Jeff Passan of ESPN reports that the Twins have agreed to a one-year contract with catcher Alex Avila. The deal is worth $4.25 million.
Avila, who will turn 33 before spring training begins, spent the past two seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Now he returns to the AL Central where he previously played for the Tigers and White Sox.
In 2019 Avila only hit .207 but posted an impressive .353 on-base percentage and a 100 OPS+ in 201 plate appearances while backing up Carson Kelly. His 1.4 WAR in 63 games was better than some seasons he had as a starting catcher.
Which is to say, he’s still pretty solid for a backup. Which is what he’ll be In Minnesota as the caddy for Silver Slugger Award-winner Mitch Garver.
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.