Nick Castellanos has done what most people expected him to do and has opted out of his contract with the Cincinnati Reds. Jon Heyman of MLB Network was the first to report this. He will now be a free agent. The Cincinnati Reds can make him a qualifying offer of $18,400,000 for the 2022 season. If he turns it down, which he almost certainly will, it will eventually net the Reds a draft pick in the summer (unless he re-signs with the Reds). What kind of pick they will get will depend on the total amount of money that Castellanos signs for.

After a quick start to his Reds career in 2020 he struggle a bit in a weird, shortened season. But in 2021 he rebounded and was everything that both he and the Reds seemed to expect when he signed his contract. The outfielder played in 138 games and hit .309/.362/.576 with 38 doubles, a triple, and 34 home runs while scoring 95 runs, driving in 100, and being named a National League All-Star.

Nick Castellanos is leaving two years and $34,000,000 on the table with the Reds. He, probably correctly, believes he can get a better deal than that. Whether or not he can get more money per year may be in question, but he should easily be able to lock up more years at a value per year at least similar to what he’s got now, earning him more in the long run and guaranteeing more on his deal.

As for the Reds, it seems likely that they will make the qualifying offer and at least talk to him about re-signing. How serious it gets with a new deal, feel free to make your own guesses – but when the team’s statement after trading away a player in Tucker Barnhart could have been that they loved what he had done for the organization but they felt it was time to open up the spot for Tyler Stephenson. Instead they put out a statement that talked about how the organization needed to align their payroll to their resources.

If Castellanos doesn’t re-sign, it will leave Cincinnati with a very big spot in the lineup to fill. How they go about that, or where they would look – it’s still way too early to tell. The internal options may include finding more time for Tyler Naquin, Max Schrock, Nick Senzel, or Aristides Aquino. Trades or free agency could also be an option.

153 Responses

  1. LDS

    Well, at least the payroll has been reduced further. Unless there’s real surprises in the coming weeks, the Pirates may have some competition. I suspect the Brewers won’t.

    • Alan Horn

      They scare me when they sign a FA(Moose, Akiyama) and they scare me when they make a trade(Barnhart, last Dodgers trade , Archie Bradley trade and the Raisel Iglesias trade). The FAs turn out to be busts and the trades net basically nothing for the Reds while giving up value in prospects and players. So I for one am holding my breath.

      • Doug Gray

        Have I imagined the careers of Luis Castillo, Eugenio Suarez, and Sonny Gray in a Reds uniform? I know my brain is broken and all, but…..

      • Alan Horn

        50/50 at best. Those were several years ago. I was referring to the last 3 years. The only good thing the Williams / Krall regime produced was NC and we only got one good year out of that because of Covid. Had it not been for Covid we very probably wouldn’t have had him this past season. So no, the ledger sheet doesn’t look good for the last approximately 3 years. One year of bad management can take most businesses down. The deadline trades helped this season but all but the guy we got from the Yankees will be gone. So 2/3 of that was a less than half season rental which was too little too late.

      • Alan Horn

        Naquin was a good pickup but it basically cost very little. I credit the scouting on that. It was one of those rare dumpster dives that wound up producing.

      • Andy

        Nick C and Wade Miley were great FA signings. So good, that I think the FA class including Moose and Shogo, all things considered, was a success.

      • michael

        I think you are missing a few when you say only NC for the last 3 years. Bauer, Gray, brought in Johnson to pitching coach, and wade miley.

        Having said that if you want to use the Krall era as a punching bag I will not dispute that.

      • Alan Horn

        Michael, I think that is close to what I am saying. The lately part is what I am trying to highlight.

      • Redsvol

        Luis Cessa, Mychel Givens, Justin Wilson, Reiver Sanmartin, Art Warren, Kyle Farmer, Max Schrock. Not all trades but 29 other MLB teams didn’t bring them in.

  2. Votto4life

    I can’t tell you how excited I am about the Reds “payroll becoming aligned with resources.”

    A quote I am sure to remember when I am asked to renew my season ticket subscription.

    • Alan Horn

      I am too far away to attend but I am seriously considering not renewing my subscription where I can watch every game. Right now watching the Braves for free would be better for my health and finances. Why would anyone want to pay to watch the incompetence?

      • JayTheRed

        Its insanely early in the offseason I am not going to make my final judgement of this team until spring training. My 2nd favorite Team is probably going to become my favorite team cause they are run much better and actually try to win. That team Toronto Blue Jays.
        Hoping that with all these reductions in payroll we will be able to at least add a few decent players overall. A team full of good players might be better than a team with a few Superstars and a bunch of scrap heap players and older veterans.

