded without his consent before June 15 of next year. Before this year all 34 players who had previously received qualifying offers over the past three offseasons rejected them.

Twenty players received qualifying offers last week. Free agents have until 5 p.m. ET this afternoon to accept or decline their qualifying offers. You can view the complete list of QO-attached players here.

Rasmus, 29, hit 25 home runs and posted a .789 OPS over 137 games in 2015. That’s pretty good, but in an offseason with a pretty crowded free agent market for outfielders, he no doubt figured $15.8 million in hand was worth more than whatever he and his agent could find in the bush. And maybe he just liked playing in Houston, which is the first stop in his career where he appears to be well-liked by team brass and his teammates. That has to count for something.

Reds sign Nicholas Castellanos to a four-year deal

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The Cincinnati Reds have signed outfielder Nicholas Castellanos to a multi-year deal. That’s the report from C. Trent Rosecrans and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. Jon Morosi of MLB.com was the first to report the Reds as frontrunners. The deal is pending a physical. UPDATE: The deal is four years. Financial terms have yet to be reported.

With Castellanos in the fold the Reds are going to have a lot of outfielders 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 already on the roster. Senzel was an infielder before last year, of course, so he could move back to the dirt, perhaps taking over short from Freddy Galvis, who could be dealt. Alternatively, the Reds could trade from their newfound outfield surplus.

Castellanos, however, will have left field to himself. While he’s shaky at best with the glove, 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.

Now that he’ll be playing in hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark one can only imagine the damage he’d do.