Paul Goldschmidt
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Paul Goldschmidt hits three homers for Cardinals

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There’s no question that Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt deserves every penny of the five-year, $130 million extension he signed with St. Louis last week. Still, it certainly didn’t hurt that he followed up a hitless debut on Opening Day with four hits — including three home runs — when he faced the Brewers for Game 2 on Friday.

Goldschmidt wasted little time getting the Cardinals on the board in the first inning. Matt Carpenter drew a leadoff walk from Milwaukee right-hander Freddy Peralta, followed by a 10-pitch at-bat from Goldschmidt that eventually resulted in a two-RBI home run — his first-ever homer for the club.

The Brewers kept pace through the first five innings, answering the home run (and Yadier Molina‘s RBI double) with a Ryan Braun three-run dinger in the third. Brewers righty Taylor Williams took the mound at the top of the sixth inning, but was quickly foiled by Goldschmidt as well: this time with a 106-m.p.h., 415-foot solo shot that gave the Cardinals a 5-4 advantage.

The Brewers barely had time to catch their breath before Goldschmidt stepped up to bat again. Following a fruitless sixth inning, Milwaukee turned to right-hander Jacob Barnes to get the job down in the seventh. He surrendered a leadoff single to Kolten Wong, then induced a fly out from Harrison Bader and punched out José Martínez on a full count. Things started to unravel with Matt Carpenter’s run-scoring single, however, and came completely undone as Goldschmidt unloaded his third home run of the night, a 406-footer that tilted the score 8-4 in the Cardinals’ favor.

While it looked as though Goldschmidt might have gotten a shot at a fourth home run — making him the 19th MLB player to record the feat, and the second since J.D. Martinez to do so off of four different pitchers in one game — he was denied the opportunity after getting intentionally walked in the ninth. Still, he managed to make some pretty cool history even so: according to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi, he’s just the sixth player since 1919 to deliver a three-homer performance within the first two games of the season.

Reds sign Nicholas Castellanos to a four-year deal

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The Cincinnati Reds have signed outfielder Nicholas Castellanos to a four-year deal worth $64 million. The contract includes opt-outs after both 2020 and 2021, which is certainly good for Castellanos, allowing him to go back out on the market if he has a big year. Odd that the Reds would agree to that, but on an annual basis it’s kind of a bargain for them so you figure that has something to do with it.

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.