      • Alan Horn

        Jay, I mentioned the same below. It is early in the off season and
        everything needs time to play out. My 2nd favorite team is the Braves being from the South. We can all make a better judgement by the beginning of the season if there is no strike.

    • Chris Wheeler

      I will not be renewing my season tickets. After last year getting rid of Iglesias and Bradley and dumpster diving for the bullpen when it was critical. It set a clear vision of mediocracy with this current management. I’m not paying to watch that.

    • Luke J

      I think people are reading too much into that quote. While it is the Reds, so cutting payroll is the norm, I don’t think that’s what he was specifically saying with that quote. It was in the context of trading Barnhart. So it was about a team in the Reds’ financial position not wanting to pay $7.5 million on a backup catcher. Extrapolating it to every other roster move is simply improper.

      Heck, it could have been that they were saying “Since we plan on offering Nick C over $20 million/year, we need to cut payroll with Barnhart to align our overall payroll to our resources.”

      You see how you can take that quote and twist it to fit any narrative you want? You might think it means doom and gloom, but I think we have to wait a little more than 2 days after the season to make that judgment.

      • Chris Holbert

        Evidently 20 mill a year was not enough.

      • Luke J

        @Chris Holbert What do you know that I don’t? I said maybe they were saying they were planning on offering him OVER $20 Million. And we aren’t to the place where they would have made that offer yet. He just opted out today. We have yet to even see if they make a qualifying offer (they will), let alone negotiated a free agent contract. So how do you know $20 was not enough? It hasn’t even been offered.

      • Votto4life

        The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. Bob Castellini has shown us time after time again that he is not going to invest in this team.

        Last off season they needed to obtain a starting shortstop and they failed miserably.

        They also needed to obtain solid relievers last off season (after moving Iglesias and Bradly to save a few dollars) and they failed miserably.

        There are numerous other examples of Bob Castellini’s miserly ways.

        I think when Castellini bought the team he thought the Reds were going to be champions overnight. When he learned what type of financial commitment it’s take to operate a successful organization he balked.

        Here is a lesson, just because you can sell a few green peppers doesn’t mean you can successful operate a Major League Baseball franchise.

        So, if after a decade or so of Castellini miserable leadership, which has resulted in zero post season wins, you still want to give Bob Castellini the benefit of the doubt… you go right ahead.

        I don’t need to wait to pass judgement. I know this off-season is going to be one big train wreck.

  3. Rednat

    what about Puig?
    he hit .267 with 24 homers in 2019, then poof , he is gone, in the Mexican league.

    he was a fan favorite, great defender, good baserunner. maybe we can get him back

    • Tom Reeves

      I believe he was accused of a sexual assault and then was gone from the MLB. Not sure if the allegation was true.

  4. Jim Walker

    I actually feel some empathy for Nick Krall. He is probably just channeling what he is hearing from his boss(es), Imagine at this point in the off season process being told to live within your budget, and oh, by the way, we don’t have that bottom line budget figure just yet. We’ll get back to you when we do.

    • Ahimsa

      Exactly. Nick is most likely a sock-puppet for his bosses.

    • Alan Horn

      Maybe, maybe not. Everyone went down with the Titanic.

      • Alan Horn

        Not entirely true. Some got out on life boats(NC, Tucker and the FA’s).

    • LDS

      As I’ve argued throughout the season, if that’s the circumstances in the Reds organization then Krall needs to man up and walk away. As should Bell if the FO is calling the shots. Though in my opinion, Bell hasn’t shown that he can manage effectively, regardless of who is calling the shots.

  5. ryan

    At least he didn’t pull the “I love it here” act of Pujols, who decided $235 mil wasn’t enough for St Louis.

  6. Ahimsa

    Hoping the Cards, Brewers, or Cubs don’t sign him.

    • JayTheRed

      I don’t think he would want to play for the Cardinals with all the bad blood. Not really sure what direction the Cubs are going in. The Brewers might make an attempt but I predict Nick is going to a big market team.

      • CI3J

        That’s a very naïve take. Nick was not in Cincinnati at any time when the Reds and Cardinals could really be considered “rivals”, at least not like the Cubs and Cardinals. I doubt Nick feels any “bad blood” toward the Cards, and even if he does, if they put a 6 year, $130 million offer on the table for him, he’ll forget about that “bad blood” pretty quickly.

      • Tom Reeves

        If 6 years at $130 signs Nick C, the Red should freaking sign him. Who cares if the last two years are less than stellar.

        That’s a 3-4 year window.

  7. Chris

    I’m hopeful that they can re-sign him for a similar amount, but extend the years a bit. To say they can’t afford it, is odd. If you assume he was going to stay, then that amount would have already been assumed in their payroll. They have jettisoned Tucker’s contract, and if they trade Gray, which I believe they should, then there should be plenty of resources to re-sign Castellanos. Who knows though?

