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Report: Nick Castellanos Opts out of Final 2 Years, $32m Remaining in Reds Contract

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVNovember 4, 2021

AP Photo/Aaron Doster

One of Major League Baseball's best players during the 2021 season could be on the move.

Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported Thursday that right fielder Nick Castellanos opted out of his contract with the Cincinnati Reds, which was set to pay him $32 million over the next two years.

This isn't particularly surprising, as Heyman noted in August that Castellanos was "likely" to do so and become a free agent.

Perhaps the Reds could have traded him prior to the deadline this season to avoid potentially losing him for nothing, but they remained in playoff contention until a late collapse in large part because of his presence in the lineup.

Castellanos surely elected to opt out of his contract because he largely outplayed the amount of money he was set to make.

He slashed .309/.362/.576 with 34 home runs, 38 doubles and 100 RBI while making his first career All-Star Game in 2021. He has power to all fields, can drive the ball in the gap and hits for average as someone who can carry a lineup for extended stretches.

Cincinnati was the third stop of Castellanos' career after he played for the Detroit Tigers from 2013 until the middle of the 2019 campaign when they traded him to the Chicago Cubs.

He launched 23 or more home runs in three straight years from 2017 through 2019 and even led the league with 10 triples in the first season of that stretch. He has been a player who hits for average and power during his prime and will remain in that prime for the immediate future at 29 years old.

Castellanos figures to be one of the most highly sought-after free agents this offseason given his age and recent production, and the Reds may have to compete with a number of big-market teams if they hope to re-sign him on a more lucrative deal than he opted out of Thursday.

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