The Athletic’s Brittany Ghiroli reports that the Nationals have signed free agent first baseman Eric Thames to a contract. Ken Rosenthal, also of The Athletic, adds that it’s a one-year, $4 million deal that includes a $4 million mutual option for the 2021 season.
Thames, 33, hit .247/.346/.505 with 25 home runs and 61 RBI across 459 plate appearances for the Brewers last season. Though he played mostly a full season (149 games), missing time only due to a minor hamstring injury late in the season, Thames shared first base with Jesús Aguilar and Yasmani Grandal.
Thames marks the Nationals’ fourth free agent signing in recent days. The club inked reliever Daniel Hudson earlier today while signing infielder Asdrúbal Cabrera on Saturday, as well as infielder Starlin Castro and reliever Will Harris on Friday.
The Nationals are still expected to work something out with franchise icon Ryan Zimmerman, so it is likely Thames finds himself sharing his playing time at first base once again.
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.