    • Doug Gray

      Can’t afford it and don’t want to pay it are two different things. I’d imagine that the “money people”, not the baseball people, are THRILLED that Castellanos is leaving.

      • JB

        Agree. I was hoping Castellanos would not opt out just to ruin their plans. Boy, wouldn’t you want to be a fly on the wall when they got that call from Nick.

      • Luke J

        Why does everyone assume the “money people” are ignorant of basic economics? Don’t you think the money people understand that star players put butts in the seats and eyes on the games? And don’t you think they understand that means increased revenues? I have a hard time believing people who make a lot of money to understand the team’s finances are that financially stupid.

      • Luke J

        To continue, saving the salary of Nick C. is not the type of saving the money people should or do like. He pays for himself. It’s cutting the salary of people like Moose, Shogo, etc… that should make the money people happy.

      • Doug Gray

        The money people care about making money. The baseball people care about winning baseball games.

        The money people understand that in today’s era of baseball economics that winning games and even “putting butts in seats” isn’t what makes them the most money. That’s television contracts, and those things – particularly for the Reds – are locked up and settled. More viewers, less viewers – don’t matter in terms of the bottom line. They are going to get that fixed number whether they draw 20,000 viewers a night or 100,000 (they averaged 40,000 in 2019 if I recall correctly).

        Attendance does move the needle a little bit. But think about it like this: You have to take some risks to try and win. You can spend $140M but have some injuries take out your best players, win 77 games, and you lose money. Or you can just spend $100M, win 75 games, and make tens of millions.

        That’s the difference between “the money guys” and “the baseball guys”. The money guys are looking at the risk versus reward with regards to profit. The days of needing to win, in order to put butts in seats, which was the main money maker for the first 100-something years of the game, no longer exists.

      • Luke J

        I strongly disagree. First, making money and winning games are not mutually exclusive. No need to assume they are. Second, there is a MAJOR difference between 20,000 viewers per game or 100,000. Maybe not for the current TV deal, but it would make a huge impact on the next deal. Pretending it doesn’t matter is disingenuous at best.

      • Doug Gray

        Luke, the next TV deal is going to come up in 2032.

        How many people watch for the next 8-9 years literally does not matter. Those last two years might matter toward their next tv contract. I stand by every single thing that I said.

      • Luke J

        Let me ask you this, is the revenue of the Yankees’ TV deal the same as the Reds? No? Why not? because they have more viewers is why. If the Reds average the same viewers as the Yankees for the rest of this TV deal do you think their TV revenue from the next contract would be the same as it is now? Of course not. Viewership ABSOLUTELY has an affect on TV contracts. And winning absolutely has an affect on viewership.

        I’m not suggesting the Reds can ever have big market viewership numbers, it was just an example to prove a point. But I am saying their viewership numbers can and do affect their TV contracts.

      • Doug Gray

        This thing that I admit will never be able to happen is something I would actually like to use to prove my point is certainly a take, Luke.

      • Tom Reeves

        Doug, let’s say the Reds front office is committed to spending very little money and maximizing profits (which, the club has denied making profits but maybe we don’t believe them). And let’s say that for the next 6-8 years, the team is committed to having a small salary because TV money is fixed. Why would any of us pay attention to a team like that? If we really think that, the best thing we can do is walk away from that toxic relationship. And if we hoping it will be different, we either don’t believe what we’re saying (and we’re just complaining) or we’re insanely doing the same thing expecting a different result.

      • Doug Gray

        For the same reason we all paid attention for the last two decades despite a ton of losing…. we’re suckers.

      • Alan Horn

        Tom and Doug, hind sight is 20/20, but yes we were suckers. It appears the Reds were just concerned with the bottom line financially and if they won fine(which they didn’t) and if they didn’t fine also(which they didn’t). The fans who wanted to win were just played for suckers and it continues up to the present.

    • indyDoug

      Don’y forget hey have a lot of increased salary coming up with arbitration-eligible players.

  8. old-school

    The Reds estimated payroll for 2022 is now ~129 million without Barnhart/Castellanos/Lorenzen and Givens. MLB traderumors doesn’t anticipate the budget going any higher.

    The Reds have gaping holes in the OF, gaping holes in the bullpen, no 2nd catcher and cant hit left handed pitching. It would seem Miley’s 10 mil and Gray’s 10 mil and Garrett’s estimated 2.2mil might be on the chopping block to better fill in roster needs. Could the Reds non-tender Kyle Farmer with his estimated $2 mil salary?

