Gabe Kapler, eager to change the subject from yesterday’s Phillies collapse and loss, has posted his lineup for tonight’s game against the Braves. The main draw: rookie Scott Kingery will make his big league debut and play third base, batting in the sixth slot against Braves righty Mike Foltynewicz.
The Phillies signed Kingery to a six-year $24 million contract with three team options just before the season started. That allowed them to forego the ritual of keeping him down in the minors for a few weeks to ensure some extra team control and cost savings. As such, their top prospect — who hit a combined .304/.359/.530 with 18 home runs and 29 stolen bases in 603 plate appearances in Double- and Triple-A last year — began the season on the big league roster.
Kingery is naturally a second baseman, but the presence of Cesar Hernandez keeps him off of the keystone. Today he’ll take Maikel Franco‘s place at third, which is where you have to imagine the Phillies’ brass imagine seeing him play most of the time.
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.