Nick Castellanos Rumors: Padres Interested in All-Star OF in 2021 MLB Free Agency

Doric SamDecember 2, 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

The market for free-agent outfielder Nick Castellanos is reportedly taking shape.

MLB insider Bob Nightengale of USA Today said Wednesday that the San Diego Padres are interested in pursuing Castellanos, though he noted that nothing is imminent ahead of the impending MLB lockout. Padres beat reporter Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune also stated that San Diego is hoping to acquire a "big-time outfielder."

Castellanos spent the 2021 season with the Cincinnati Reds and put up some of the best numbers of his nine-year career. The 29-year-old recorded career highs in batting average (.309), home runs (34) and wins above replacement (3.2) while adding 100 RBI. He earned his first selection to the All-Star Game and his first Silver Slugger award.

Castellanos was set to make a guaranteed $34 million over the next two seasons, but he chose to opt out of the final two years of his contract. The Reds gave him an $18.4 million qualifying offer, but he declined it to test the open market.

The Padres finished the 2021 season with a 79-83 record and failed to make the playoffs. San Diego's team offense was average last year, ranking 17th in batting average (.242) and 23rd in home runs (180). The power bat of Castellanos would be a good fit in the middle of the Padres' lineup.

San Diego already has a solid core of outfielders with Wil Myers, Jurickson Profar and Trent Grisham. With the expected implementation of the universal designated hitter, the potential addition of Castellanos would give the Padres some much-needed depth.

MLB and the MLBPA have until 11:59 p.m. ET on Wednesday to agree on a new collective bargaining agreement to avoid a lockout.