    I mean they traded Barnhart for nothing to avoid paying his $500K buyout.

    • Alan Horn

      I wouldn’t put anything past them. They have no shame. It is all about money, not winning.

    • Luke J

      Is it possible they believe in their minor leaguers? I mean, that’s how Tampa Bay builds winners. And the Reds finally have cheap pieces available that just might fill in those holes quite nicely if given the chance.

    • Redsvol

      The estimate on Cot’s is $122 million – that’s including Miley, Wilson, all the ARB eligible players and the rest at the MLB minimum. I think they will cut further and then ad back after the CBA is finalized.

  9. Brad

    At least all of the prospects from our re-build that we netted are ready to help…..

    • Alan Horn

      I will say that part of the Reds seems to be solid. Drafting, scouting and to a less extent, development.

    • michael


      Wish we could use gif’s in here. Game over man from Aliens would have been perfect.

      • Daytonnati

        One of my favorite movies of all-time. Remember the response:

        “Maybe we can build a fire, sing a couple of songs …”

  10. Votto4life

    In many ways, the Reds and Castellanos needed each other. The Reds now have a gaping hole in the middle of their line up and Nick has to hope he can cash in despite some glaring home/away splits.

    At the end of the day however, some team will pony up and sign Nick. The Red’s challenge in replacing their three hole hitter will prove to be far more daunting.

  11. seattle78

    Perhaps I’m looking too hard for a silver lining here, but there is the possibility that the recent comments about aligning payroll yadda yadda is in large part a ‘pleading poverty’ campaign just prior to the CBA talks

  12. Lid

    My guess is ownership said follow the Rays, and get payroll to 80M. They make the playoffs all the time now. I wonder if they try to attach an asset, pay half the salary, and try to trade Moose and Suarez. The conversations with Votto must be crazy.

    • Votto4life

      Well, since Tampa’s first season in 1998, the Rays and Reds have won the exact same number of world championships.

  13. Alan Horn

    Although I and most Reds fans aren’t optimistic right now, we do have to let the Reds brass complete their off season plan before passing judgement.
    There is nothing out there on the FA market to replace NC. Trades are possible with one or more starting pitchers if we don’t get fleeced. Soler, Duvall and Rosario(LH bat) are out there from the Braves as FAs. Then there is Marte, Garcia and Smith(Dodger OF). So I am giving them to the start of the season to improve before I make any decision.

    • Alan Horn

      Not Smith but Chris Taylor of the Dodgers.

    • Votto4life

      Alan, I will only say there were a lot of similar “It’s still early” comments last off season as shortstop after shortstop signed elsewhere.

      At some point, we have to accept the fact that Bob Castellini is cheap and is not willing to spend the money to improve the team.

      As Dennis Greene would say “They are who we think they are”

      • Alan Horn

        I was trying to give them the benefit of the doubt, but I think you are probably right. History tells us you likely are.

      • greenmtred

        Do we know what they offered those FA shortstops last year? They didn’t succeed in getting one, obviously, but were still a surprisingly entertaining and competitive team. I’m going to wait and see before I decide to get too bummed-out.

  14. JayTheRed

    The one thing I did notice from Krall’s horrid speech was that he did say they are going to go out and get a MLB ready level catcher to back up Stephenson

    If the Reds do go after a free agent for the OF it will be someone that used to be pretty good but had a down year or something. similar.

    Also just want to state that I will be shocked if they keep Miley at this point. Hopefully i’m wrong.

    • Alan Horn

      I wonder if Casali(sp?) is available?

      • Jim Walker

        Casali is under the Giants control as arbitration eligible for 2022 unless non-tendered. MLBTR estimates him in the $3m range for 1 season. Of course, the Giants entire catching situation must be in flux with the Posey retirement announcement.

        I’d guess the $3m may be a little rich for the Reds taste. Casali reportedly made $1.5 this year. That’s probably more what the Reds would like to pay at max.

    • JaxDan

      Since you are a Jays fan I know Gabriel Moreno is their top prospect, which catcher would you want to trade for in Jansen, Kirk or McGuire? I know they need a 3b as well. To get rid of Moose we may need to take on Grichuk’s contract. What trade proposal would you make since you know their team better.

  15. Alan Horn

    Another option if they want to take the risk is the Braves OF who was suspended this season. His salary is close to what NC made this season and he is is RH corner OF with power. Marcell Ozuna. He is on administrative leave and I think he may be cleared to play next season. Atlanta would likely move him cheap. The question is do we want to take on the baggage.

