The Reds have unsurprisingly extended a qualifying offer to free agent outfield Nick Castellanos. Given that Castellanos just recently chose to opt out of the final two years and $34MM remaining on his contract, it should be a foregone conclusion that Castellanos will reject the one-year, $18.4MM qualifying offer and enter free agency.
The sum total of the last couple days of decisions should lead to an interesting offseason saga for Castellanos. The last time he was a free agent, it required patience for the slugger to ultimately land a uniquely structured long-term deal with the Reds. The 29-year-old ultimately only spent two years with the Reds, the latter of which produced an All-Star campaign. Still, this time around, Castellanos will be entering his age-30 season, he has a qualifying offer attached, and the CBA is set to expire in December. The stars say it will be quite some time until Castellanos knows what uniform he will don in 2022.
At the base of it all, however, is a consistent right-handed power hitter coming off a .309/.362/.576 season with 34 home runs and 100 runs driven in. The gaudy offensive numbers amounted to a 3.3 rWAR season, the most robust of Castellanos’ career. He put up 4.2 WAR by Fangraphs’ measure, which was also a career high. In short, the bat plays.
Counterpoint: Castellanos continues to put up suspect defensive numbers. His glovework in right field merited -7 defensive runs saved and -1.5 UZR, numbers that are supported by the eye test and a longstanding reputation as a subpar defender. Now, the expectation is that there will be a universal designated hitter next season, and if that comes to pass, there should be a robust market for Castellanos. Until that’s put in ink, however, his defensive deficiencies may curtail the bidding for his services.