Craig Kimbrel
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Report: Craig Kimbrel lowers asking price

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Free agent closer Craig Kimbrel may be willing to budge on his asking price after all, according to a report from The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal on Saturday. Rosenthal revealed that Kimbrel is still seeking “a deal he believes to be fair,” one that might fall somewhere between the three-year, $39 million deal Zack Britton took with the Yankees this winter and the three-year, $52 million contract Wade Davis signed with the Rockies back in 2017.

Those figures are noted departures from the five-year, $100 million agreement Kimbrel and his agent, Dave Meter, were reportedly pursuing last month. They’ve supposedly received several legitimate offers from teams over the last few months, but nothing that appears to approach what Kimbrel might consider to be fair. And even if Kimbrel and Meter are willing to make this big of a concession, it’s not as if teams are lining up to sign the closer these days — no matter how much they might need him to bolster the back end of their bullpen.

As we’ve said here before, it would be a shame to see the 2019 season pass Kimbrel by. The former Red Sox hurler is a remarkable talent, as proven by his annual sub-3.00 ERA, lifetime 18.0 fWAR, ridiculous strikeout percentages, and seven All-Star nominations. It wasn’t long ago that he was in the running for a Cy Young Award, too. But, while his asking price may no longer be exorbitant, it’s unclear just how much playing time he’ll be willing to sacrifice in order to hold out for the multi-year deal he deserves.

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.