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Report: Rangers demoted Keone Kela because of a clubhouse incident

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On Friday, Rangers’ right-hander Keone Kela was assigned to Triple-A Round Rock to start the season. According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the demotion wasn’t because of roster overcrowding or poor performance during camp. Instead, it appeared to stem from an undisclosed incident during one of the Rangers’ “B” games on Wednesday.

Rosenthal’s sources said that Kela exhibited less-than-acceptable behavior during the game, which provoked “a series of heated discussions” among veteran players on the team. The team has not elaborated on the events that led to Kela’s demotion, nor have they released a timetable during which the reliever will return to the major league roster. They did, however, mention that the incident has no bearing on the right-hander’s trade value should interested teams make any offers this season.

Kela, 23, is hoping to make a full comeback after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow to remove bone spurs last year. He pitched to a 6.09 ERA in 2016, going 34 innings with 4.5 BB/9 and 11.9 SO/9. When healthy, he earned a more respectable 2.39 ERA, 2.7 BB/9 and 10.1 SO/9 in his debut season with the Rangers in 2015. Wednesday’s debacle wasn’t the first heated run-in he’s had while on the team, though it appears to be the first one that has merited a significant penalty.

Club GM Jon Daniels spoke to the press following Kela’s assignment on Friday, explaining that the team was taking some time to address their clubhouse culture. “It doesn’t change how we feel about [Kela], short- , medium- and long-term,” Daniels said. “I have a lot of faith in him as a pitcher and a young man, and hopefully he’ll be back with us at some point going forward.”

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.