Cincinnati Reds: Marcell Ozuna and Nicholas Castellanos are long shots

Any hopes that Reds Country had about landing Marcell Ozuna or Nicholas Castellanos seem all but gone. Both outfielders will likely sign elsewhere.

With Josh Donaldson off to Minnesota, the best remaining bats are Marcell Ozuna and Nicholas Castellanos. Though both outfielders had been linked to the Cincinnati Reds in the past, it seems unlikely that either players winds up in the Queen City.

We hadn’t heard much on the free agent front of late. It appeared that both Ozuna and Castellanos will be the next names to come off the market after Donaldson agreed to a four-year deal with the Minnesota Twins yesterday. The reported deal is worth $84M with an $8M buyout for a fifth season, guaranteeing the third baseman at least $92M over the life of the contract.

Though Ozuna and Castellanos are not likely to see that same average annual value (AAV) to their names, they’ll be in the ballpark. According to MLB Trade Rumors, Ozuna was predicted before the start of free agency to land a three-year/$45M contract and Castellanos projects to take home a four-year deal worth $58M.

The Texas Rangers have been active lately, signing former Cincinnati Reds third baseman Todd Frazier to a one-year deal. The Rangers have been linked to both Ozuna and Castellanos in the past, but according to Jon Morosi of MLB Network, the former Cubs right fielder has the best chance between the two of calling Arlington home.

Ozuna has been linked to the Reds division rival, the St. Louis Cardinals. The right-handed slugger spent the past two seasons in the Gateway City, and while Cincinnati was rumored to be among the frontrunners for Ozuna’s services, those rumors have cooled of late.

The Cincinnati Reds added Japanese outfielder Shogo Akiyama to the squad just last week, leading many fans to speculate that the front office may be done with free agent additions. Akiyama’s deal was for three-years with an AAV of $7M, and the Reds payroll currently sits around $124M for 2020.

Next: Arenado to STL would hasten the Reds trade pursuits

While one more impact bat would really put the Reds over the top, unless St. Louis makes a deal for Nolan Arenado, I think it’s a bit unlikely. The Reds outfield is crowded as it is, and any addition would require a trade to be made. Don’t count Cincinnati out of a pursuit of an upgrade at shortstop, however, as the team has been linked to both Francisco Lindor and Corey Seager.