Cincinnati Reds land free agent slugger Nicholas Castellanos

The Cincinnati Reds have agreed to a 4-year, $64M deal with outfielder Nicholas Castellanos. He starred with the Chicago Cubs in the closing months of 2019.

The Cincinnati Reds have further fortified their 2020 run for the NL Central championship, signing free-agent outfielder Nicholas Castellanos.

The Athletic’s C. Trent Rosecrans reported that Castellanos and the team have agreed on a four-year, $64 million deal that further beefs up a Reds lineup already buttressed this winter by the signings of free agents Mike Moustakas and Shogo Akiyama. They have also added pitcher Wade Miley to a staff that already included Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray, and Trevor Bauer.

Castellanos exploded to free agent prominence last summer following his deadline trade from the Detroit Tigers to the Chicago Cubs. In Chicago, he batted .321 with 16 home runs and 37 extra-base hits in 221 plate appearances, piling up a 1.002 OPS during his time with the Cubs.

In seven seasons with Detroit, he had produced more average numbers including a .274 batting average.

In Cincinnati, Castellanos adds his name to an outfield already featuring Japanese signee Akiyama, along with touted rookie Aristides Aquino and holdovers Nick Senzel, Phillip Ervin, Scott Schebler, and Jesse Winker.

With the signing of Castellanos, some are projecting the Reds as a favorite in the NL Central, a division in which they finished fourth at 75-87 last season. Their big stumbling block was on offense; Cincinnati finished 12th in the league and last in the division in both runs per game, batting average, and OPS.

Castellanos figures to plug into a corner outfield slot, relieving pressure on the development of either Aquino or Winker or both. He joins veteran Joey Votto, Moustakas and homegrown budding star Eugenio Suarez as mid-order cornerstones.

With Miley joining Castillo, Gray, Bauer and Anthony DeSclafani, the rotation already appeared solid.

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Castellanos will be 28 on opening day. Baseball-Reference is projecting him for a .285/.339/.507 slash line in 2020 with 24 home runs in 600 plate appearances.

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