Robert Murray reports that the Nationals and outfielder Michael A. Taylor have avoided arbitration on Thursday, agreeing on a one-year, $3.325 million contract for the 2020 season. The deal includes $25,000 in performance bonuses, awarded if he reaches 300 plate appearances this season.
Taylor, 28, did not perform well during the regular season, batting .250/.305/.364 in 97 plate appearances. He was demoted to Double-A Harrisburg in late June and returned in September. Taylor, however, filled in for Victor Robles in the postseason and managed seven hits, including a pair of homers, in 23 trips to the plate en route to a championship.
With all three starting outfield jobs spoken for by Robles, Juan Soto, and Adam Eaton, Taylor appears ticketed to be the Nationals’ fourth outfielder to begin the 2020 season.
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.