When the Cincinnati Reds signed outfielder Nick Castellanos to a 4-year deal in the offseason, most expected the deal to wind up being a 1-year deal. The expectation was that Castellanos, coming off of a big year, would come to Great American Ballpark and put up big numbers and then opt out after the 2020 season and get a better deal than the 3-years that he had remaining on his Reds deal.

Things didn’t exactly go that way. The season was cut short for everyone. No fans were allowed to attend games, and more than a few teams publicly stated they were going to lose money hand over fist this year as a result (this can be debated all day as to how true it actually is). With that, there’s a lot of uncertainty about the free agent market this offseason. No one expects there to be big spending, but even if there were – in the short season, Nick Castellanos didn’t exactly live up to the “puts up huge numbers in Great American Ballpark” scenario. He hit .225/.298/.486 on the season, playing in all 60 games. The home runs were there, but he posted the lowest average and on-base percentage of his career. His slugging percentage was the lowest he’d had since 2015. His OPS+ of 102 was also the worst he has had in a season since 2015.

Even if Nick Castellanos had gone out and tore up the National League this year in 60 games, there would be some questions if he could do better than the three years and $48,000,000 he still had on his deal with the Reds (this includes a $2M buyout in 2024 on a $20M mutual option). What works in the favor of Castellanos is that he also has an opt out after the 2021 season, too. So he gets a bit of a “do over” at the National League and Great American Ballpark.

On Friday afternoon, President of Baseball Operations Dick Williams was asked how he felt about Nick Castellanos returning.

“I expect him to be back based on the conversations I’ve had with him,” said Williams. “I think he really likes it here. I think he really liked his teammates. I think he feels like there’s unfinished business.  My impression was that he intends to come back, but I didn’t ask him and he didn’t offer that specific, just the way our conversations went.”

Everything seems to point towards a reasonable expectation to see Nick Castellanos roaming the outfield at Great American Ballpark in 2021 in a Cincinnati Reds jersey. The date that Castellanos has to opt out isn’t known, but it’s usually 3-5 days after the final day of the World Series. If he were to opt out, the Reds could extend a qualifying offer to him if they wanted to.

37 Responses

  1. Bred

    Before he makes a decision, is his agent permitted to test the market? He certainly did not do himself any good with the season he had, but so many players with a proven track record did not hit this year. Owners may view this season as a statistical outlier. Since the Reds do not have any one to replace him, I begrudgingly hope he does come back.

    • Pat McGrath

      If he opts out he’s a free agent so the Reds would have to resign him.

  2. Amarillo

    The answer is yes. After the season he had, and the presumed economic climate, there is no way we would find 3/48 with an oot out from some other team.

  3. Klugo

    Hope so. Also hopes he’s humble enough to put the work in to improve. Everyone attacked him soft away. Gotta learn to recognize it and lay off. I know I know, easier said than done, but the great ones make the adjustments.

  4. Charlie Waffles

    The safe bet for Castellanos will be to stay for 2021 season. The hard part comes next year at this time. I think all the important dates for opting out and for the QO’s come before the CBA expires.
    What kind of season MLB has and what kind of season Castellanos has in that framework will also be a major factor in what he will decide.

  5. JB

    He bet on himself with the opt outs and it didnt work in his favor that’s for sure. Right now he is fortunate he got a 4 year deal because after his hot beginning he was horrible. Now Ozuna on the other hand turned down the Reds and bet on himself and had a great year. Let’s see what kind of deal he gets and whether it will be better than what supposedly the Reds offered him.

    • JB

      Funny part about Castellanos and Ozuna is they both cant lay off that out side junk. Who on earth would throw either of them a fastball down the pipe is beyond me. Rasiel.

      • Aaron B.

        Thing is he can hit pretty much anything anywhere and it’s nice to have a guy that can get a bat on most any ball that is thrown to him. Sure he will K a lot as he swings for power, but he makes a lot of contact for a guy that is aggressively chasing. He is pretty much the opposite of Votto up there and it is refreshing to see. In my mind he is the best RBI guy and should be in the meat of the order behind the speed guys, not a table setter as they tried to use him. Of course with DH I get that the lineup has more turnaround then without DH but I still would like to see him bat third or 4th.

