Monday was busy for National League, with two star outfielders changing teams. News broke early in the day that free agent Nicholas Castellanos had agreed to terms with the Cincinnati Reds, then news followed in the afternoon that the Arizona Diamondbacks had acquired outfielder Starling Marte from the Pittsburgh Pirates. With little impact talent remaining on the free agent market, two outfielders moving on the same day is quite a shakeup.
The Reds have been among the most aggressive teams in baseball this winter, adding multiple veteran options in the outfield along with upgrades in their rotation and bullpen. The Reds also added infielder Mike Moustakas early this offseason, signing the former World Series champion to a four-year, $64 million deal. On Monday, the club announced a deal for the exact same terms with Castellanos, though in this case they included opt-outs after the 2020 and 2021 seasons. Many were surprised to see Castellanos receive an offer greater than three years, especially with two opt-outs. The slugger will move into a favorable hitting environment as he looks to continue his torrid 2019 second-half in 2020.
The inevitability of a trade involving Marte was among the worst-kept secrets of the offseason, and finally came to fruition on Monday. The Pirates have been deliberate in seeking out the best return for their underpaid star, and the Diamondbacks finally met their asking price, sending two prospects to Pittsburgh. Right-hander Brennan Malone, a first-round pick in 2019, was sent to the Pirates along with shortstop Liover Peguero.
The Braves landed six players among the Top 101 list released by Baseball Prospectus on Monday. There was little surprise as Cristian Pache topped the list for Braves prospects, with Ian Anderson, Drew Waters, Kyle Muller, Shea Langeliers, and Kyle Wright to follow.
Eric elegantly encapsulates the devastating reality thrust upon everyone in the sports world on Sunday, as global icon Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash. Bryant was among the greatest competitors to ever grace a professional playing field/court, inspiring multiple generations to channel his unyielding passion for greatness. Rest in peace, Kobe, and may your death be a lesson that life is precious and never promised, regardless of circumstances.
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