MLB Rumors: Latest Buzz on Nick Castellanos, Mets' Front Office Search, Padres

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistOctober 22, 2021

MLB Rumors: Latest Buzz on Nick Castellanos, Mets' Front Office Search, Padres

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    Jeff Dean/Associated Press

    The 2021 MLB postseason continues. On Thursday night, the Los Angeles Dodgers got a critical 11-2 win over the Atlanta Braves to keep their series going (Atlanta leads 3-2). Meanwhile, the Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros are set to play Friday in a game that could send the latter to the World Series.

    While these teams remain alive in the playoffs, the rest of Major League Baseball has largely turned its attention to the coming offseason. Players and teams are pondering the free-agent and trade markets, and some franchises are in the process of assembling their front offices for 2022.

    Here we'll dive into some of the latest MLB offseason buzz.

Nick Castellanos Planning to Opt Out

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    Jeff Dean/Associated Press

    Two years ago, outfielder Nick Castellanos signed a four-year, $64 million deal with the Cincinnati Reds. The contract included player opt-outs after each of the first two years, meaning Castellanos has a chance to hit the market this offseason.

    According to Jon Heyman of MLB Network, Castellanos will reach free agency.

    "Nick Castellanos will obviously opt out of his deal with $34M and two years to go," Heyman tweeted. "Still only 29, he posted a .939 OPS for the Reds this year. The Reds do have interest in retaining him following his All-Star season."

    Castellanos, a 2010 draft pick of the Detroit Tigers, made his first All-Star appearance in 2021. He should be a popular target in free agency after hitting .309 with 34 home runs and 94 runs scored this season. Retaining him should also be a priority for Cincinnati.

    While the Reds didn't make the postseason this year, they did post a winning campaign (83-79), finishing third in the NL Central.

Sandy Alderson Could Be Hindering Front Office Search

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    Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

    The New York Mets' search for a new president of baseball operations goes on. Two early candidates were Billy Beane of the Oakland Athletics and David Stearns of the Milwaukee Brewers. New York was denied permission to interview Stearns, and Beane withdrew his name from consideration.

    SNY's Andy Martino recently reported that the Mets are now considering alternatives.

    "[S]ources suggest that the Mets could pivot to a search for a young general manager-type who could assume the GM title in New York, or—if necessary to get permission to hire that person—president of baseball operations," Martino wrote.

    However, the presence of team president Sandy Alderson could be hindering the team's search. According to Brittany Ghiroli of The Athletic, Alderson and his son, Bryn—who was promoted to assistant general manager over the summer—are problematic pieces in the power structure:

    "Sandy Alderson has said his preference would be to transition fully to the business side. But there is skepticism within the industry that it would even be feasible, and some in the game have pointed out that Bryn is now in a high-ranking position on the baseball side regardless. The dynamic of having a high-powered father-son duo is a potentially concerning component for any new front-office hire, one that sources say has adversely come into play before in the Mets’ current organizational structure."

    Presumably, seasoned executives like Beane and Stearns would want total control in New York, and with Alderson's presence looming over the franchise, there's no guarantee that they could get it.

Padres Eying in Mike Shildt

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    Kyusung Gong/Associated Press

    Mike Shildt's departure from the St. Louis Cardinals was unexpected, but it seems that a philosophical difference between him and president of baseball operations John Mozeliak caused the split.

    "A source described one of the biggest differences between management and the front office came over the implementation of analytics, something Mozeliak and the front office wanted to push further, but something Shildt wasn't eager to do," The Athletic's Katie Woo wrote.

    While Mozeliak and Shildt didn't see eye to eye, Shildt is likely to find a new home sooner rather than later. According to Dennis Lin and Britt Ghiroli of The Athletic, the San Diego Padres are expected to pursue Shildt for their opening.

    "The Padres are expected to interview Mike Shildt for their managerial opening, sources tell Britt Ghiroli and me," Lin tweeted. "Shildt, who was fired by the Cardinals on Thursday, oversaw three playoff trips in four seasons as St. Louis' manager."

    Shildt helped lead St. Louis to a 90-72 record this season. While the Cardinals bowed out in the Wild Card Round, the team's playoff push will have attracted teams seeking a new manager.

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