There hasn’t been many rumblings linking Nicholas Castellanos to the Cardinals this offseason, though one rival executive suggests to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal (Twitter link) that Castellanos would be a better answer to the Cards’ outfield needs than Marcell Ozuna. We’ve addressed the Castellanos/Ozuna debate ourselves in a recent Free Agent Faceoff, though from the executive’s standpoint, Castellanos is preferable for St. Louis since he isn’t attached to any draft pick compensation. If the Cards were to re-sign Ozuna, they’d miss out on the compensatory draft pick they are slated to receive if he signed elsewhere, since Ozuna rejected the qualifying offer. Signing Castellanos, however, would both upgrade the St. Louis outfield and still leave the Cardinals in line for the extra pick.
On the flip side, the Cards’ apparent lack of interest in Castellanos may signal that they simply prefer Ozuna, who is both a comparable talent and is a more known quantity to the Cardinals’ staff and front office. Recent reports suggest that the Cards, Reds, and Rangers are all still in the mix for Ozuna, while Texas also has some interest in Castellanos, but perhaps only as a first baseman. Along with Josh Donaldson, Castellanos and Ozuna are the headliners of a rapidly-depleted free agent crop as we approach the middle of January, and it will be interesting to see which clubs (perhaps a known suitor or a mystery team) wind up with these big bats.
Some more from around baseball…
- Richard Urena was recently acquired by the Orioles on a waiver claim, though the infielder could have theoretically ended up in the black and orange five years ago, MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko writes. When the Blue Jays considered the possibility of trading prospects to Baltimore as compensation for hiring Dan Duquette out of his contract as the O’s executive VP of baseball operations, Kubatko notes that Urena was one of the names the Jays offered. Talks never went anywhere, however, and Toronto instead hired Mark Shapiro as its new president and CEO in mid-2015. As for Urena, he stands a good chance at winning a bench job in Baltimore, as the Orioles were in need of a backup shortstop option behind Jose Iglesias.
- Another Orioles move could also be on the way, as Kubatko reports that the team is close to adding an experienced catcher. It’s probably safe to assume that this will be a minor league signing, as the Orioles already have a fair amount of catching depth with Chance Sisco, Pedro Severino, and Austin Wynns lined up behind the plate.
- The Mets announced earlier this week that former infielder Reid Brignac will manage the single-A Columbia Fireflies in 2020. This will mark the first managerial or coaching gig for Brignac, who retired in mid-2018 following a 15-year playing career. Brignac appeared in 369 Major League games over parts of nine seasons, suiting up for six different teams but seeing most of his action (256 games) with the Rays from 2008-12. Brignac will have a couple of other familiar names joining him on Columbia’s staff, as Jerome Williams was named the new pitching coach and Mariano Duncan will be the Fireflies’ new hitting coach.