NEW YORK — Free-agent slugger Nick Castellanos and the Philadelphia Phillies have agreed to a five-year, $100 million contract, according to a person familiar with the negotiations.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal was subject to a successful physical.
It was the second big free-agent splash this week for the Phillies, who are beefing up their lineup to compete with the busy Braves and Mets in the NL East. Kyle Schwarber agreed to a four-year contract worth about $80 million, a deal that also was pending a successful physical.
Castellanos batted .309 with 34 homers, 100 RBIs and a .939 OPS last year for the Cincinnati Reds, making his first All-Star team and winning a Silver Slugger Award. He is a .278 career hitter with 168 home runs, 594 RBIs and an .814 OPS in nine major league seasons with the Detroit Tigers, Chicago Cubs and Reds.
With the Phillies in need of a left fielder, Harper recently pressed the team to bring in a big bat, saying it would be a “downer” if the club did not sign Castellanos, Schwarber or Kris Bryant.
“Nicky, I really enjoy him as a player, a good left fielder. He’d be a great middle-of-the-order bat for us,” Harper said.
Turns out, the only one of those three the Phillies didn’t lure was Bryant, who was introduced at Rockies camp after signing a seven-year, $182 million contract with Colorado.
The Phillies finished 82-80 last season, their first winning record since 2011, but extended their postseason drought to an NL-worst 10 years.
“There’s definitely a couple of guys out there that a lot of guys in this clubhouse would like to see come in and kind of give us a sense of, we’re here to win it and we have an opportunity to do that,” Harper said.
“We definitely need somebody who gives us the best chance to win. When you get a caliber player like that, it raises the energy in the clubhouse that much more, knowing your team is behind you, your organization is behind you and it gives you the best chance to win each night out there.”
Phillies President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski was president and general manager of the Tigers when they drafted Castellanos in 2010 and he debuted with Detroit in 2013.
Back in November, Castellanos opted out of the last two years of his contract with Cincinnati, which would have paid him $34 million. He was given an $18.4 million qualifying offer by the Reds and turned it down, so Cincinnati will receive a high draft pick this year as compensation for Castellanos leaving as a free agent.
Since the Major League Baseball lockout ended, the Phillies have signed free-agent relievers Brad Hand and Jeurys Familia, each to a one-year deal for $6 million. They also brought back outfielder Odubel Herrera on a one-year contract.
Before the lockout, the Phillies signed Corey Knebel to be their closer.
In another move involving the Phillies, the team lost right-hander Yoan Lopez when he was claimed off waivers by the Miami Marlins.