Ken Rosenthal reports that the Milwaukee Brewers are close to acquiring catcher Omar Narváez from the Mariners in a trade. The deal is not yet done, but Rosenthal says that Seattle will receive at least one minor leaguer in exchange.
Narváez, who will turn 28 just before pitchers and catchers report, would fill the hole left by the departure of Yasmani Grandal. At least on offense, that is, as Narváez hit a pretty sweet .278/.353/.460 (120 OPS+) with 22 homers in 132 games last season. The year before, in 97 games, he posted an OPS+ of 119 and he has been an above average offensive catcher for his entire four-season big league career.
He is a pretty dang limited defensive catcher, however, and that may be putting it kindly. He’s below average in throwing out baserunners, allows a lot of passed balls and wild pitches — which, despite being charged to the pitcher are quite often the fault of the catcher as well — and he has poor pitch-blocking and pitch-framing numbers. There’s a reason he appeared as a DH in 22 games last year.
Still, given that the Brewers’ current catching depth chart is 1. Manny Piña; and 2. No one, it’s a pretty decent pickup for Milwaukee.
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.