Reds outfielder Nick Castellanos says he has not made a decision about his ability to opt out of the remainder of his contract this winter. He recently discussed the matter with Mark Sheldon of MLB.com and said, “I don’t know what I want… There is so much information that I’m going to take in. I also have to take into mind the status of the game. The Collective Bargaining Agreement is now coming up. Once I take a step back from the season and have some days at home with my family and I’m able to just hang out with my wife, dog and kid, and we can just talk about what happened and get as much information as I can.”
At this point, it would be incredibly surprising if Castellanos decided not to opt out, given that he’s enjoying the best season of his career. Going into the last day of the campaign, the 29-year-old is currently hitting .308/.360/.574. That all adds up to a wRC+ of 139 and 4.0 wins above replacement, according to FanGraphs. Both of those numbers are well beyond his previous best season of 2018, when his wRC+ was 129 and he was worth 2.9 fWAR. In 2019, he was almost as good, putting up a wRC+ of 122 and 2.8 fWAR.
After those two consecutive excellent campaigns, he signed with the Reds on a four-year, $64MM contract that contained opt-out provisions after both 2020 and 2021. He didn’t use that first opt-out opportunity as last year proved to be a slight down year for him, hitting just .225/.298/.486, wRC+ of 100. But when that shortened season is combined with the full campaign of 2021, his numbers are right in line with his previous production. His 2020-21 slash line is .283/.342/.548, wRC+ of 127.
The contract contains two more guaranteed years, with a salary of $16MM in each of 2022 and 2023. There’s also a $2MM buyout on a $20MM mutual option for 2024, meaning that Castellanos, if he opts out, would be leaving two years and $34MM in guaranteed money on the table in exchange for the open market. If he does, the Reds would certainly extend him a qualifying offer, which will be in the range of $20MM.
Even with that taken into consideration, it seems likely Castellanos could find more money in free agency now as a 29-year-old than he would if he waited until the end of this contract, when he would be 31. For example, Marcell Ozuna has a similar bat-first outfielder profile. He turned down a qualifying offer after a mediocre 2019 season wherein he hit .241/328/.472 for a wRC+ of 110. He was still able to get himself a one-year, $18MM contract with the Braves for his age-29 season. Then he had a tremendous campaign in the shortened 2020 season and parlayed that into a four-year, $65MM contract to return to Atlanta.
However, as Castellanos himself points out, this coming offseason has the added uncertainty of the CBA negotiations. The current Collective Bargaining Agreement between the league and players’ union expires December 1st, which leaves the door open for all kinds of unknown paths for the offseason to take. Perhaps Castellanos would rather not go through all of that while temporarily unemployed, even if that means potentially limiting his overall earning power somewhat. As he himself put it, “You have to balance everything that you possibly can: How much you like where you’re playing, how close it is to home because I’m co-parenting, where the organization is in the spot to compete, and obviously, the financial part of it is important as well. It’s a balance of all of that.”
Fifty Two million doesn’t buy enough BBQ because at the Montgomery Inn anymore?
Montgomery Inn was the #1 BBQ spot in Cincinnati
Best bbq sauce ever as far as I am concerned
Montgomery Inn BBQ sauce is watered down tomatoes, the fact that you can buy it in Kroger tells you all that you should need to know about it. Highly overrated.
Bob Hope’s favorite ribs!
