The New York Yankees have signed catcher Chris Iannetta to a minor league deal.
Ianetta, who will turn 37 just after opening day, spent the past two years — and the first six years of his career — with the Colorado Rockies. He was a backup, playing in 52 games in 2019, and is going to be competing for a backup job with the Yankees as well. At one time Iannetta was a decent offensive catcher. He has hit a combined .223/.335/.395 (82 OPS+) in 162 games over the past two years, however.
It would seem that either Kyle Higashioka or Erik Kratz would have a better shot of being Gary Sánchez’s backup but, if nothing else, Iannetta will be given a shot to showcase himself for other teams while getting work in down in Tampa this spring.
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.