    • LDS

      I remember reading somewhere that the Reds offered Ozuna more money in the first place and he turned them down in favor of Atl. Yes, players want to make as much money as possible but team culture, management, objectives, etc. also factor in to the decision. My guess is players know the Reds aren’t committed to winning. Fifteen plus years of this ownership group seems rather definitive. And remember, their first moves in the late season and since have been to reward the insiders and loyalists. Nothing apparently, at least so far, devoted to players. So I don’t see any reason to be overly optimistic. This ownership has a track record and it’s not favorable.

      • Doug Gray

        The Reds offered a longer deal (with more guaranteed), but Atlanta gave him a shorter deal with more each season.

  16. old-school

    If the Reds are going to pick up Miley’s option, what are they waiting for? They’ve known for months this decision was coming.
    They are either exploring trades or waiting for the weekend’s football noise to drown out the Reds punting on Miley’s option. Either way, unless something happens today, no news is not good news for a Miley return.

    • JB

      If they couldn’t cover Barnharts buyout then they can’t cover Mileys. They are looking for someone to take him off their hands.

      • Alan Horn

        And they sure won’t cover Wilson’s either at 7.15 million.

  17. Jim Walker

    Yeah, there is a lot of change going on. But the last time I checked, the Reds hadn’t been in the real playoffs since 2013 have had just 1 winning full season since. Maybe the changes will change that?

    I could do without the pleading poor coming from the front office; but, let’s wait and see what the team looks like before we get out onto the ledge to jump.

    What is not to like about a lineup with Stephenson, India, Votto, Winker and Barrero as its foundation? There is a lot of high ceiling in that group, The starting pitching looks deep and flush with top prospects. Some of those guys will bolster the pen. Maybe the September version of Suarez shows up. Obviously there is work to be done in the OF.

    Nonetheless, unless more shoes fall, I am OK seeing the glass half full versus almost empty

    • JB

      Agree Jim. I have no problem with the young guys playing and there is some good talent in the minors. Run it like the Ray’s organization. Stop giving big contracts after Votto, Mouse and Suarez leave. They still have a way better team now than they did during the rebuild. I can stand a couple more years until the big contracts go away. Just don’t trade them with good prospects attached.

    • SultanofSwaff

      I agree Jim. Still, the only way to keep the glass half full is to lock up the core until the youngsters arrive. I’ll judge the offseason in two ways—did they trade Gray for value and did they extend guys like Winker/Mahle/Castillo.

    • LDS

      Neither Winker nor Votto hit lefties particularly well this year.

    • Redsvol

      most teams would give their left arm for a team consisting of India, Votto, Winker, Barerro, Castillo, Mahle, Gray, Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo and Tyler Stephenson.

      Obviously there is work to do with the outfield and bullpen. Good thing there is an oversupply of decent players at both positions in the free agent market this year.

      Oh and neither Winker nor Votto can hit lefties – but its also a good thing there are only 150 or so at bats a year against them!

  18. Votto4life

    It kinda surprises me Derek Johnson wants to stay with this organization. I suppose there are not a lot expectations and plenty of Job security at least. Still, you would have to think he could do better.

    • Alan Horn

      I have wondered the same. Most organizations would give him more to work with as far as talent. You would think they would pay him more money as well.

      • Earmbrister

        The Reds have plenty of pitching talent, particularly in the rotation (where most of the innings are). Bullpens tend to be more transitory, although they have some talent there as well.

  19. MK

    Wonder how the Union negotiations and the lack of agreement play into the decisions of the past couple days. I’ve understood that if there is no agreement by December 1 there will be a lockout meaning no free agent signings or trades. There is a good chance if a player has a guaranteed contract they get paid without no pay. If they pickup Tucker he would get paid, so another reason not to resign him. Who knows about Nick’s situation in this regard.

    • Jim Walker

      I don’t think guys with standard players’ contracts will get paid during the lockout even if the contract is “guaranteed. In the past there have been players in various sports who had “personal services” contracts that paid all or some of their salary even if there was a work stoppage. I have no idea who if anyone in MLB might have such a contract at this point.

      However, guys with deferred salary from previous years (such as Nick Castellanos) will certainly receive scheduled deferred payments which fall due during any work stoppage.

      • Alan Horn

        Jim, are we still responsible for the deferred payments(if any) if they opt out of their contract as in the NC case.

      • Jim Walker

        Sure, they still owe the deferred payments for the 2020 and 2021 salaries.

        They do NOT owe the portions of the 2022 and 2023 salaries which would have been deferred.

        Per Cot’s contracts, they owe him $4m on January 15, 2022. That’s $2m each from 2020 and 2021. On January 15, 2023, they will owe him $2m against 2021 salary; and, that will close the books.