Yeah we will place this BBQ tomato paste along side the other Cincinnati abomination ” Cincinnati Chili” or whatever that wallpaper paste is called locally…..good Grief man – ya All need to up ur game
The Mets "Missed WAR"
Castellanos would be a great fit with the Braves. He could replace Ozuna in left field and if/when Ozuna comes back he should be put in as a DH anyway. Castellanos would make more money and go to a better team. The Braves really need to get their OF situation figured out with Ozuna having his problems, Acuna currently being injured but expected to play next season, and Adam Duvall, Jorge Soler, Eddie Rosario and Joc Pederson all expected to hit the free agent market this off-season. I think the best move would be to retain Duvall on a contract that doesn’t pay him too much and add Castellanos. Let the other outfielders walk. That would give the Braves an outfield of Castellanos, Duvall and Acuna to go along with an infield of d’Arnaud, Swanson, Riley, Albies and Freeman. Can you imagine that lineup? Guys like d’Arnaud, Duvall, Swanson and (if he comes back as a DH) Ozuna would be the worst hitters in your lineup. A #1 pick, an RBI/ Home Run leader and a couple of silver sluggers being the worst 4 hitters in your lineup to combine with Castellanos, Acuna, Riley Albies and Freeman could make that the most well rounded and possibly best lineup in all of baseball. I doubt it will happen because the Braves probably won’t win the Castellanos sweepstakes and Ozuna’s future is so uncertain but it’s fun to consider. Once you consider the Braves will no longer have to pay Rosario, Soler, Pederson, Smyly, Inciarte, Martin, Tomlin and Greene next season it is actually very financially feasible. They could add Castellanos and keep Duvall while still saving money. I’m not sure what the Braves paid Pederson, Rosario and Soler this season but I’m sure it’s in the tens of millions that comes off the books next season for them. Tomlin takes at least another million off the books and Greene takes off $1.5 Mill. Chris Martin saves another $7M. Inciarte saves another more than $9M. Smyly saves another $11M and if Ozuna ends up gone that saves another $17M. That sounds perfectly doable to me. There’s no way Casty earns so much that he eats up all that money and most of those guys leaving have either already left or didn’t help the team much. The outfielders did but they are the ones who would be replaced by Casty and a healthy Acuna.
Curly Was The Smart Stooge
@Mets “Missed WAR”, worry about the Mets, you are clueless when it comes to the Braves, that’s why we win & you don’t.
FredMcGriff for the HOF
Maybe Castellanos really likes playing in Cincinnati? They have Castillo/Gray/Mahle for the next couple years and Lodolo and Greene probably debuting next year. Eugenio can’t keep batting under the Mendoza line. They have Votto for a couple years still. Plus some exciting young guys like India/Winker. Possibly even Senzel gets healthy next year. I’m not even a Reds fan but I pay a little attention to them. If Castellanos stays the Reds should improve.
Yeah but I still don’t see them beating out the Brewers or Cards.
They need to trade senzel he gets hurt to much and he is not that good
If you excel at your job don’t you want a raise?
Da – take the money – the go home with wife, kid,and dog.
He’d easily get at least $20 million AAV on the open market, even with his poor defense in right field. Any team could easily move him to left field, and with the likely possibility of the universal DH returning next season, could split time there and the OF to keep his defense (or lack thereof) hidden for a good chunk of games.
It sucks that the players have to exercise that clause so quickly but MLB can drag it’s feet on implementing the universal DH. It would vastly change the market for a good number of players if that decision was made before free agency.
Curly Was The Smart Stooge
DH blows, it’s only for lame defensive players who suck in the field
And that’s why the DH has been around since1973! Not sure why the NL still thinks it’s 1947 and loves seeing pitchers like Max Schertzer hit .000!!! Time to get with the times!
No – I love it when a team is forced to make a decision to hit the pitcher or let him stay in…..its called strategy for the generation of video game baseball players out there. who believe in pitch clocks, bigger bases, robot umpires, runner on 2nd in extra innings and all the other mental midget enhancements for the junk food, generation & attention deficit disorder afflicted so called baseball fans..
That was the worst generalization I’ve ever read.
Nick, whatever you do, stay as far away from the mess that is the Cubs. Regardless of what they offer, they won’t be competitive for 2 to 3 years, maybe.
I bet he’ll read this
FredMcGriff for the HOF
@steve. Castellanos might not, but I suspect some MLB players do frequent here. They just don’t reveal their identity. Even the writers have suggested as much on here before (I believe it was revealed in a chat).
I know some front office personnel use this site as a hub for baseball news. I haven’t heard of many players though. I guarantee they ain’t clicking the ‘view comments’ button.
You’re correct. I am Mike Trout
How’s your calf
Curly Was The Smart Stooge
She’s not giving milk yet but thanks for asking
Not that we all think so differently about baseball.. but Jose Mota of the Angels will talk about tid bits I read off this site from time to time. Sometimes I wonder as I scratch my head..
Hahaha!! Winner of the day!