  6. Bob Purkey

    I think that FA is going to be very interesting this year. Clubs made a lot less money this year, so I think most need to reassess their budgets. I think that a lot of players are going to surprised what they are going to be offered. Guys like Bauer will get their offers, but guys similar to Castellanos, etc. will find offers lower than in previous years as the teams won’t have as much money to spend. Of course teams Boston, New York, LAA, LAD will not be as effected IMHO. I concur with those above who would be shocked that Castellanos would have a 3/$48 + opt-out after his current season

  7. RedsGettingBetter

    After this season, i would say as a fan that Castellanos is in debt to the reds in sports terms … First because he did not meet performance expectations and additionally it was a shortened season, everything indicates that he must return for a 162-game season and redeem himself, of course, from the point of professional view, there are other criteria to consider…

  8. Tamara Banks

    The Reds have to find some hitters who can spray the ball around.I am worried about Shogo even though he showed a little I hope he can do more they really need him and Denzel at the top of the order as long as Senzel can stay healthy.

  9. Gaffer

    The better question is who do the Reds have to get rid of when Castellanos doesn’t opt out. Between him, Moose, and Votto we have 50 million next year. Remember the team had no paying fans this year (scoring zero runs in the postseason) how do they pay for even the arbitration players?

    (Sorry had to insert than somewhere)

  10. citizen54

    No other organization one was willing to give him 4 years after having a good year in 2019. Even the Cubs, who have a ton of money decided, to pass. Only the Reds were willing to overpay for 4 years. I highly doubt any other organization is going to change their mind on Castellanos after his so so year.

  11. Rod

    No and I’m ok with it. Decent at times but stinks defensively and on the base paths and kind of seems like he has an attitude problem; a little lazy. Not looking to get into argument.

    • SammythePooch

      100% on point, he is a liability and not an effective player, may be the worst base runner and defender I ever watched play regularly for the Tigers. They tried to give him three different positions on a well below average Team and he couldn’t effectively play any of them, he wasn’t smart enough to get better defensively or on the base path, Reds fans got to see a little of his “growth” in the elimination game. He has never hit the curve effectively and most likely his approach won’t improve. His 4 year contract was a gift to him and it was a huge surprise that a non DH team would take the chance, it’s telling that the free spending Cubs didn’t even after a very productive partial season with them…. I think your stuck…. keep your eyes open for more of those clutch disappointments, defensive bungles, and base running gaffes… there on the way, the more you watch the worse it gets!

  12. Doc

    How many QO can a team make? If only one, then I opt to make it to Bauer, unless he signs for another with the Reds before the deadline. We’ll se.

    • Doc

      that should have read, “another year with the Reds”

  13. RedNat

    I don’t know he is another Red that just doesn’t check enough boxes for me.he hits homeruns and that is about it. I know I am in the minority here but I still say the Puig- trammel for Bauer trade was a mistake. I would have just kept Puig around as my right fielder as a bridge for Siri and Trammel to develop. Now, as reds fans. We don’t have much to look forward to.

    • Gene Kehoe

      If you’re looking for Siri and Trammel to develop I hope you’re a young man because it’s going to be a LONG wait!

      • Gene Kehoe

        and both are being passed around seemingly from team to team– never a good sign for a prospect.

    • Charlie Waffles

      Kept Puig?????
      Are you high? The dude can’t find a MLB job as it is.
      Trading Puig and Trammell was no loss to the Reds. The one you didn’t even mention, LHP Scott Moss is the one I’d like to have back. Getting Bauer was not a mistake.
      You want to talk mistakes, the trade to get Puig in the first place was a major, major mistake. The Reds gave away Jeter Downs and Josiah Gray for what amounted to getting Farmer. I like Farmer, but he is a utility bench player. Downs starts at 2B for Boston next year and Gray is leap frogging over some highly rated Dodgers pitching prospects.
      Getting a lame Puig is going down as the worst trade in Reds history since the Frank Robinson trade. Talk about Reds front office mistakes. That was a biggie.

