Major League Baseball announced this afternoon that Carlos Carrasco and Josh Donaldson have won the Comeback Player of the Year Awards in the American and National League, respectively.
Usually the Comeback Player of the Year Award goes to someone who had a bad year for some reason and then came back the following year and returned to form. For Carrasco, it was a much quicker comeback — from much more serious a setback — than most winners experience.
Carrasco was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia in early June, missed three months of the 2019 regular season, began his rehab assignment on August 19, and returned to the active Major League roster on September 1, after which he made 11 relief appearances. He capped his year off by winning the Roberto Clemente Award. Not shabby.
Donaldson’s route to the award was a bit more traditional. He was limited to just 52 games in 2018 due to injury but came back in 2019 to hit 37 home runs and 94 RBI with 33 doubles, score 96 runs and draw 100 walks over 155 games for the Braves. He’s now a free agent and, based on his outstanding season, stands poised to sign a multi-year deal with a contender.
The Comeback Player of the Year Award, officially sanctioned by Major League Baseball, is given to one player in each League who has “re-emerged on the field during the season.” The award is voted on by 30 Club beat reporters from MLB.com.
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.