Ken Rosenthal reports that the Washington Nationals have signed free agent infielder Starlin Castro. The deal is pending a physical. It’s reportedly for two years and $12 million.
Castro has played for the Marlins for the past two seasons where he has put up a combined line of .274/.314/.418 with 34 homers. The guy is always in the lineup, having played in all 162 games in 2019 and 154 the year before. He’s solid and dependable, even if you can’t really expect more than what he’s provided over the course of his career.
The plan, it seems, will be to play Castro at second base on a regular basis. At the moment the Nats’ depth chart has Howie Kendrick at first base, though there’s still speculation that Washington will bring Ryan Zimmerman back. Carter Kieboom is still there, obviously, and Rosenthal says that signing Castro does not take them out of the Josh Donaldson sweepstakes.
Which is to say that there are still a lot of moving parts in the Nats’ infield. If nothing else, Dave Martinez is going to have some options.
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.