      • RedNat

        I don’t know. I just like players who have more than one tool. Castlellanos just seems like the same old typical reds player. He has one tool. Occasionally he runs in to one and hits a homerun. No different than Winker, Votto, Suarez etc.
        At least with Puig he could catch the ball,throw it from right field to home plate on a fly and score from second base on a single. And I agree I wish we could have kept Jeter Downs too. Another multi tool guy.

      • Hanawi

        I don’t disagree that Trammell isn’t a big loss, but as I’ve said many times, the Reds could have leveraged more out of that trade. They got some starts in a lost year last year and then 60 games of Cy Young quality starts this year to help them finish 3rd in the division. Now they have to pay big bucks or have nothing to show at all.

        I would have tried to flip him for multiple players with control, like Cleveland basically did in that deal. A long-term corner OF or SS would have been ideal.

  14. Johnnie Sparks

    I hope he ops out. You would save the 16 mill put another 20 with it to offer Bauer 36 mill. That would b the dream. Really this team needs offence. Nick isn’t the answer for right field. With losing Bauer this current roster will lose 90-95. The front office needs to b let go immediately especially Dick Williams. He trades the few prospects we have and doesn’t develop the other ones.

    • Tom

      It is not Dick Williams job to develop prospects. That is the job of coaches and the manager. It is his job to evaluate young players for the draft, roster and trades. All that being said, the Reds recent track record of developing young players is dismal. Hope they can reverse the trend with Senzel, Garcia, Stephenson and Aquino. Greene and Lodolo are the next that need to become good major league players. Other than Stephenson who only had a few spot starts and pinch hitting chances, the others have not lived up to their billing. Especially Senzel. Sheesh, I bet he hurt himself in the 1st playoff game – again. Speaking of coaches, no way the hitting coach should retain his job. The offense was historically bad and by all metrics the approach of swinging for the fences did not work.

  15. BigRedMike

    I doubt he would opt out, but, it is a funny comment by Williams that he thinks he will stay because he like his teammates. I am pretty sure that has nothing to do with his decision.

    It would be a good thing for the Reds if he did opt out. I look at two teams to see what a good plan is. The Rays and the A’s. Pretty certain neither of those teams would have signed Moustakas or Castellanos. Just frustrating that there is no plan. Try something different each year and hope it works

  16. GreatRedLegsFan

    Among all players used in OF this year, only Castellanos showed some consistency level by playing all 60 games and slugging at times with 14 HR & 34 RBI. All other outfielders (Aquino, Akiyama, Senzel & Goodwin) struggled to produce, so better off he doesn’t optout.

    • Redleg67

      That was pretty sad. Puig, Matt Kemp and from what was said that Alex Wood was who the front office really wanted. That was a bust. Wood spent his entire time as a Red on the il. He might have pitched in part of one game if that .
      One of the examples why as a Reds fan most “blockbuster” deals scare me.

  17. DaveCT

    Financially, it’s likely he stays where he is.

    Personally, he looked very unhappy for most of the year.

    If he stays, I’d welcome it and I’d hope he shreds it in 2021

    • Aaron B.

      Meh, this guy played for Detroit for several seasons without a whiff of the playoffs. If he was unhappy it was probably because he didn’t hit for higher average not because of the Reds who have state of the art facilities and trainers.

  18. TR

    Either opt in or out is fine with me. A slugger, but not a very consistent one. And his defense in right field is at best average. His manner has indicated to me a disappointment that more homeruns have not come his way in GABP.

  19. Steven Ross

    I’d take the sure thing. Opt in. Guranteed to make $16 mil vs uncertainity.

    Breaking pitches low and/or away are his achilles heel though. With that being said, he is that type of player who can carry a team for a week or two.

  20. Mark A.

    I’d tell him he will be the primary DH and let him opt out if he wants.

    • TR

      If he opts in as the DH, who will cover right field; Winker, Aquino?

  21. Colorado Red

    No Way on Gods green earth he opts out.
    No one will pay him that kind of money this off-season.
    If we had a good year, then next year may be a different story.
    He is going to be in Cincinnati next year.

  22. Nkr

    If he had tore it up. He’d be gone. He’ll stay until next offseason.