The Mets "Missed WAR"
@McGriff: Yeah. I was in that chat. I think it may have been the most recent Steve Adams one. He didn’t necessarily say they visited the site directly. He said they followed on Twitter. According to him the average MLB team has about 10 players who follow on Twitter. That doesn’t mean that many follow the site directly but out of about 300 I would assume there are many that do. I set up a Twitter account once and I still came to this site a lot more than I did Twitter. I disagree with Nebraska on the comments opinion he made. I’m sure he’s right that most of them don’t but out of 300 players I’m sure their are at the very least dozens of players who do check the comments and probably comment themselves. I’ve heard Mark Texiera was doing a lot of stuff like that during his last season with the Braves and Angels. Maybe not with everything in the site but he was absolutely obsessed with his free agency and making sure he did everything during that period with the most information possible. Before he signed with the Yankees he would read literally anything he could find on the internet posted about him. I’m not sure if he commented but I wouldn’t be surprised. There are also other players who just happen to have similar personalities to guys like us. They love chatting about baseball and probably did it before they ever made the majors and just never stopped. When it comes to something they know more about than the average commenter they just do it as a joke. I’d be willing to bet a large percentage of players at the very least read the comments on articles about themselves. I know I would unless it became a situation where most people always bashed me. Then I would just block it out. In other words I’m sure Chris Davis stopped reading everyone’s opinion about him a long time ago. In my experience the more country guys that spend a lot of time hunting and going outside and whatnot don’t pay much attention to it and managers rarely ever do. The players who grew up in the city and like going out for nightlife and stuff read up on it a lot though. A good rule of thumb is that if a player posts a lot about his life on Twitter or Instagram or anything read a ton of comments about themselves because they just like doing that stuff in general. My guess is Bauer did it a lot. Something tells me he probably stopped paying attention a few months ago though. I can promise you some MLB players read the comments or even comment themselves though. I’m sure even in Steve’s case there are at least a few MLB players who have watched the movie “The Scout” and even recognize his screen name because he posts on here a lot and actually took the time to post up a profile picture of Brendan Frazier. I’m sure they know nothing else about him and don’t really care but they definitely do see his name and remember reading that he has made comments before.
Tom the ray fan
JD Martinez 2.0, effects of learning from the greatest hitter of his generation – Miguel Cabrera.
Still a very bad defender…..will limit his options.
Curly Was The Smart Stooge
Yeah, lets move that DH option over to the NL & ruin baseball a little more.
Not a huge fan of he DH, but I’m even less of a fan of a lopsided game. Either both should have the DH or neither should have the DH.
His current AAV may be just slightly lower than that from open market. The difference is, under normal circumstances, he’d be able to get a four to five years new contract easily, but with new CBA looming it’d be a big question.
The only question is would he be able to get more than $34 million guaranteed in FA. The answer is obviously yes. He may very well like CIN but they’ll still have to show the $ to keep him.
He should definitely opt out and get a 4 year $80 million deal or a 5 year $95 mil paying him $21, $20, $19, $18 and $17 mil a year.
I didn’t think he was THAT bad defensively. 2 errors on the year. Maybe his range sucks? Meh. Casty has made some improvements, methinks and I’d like to see the redlegs pony up and bring him back. Brings an attitude they need more of.
I think that’s exactly what happens…He’ll be a Red next year, he loves this team and city..
That is what should happen. Hopefully, the Reds will make it come to fruition.
Wife, dog, and kid……in that order?
You beat me to it.. the kid doesn’t even get a gender. So modern with the times as to not offend.
I think he will stay in Cincy on a new contract, 4 yrs, $75 mil.
I think so also.
“Once I’m able to just hang out with my wife, dog and kid” True family man.. I like it. Thinks of his dog before his “kid”
Curly Was The Smart Stooge
Maybe his dog is Rin Tin Tin, or Lassie? The true family providers? Probably should have been dog, wife, kid
At least he thought about his wife before his dog…
Reading though these comments and as a local and Reds fan my self a couple thoughts:
1. Yes our chili is terrible and intact I’ve slowly grown a mild loathing for the commercials advertising how great it is.
2. Montgomery inn can not hold a candle to something like a Carolina gold BBQ it’s just terrible, I’d actually prefer the BBQ off a McRib because it tastes the same.
3. Being someone who’s been around however, no one can top our breweries here, trust that I’ve compared Rhinegiest and Madtree to others around this country and maybe it’s in our German heritage but this has to count, that and the fact that Nick had become a reds icon here. The mad has stated this was the happiest he’s been in all of his professional career. Perhaps sit down, have one of our superior beers and take the millions you’re already being paid?