Free agent first baseman Chris Carter has been linked to the Orioles and Rangers, per agent Dave Stewart’s comments to Jim Bowden and Jim Duquette of MLB Network. Stewart has discussed his client with at least four teams since the beginning of the year, with the Athletics being the only notable exception so far.
Carter, 30, set a few personal records in 2016, batting .222/.321/.499 with a career-high 41 home runs and 27 doubles in his first season with the Brewers. He was non-tendered by the team in November, and has struggled to find a landing spot with other power-hitting first basemen still on the market.
Neither the Orioles nor the Rangers have Carter pegged as their first choice, as Baltimore is reportedly pursuing Mark Trumbo and Texas has its eye on Mike Napoli. Should either of those deals fail to come to fruition in the next couple of months, however, Carter could be a viable candidate for either team. For now, Stewart says, he doesn’t anticipate a quick signing process for Carter in the week to come (via FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman).
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.