  20. AllTheHype

    Based on his comments on the Barnhart trade, Nick Krall is either 1) not good at public relations or 2) preparing Reds fans for more asset selloffs. Since he said some things publicly that he did not need to say, I think it is #2, unfortunately.

    • Bet on Red

      Oh, after seeing one interview with him, it is clear public relations is not his forte. Not saying it’s not number 2 but number 1 is def true

    • Luke J

      I don’t know, I’d be happy selling off a few of the high priced assets (I can think of some I’d like to let go). Sell the overpriced junk and let the young kids play. See what they can do. Can’t be worse than what it has been.

      • Votto4life

        Yes, it can be worse. In my opinion, there is a big difference between a 83 win season and a 69 win season.

      • AllTheHype

        The only assets that are salable and they ones you want sold are not the same unfortunately.

      • Alan Horn

        True. The contracts you want to get rid of are going to be virtually impossible to move in a trade.

      • Luke J

        In what realistic sense is an 83 win 3rd place finish any different than a 69 win 4th place finish? I mean, other than pure win-loss %, there is really no difference. In fact, a 69 win season where your young up and coming stars get a chance to cut their teeth, is arguably much better than an 83 win season where you went all in with your vets on big contracts and came up woefully short with nothing to show for it.

        And the reality is, if you are willing to take a hit and cut bait, there is no contract that can’t be gotten rid of. The question is are you willing?

      • greenmtred

        There are 83 win seasons and there are 83 win seasons. If your point is that you don’t win the World Series with 83 wins any more than you do with 69 wins, okay. But that means that only one team doesn’t labor in futility all year. The Reds in 2021 were mostly fun to watch and were better than most people (including me) expected. Baseball is entertainment, and they were entertaining. Had they been, say, the Dodgers and had struggled to an 83 win season, they wouldn’t have been fun to watch.

      • Votto4life

        I can tell you I enjoyed watching an 83 win team this past season, much more than I enjoyed watching the Reds in the first years of their rebuild.

        The whole point is to get better. What’s the point of acquiring good players, just to turn around and give them away.

        Last year the Reds let the only Cy Young winner in their history walk away. Re-signing him was never even a consideration.

        This year they will let their best hitter and MVP candidate, gold glove catcher and likely their best pitcher walk. Again, most likely with close to nothing in return.

        Next year it will be Castillo, the year after that Winker and the following year India.

        Tell me again, why I’m suppose to be excited about this team?

      • Earmbrister

        Votto4life –

        I get your angst, as I’ve been a fan for 50 years, though I think some of it is misplaced. You state:

        “Last year the Reds let the only Cy Young winner in their history walk away. Re-signing him was never even a consideration.”

        Thank goodness the Reds didn’t re-sign Trevor Bauer. The team can’t afford to make $100 million mistakes, particularly on someone with questionable character traits. Votto yes, Bauer no.

        As for other re-signings, I understand moving on from Barnhart, as you shouldn’t be paying that much for a backup catcher. I’d like to see Nick C. back, he’s a big part of the middle of this lineup. I’ll be ticked off if they don’t bring Miley back. He’s worth every penny of his reasonable option.

        If Barnhart’s departure helps to keep Miley here, it’s a good trade off.

  21. CI3J

    Although he acknowledged the uncertainty surrounding upcoming labor talks and a new collective bargaining agreement for Major League Baseball, Castellanos said last month that the 2021 season with the Reds was “the most consistent, happiest I’ve been playing baseball.”

    Apparently, not happy enough. I don’t fault Nick at all for betting on himself in the free-agent market, a thought did occur to me: What if Nick actually wants to stay in Cincinnati but was told, on no uncertain terms, that if he stayed, he would be traded like Tucker just was? What if the reason for Nick opting out, besides just money, was so he could have some control over where he’s playing baseball next year, instead of the Reds making that decision for him?

    It’s entirely speculation, but given Krall’s words yesterday, would anyone be surprised if this story eventually emerged?

    • Luke J

      I’ll play the “What if” game: What if that quote means Nick has every intention of re-signing with the Reds and they have already discussed possible terms? The fact that he opted out doesn’t mean he won’t be a Red. So your comment that he wasn’t “happy enough” is a bit premature. At least wait until we know something more.

      Now don’t take that to mean I think that is a likely outcome, but it certainly isn’t out of the question given Nick’s quote.

    • Redsvol

      I think its much more likely that it means Boras told him he can make much more money by opting out. Much simpler explanation. And lets face it, highly paid and highly skilled athletes are usually motivated by one thing – $. I don’t blame him one bit. I just think its silly to get all worked up and come up with reasons why its something more.

      • Alan Horn

        I agree. The Reds might have offered a sweeter deal but we will likely never know and if so, it wasn’t enough.

