MLB Rumors: Cincinnati Reds Interested in Retaining Nick Castellanos

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVOctober 20, 2021

Cincinnati Reds' Nick Castellanos watches as he hits a sacrifice fly during the first inning of a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Cincinnati, Monday, Sept. 27, 2021. (AP Photo/Aaron Doster)
AP Photo/Aaron Doster

Outfielder Nick Castellanos "will obviously" opt out of the final two years of his contract with the Cincinnati Reds and hit free agency, per Jon Heyman of MLB Network.

Castellanos has at least $34 million remaining on his deal, including a $16 million salary in both 2022 and 2023 as well as a mutual option in 2024 that features a $2 million buyout. The Reds have "interest in retaining him," per Heyman, but it would likely take a larger deal to keep him under team control.

The 29-year-old earned his first career All-Star selection in 2021 while producing a .309 batting average, 34 home runs and a .939 OPS, all career highs in his ninth major league season.

Castellanos led the Reds with 100 RBI and helped key an offense that ranked second in the National League in batting average and fourth in runs scored.

It's enough for the outfielder to likely opt out of his initial four-year, $64 million deal after just two seasons. He also had an opportunity to opt out after the 2020 season, per Spotrac, although he struggled to a .225 average with 14 home runs in 60 games.

The veteran has proved himself as a quality hitter in the past, hitting 104 home runs across seven seasons with the Detroit Tigers. He was arguably at his best in 2019 after a midseason trade to the Chicago Cubs, exploding for a .321 average with 16 home runs in just 51 games.

There would still be question marks for any interested teams, however, most notably on defense.

Castellanos finished 2021 with negative-seven defensive runs saved, per FanGraphs. He is responsible for 93 runs lost during his career, including 48 in the outfield and 45 at third base.

Assuming he opts out, It might take a move to designated hitter for a team to take advantage of his value at the plate.


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