Reds rumors: Nicholas Castellanos is on the Cincinnati Reds radar

With the Cincinnati Reds looking to upgrade their offense, it should come as no surprise that the latest Reds rumors have the team targeting Nicholas Castellanos.

According to Jon Morosi of MLB Network, the Cincinnati Reds are interested in both Nicholas Castellanos and Marcell Ozuna. Fans had seen Ozuna’s name in previous Reds rumors, but this is the first time that Castellanos’ name has made an appearance. The right-handed slugger would certainly upgrade the Reds offense heading into next season.

With the corner outfield spots a giant question mark heading into next season, it’s no surprise that Castellanos is among the handful of names the Reds are investigating this offseason. The 27-year-old spent last season split between the Detroit Tigers and Chicago Cubs, hitting .289 with 27 home runs and 73 RBIs.

Ozuna’s slash line last season was .241/.328/.472. The 28-year-old also had 29 homers and 89 RBIs in 130 games for the St. Louis Cardinals last season. Ozuna and Castellanos are the cream of the crop when it comes to free agent outfielders this winter.

The Cincinnati Reds current outfield in in flux. Nick Senzel is coming off shoulder surgery, and many fans even question if he’ll be the centerfielder next season. Aristides Aquino had an unbelievable rookie performance in August, but fell off dramatically during the month of September. Jesse Winker has finished the past two seasons on the injured list.

Beyond those three players, Cincinnati doesn’t have much in the way of major league-ready talent in the farm system. Jose Siri will likely get a long look this spring. His defense is elite, but his offensive ineptitude is cause for concern. Josh VanMeter and Phillip Ervin are also options, but are viewed more as reserve outfielders rather than starters.

Adding Nicholas Castellanos would certainly cost the Reds a pretty penny. MLB Trade Rumors predicts the Florida native to haul in a four-year deal worth $58M. That’s an average annual value of $14.5M. While that seems like a steep price tag, that’s what it’s going to take to land a player like Castellanos.

Castellanos doesn’t offer much in the way of defense. While the former third baseman has a career-fielding percentage of .990 while playing right field, his -35 defensive runs saved (DRS) leave a lot to the imagination. For comparison’s sake, last year’s trade acquisition Yasiel Puig has 40 DRS over his major league career and Aquino had 3 DRS in just two months of action.

These latest Reds rumors are certainly worth keeping an eye on. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire, and with the hot stove ablaze, it’s a good bet that Cincinnati will be keeping tabs on the best free agent outfielders available this winter.