  22. indyDoug

    Don’t forget they have a lot of increased salary coming up with arbitration-eligible players.

  23. RedsGettingBetter

    In less than 72 hours since WS ends, the Reds lost 2 key players: an All-star and a strong one … Everything is going very fast… Could Wade Miley and Sonny Gray be the next ones?

  24. LDS

    I’d still like to hear Castellanos’ honest comments on the Reds management. I wonder about the role the Bell extension played into his decision if any. His past comments suggest that he wants to win and nothing the Reds have shown since he’s been with them suggests that they agree with him.

  25. Scott

    If we need to cut payroll then so be it. It just seems to me that we should be getting more for the players we are dumping. A low A guy hitting .180 seems pretty weak for a proven MLB player and likely starter. I think that is the difference between the Reds and other cost conscience teams. I dont think we have received appropriate value for the guys we have traded.

    • Alan Horn

      Agree. Tucker Barnhart has a lot more value than the almost nothing we got for him. It was another salary dump pure and simple. You are never going to produce a winner operating like that. The bottom line is money, not winning. That message has been sent loud and clear over and over.

      • Doc

        Value is what a willing buyer is willing to pay a willing seller, nothing more and nothing less.

        The Reds, in effect, got $7.5MM and a former 2nd round draft choice for Barnhart.

      • Alan Horn

        How did they get 7.5 million when all they had to do was decline his option and pay 500,000? The former 2nd round draft choice looks like a sure fire bust. Plus he plays 3B. We need outfielders, not infielders.

      • Votto4life

        Alan, I couldn’t agree more. Every time the Reds dump salary there are some apologists here who are quick to cite Tampa Rays as a system to emulate.

        I promise you Tampa would have handled Tucker Barnhart a bit differently. Tampa Would have dealt Tucker last July and would have received a lot more in return.

      • earmbrister

        So, V4L, the Reds should have traded Barnhart in July during the race for the playoffs? That would be met with condemnation from fans and Reds players alike.

        Atlanta just proved that the most important element in winning a WS is just making the playoffs, no mattter your regular season record.

    • Luke J

      The Reds couldn’t risk picking up his option and then not trading him and being stuck with a $7.5 million bill for a backup catcher. So their only realistic options were not to pick up his option and pay $500,000 buyout, or trade him before the option and try to get $500,000 in value back. You are looking at the wrong numbers. It was never about trading him for 1:1 value. That wasn’t the situation the Reds were in. It was about mitigating the cost of letting him go, because they had no intention on paying him to be a backup. If Stephenson wasn’t in the picture, it would have been very different. THEN they would have been in a position to risk trying to trade him for value. Stephenson meant they didn’t have to take that risk. And like it or not, avoiding risk has great value.

      • Alan Horn

        I don’t see him as a backup. With the DH, I saw him as the catcher close to half of the time with Stephenson playing 1B and DHing. Tucker could DH also. With that line of thought he is far from a backup. He was a valuable part of the club for his catching ability (Gold Glove) and ability to handle pitchers. Plus, Stephenson has had some history of being injured and worst case doesn’t need daily wear and tear behind the plate. I think the Reds will regret this decision. 7.5 million was not too much to pay for a player who would essentially be in the lineup at C or DH most days. Before anyone brings up Moose for DH, Barnhart hit 50 points higher and offers superior defense versus basically no defense. Votto would be my DH most days. He will be 38 or 39 next season and at that age is subject to injury. The chance for injury would be reduced if he was the DH. I can already see us with Stephenson injured, Winker injured and Votto injured with all 3 being replaced by dumpster dive jewels.

      • Redsvol

        @Alan – The Rays and A’s front office would like to have a word with you.

    • Votto4life

      Scott, you are exactly right. Everyone wants the Reds to emulate the Tampa Rays. Tampa doesn’t just dump salaries. They get value in return.

      The Reds knew they weren’t going to resign Nick and Tucker. Why keep them so long that you are backed into a corner and are forced to give them away?

      It just doesn’t make sense.

      Imagine what type of return the Reds would have received for Bauer, Iglesias, Castellanos, Barnhart and Miley had they not waited for those players to walk away or put the Reds in a situation where they have to give them away.

      • LWBlogger2

        The only thing that I question in that is “Would Tampa Bay or the A’s have traded Bauer, Iglesias, Castellanos, Barnhart or Miley, while involved in a playoff race?” I agree that the A’s and Rays are much more aggressive in moving players, and as such, they generally receive higher value. What is missing is that when they make such moves they either have a player in their system that can produce at the same, or nearly same level and/or they are pretty much out of contention when they make such moves. I think over the past 2 years, the Reds thought they could make the playoffs, and therefore didn’t want to move those guys. The exception was Iglesias, who during the season prior to moving him, likely wouldn’t have brought much back in a deal due to his performance.

  26. TJ

    Introducing your new right fielder, making $5-$7 million, Tyler Naquin

    • AllTheHype

      Pretty much but if they could get RH bat like McCutchen to platoon there, that output would be close to Castellanos.

      Naquin v RHP .283/.339/.514
      Cutch v LHP .293/.405/.622
      Castell v AHP .309/.362/.576

    • old-school

      If healthy, Winker, Senzel and Naquin( projected $3.4 mil in arbitration)are a solid 3. But still need a 4th righty OF bat to work in with Winker and Naquin and provide depth when someone gets hurt.
      Aquino didnt get it done and neither did Shogo.

    • Alan Horn

      And your CF(for a few days or weeks) Nick Senzel. Then when both are injured we go dumpster diving again.

      • Luke J

        Injuries are a part of sports. Any one can get injured at any time. That’s the nature of the game.

      • Alan Horn

        Some guy argued a while back that there was no such thing as being injury prone. If so, my 73 year old eyes have certainly deceived me over the years. My brother was like that. He broke his arm 3 times and had to give up football. Some folks bodies just don’t hold up as well as some others. That is a fact.

      • Jim Walker

        Mesoraco clearly had deficiencies with his ball and socket joints, i.e. shoulders and hips. 2 surgeries because of injuries then preemptive surgery on another one. If I recall correctly, both hips and 1 shoulder in total.

      • LDS

        If Winker, Senzel, and Naquin are what the Reds have next season, it’s going to be a long season. None of these three have and injury free season under their belt. Neither Winker nor Naquin can hit lefties and thus far it’s not clear what Senzel can do because he spends nearly as much time on the IL as on the field.

  27. Jonathan Linn

    ohh look here come all the “sky is falling” posts…lol. This isn’t the end of the world…lets try not to be pessimistic. We all knew this was going to happen. The real question is…will the Reds come up with the $20+ Million/year that its going to take to sign him? and secondary….is he worth it going into his age 30 season? if he signs a 5 year deal…his age 34-35 seasons may not be very productive and then we will all be complaining about his dead salary…lol

    • Doc

      They aren’t trying to be pessimistic, it comes naturally to them. It’s always the same comments, week after week, year after year. Probably have a file of comments and just change a player or FO name now and then to make it look as though some thought were injected.

      If ever they are neutral or positive, then you’ll know they were trying something unnatural.

    • BigRedMike

      Yep, Reds fans are upset that a player opted out, which was his option, not a decision the Reds made.
      A fan base that thinks a player like Barnhart should be paid due to what he has meant to the organization.
      The Reds were in the top half of payroll last year and act like the owner doesn’t spend money.
      Think that spending money on average players means they are trying to win, Moose, Akiyama, the angst over Iglesias and Bradley.
      Reds already have a fairly high salary base at this point, not a lot of room to make improvements.

  28. TR

    My prediction is Starling Marte will be the replacement for NC in right field on Opening Day with a two year contract.

    • Jim Walker

      Why Marte out of the various possibilities? Not saying agree or don’t just wondering why him over say why not Cutch who was just declined or Duvall who may well be declined etc

      • TR

        Your right, it could be any of those in right field with Winker in left field and Senzel/Naquin sharing center and Schrock and AA as backups.

    • Votto4life

      I think you guys are being way too optimistic about Nick’s replacement. I don’t think it will be Marte, McCutchin, Duvall or anyone of that ilk. It most likely will be Aquino or someone who gets released next Spring.

      If the Reds were going for a big ticket free agent they would just sign Nick.

  29. AJ from Hamilton

    I’m pretty sure Duvall goes to arbitration with the Braves, unless he signs a two or three year deal with them first. They like him and he likes them. I’d be OK with a Marte, Schwarber, Soler, or Conforto, or even McCutchen. It would be nice to get someone with a better glove than Nick C.

    I will miss Nick C.’s intensity, but he was not very good defensively, and his home-away splits (23 HR and 72 RBI at home; 11 HR and 28 RBI away) suggest that he was helped a great deal by GABP, which is likely to inflate the power numbers of other corner outfielders who will probably come at less than half his cost. If the money differential helps them improve the bullpen, sign some combination of Winker-Mahle-Castillo to long-term contracts), and maybe add a swiss army knife type player, like but less expensive than Chris Taylor, I would be fine with that.

    • Redsvol

      Duvall is no longer in the arbitration class. He earned his freedom and can opt out of a mutual option with the contract he signed with the Marlins.

      But I like your thinking on the outfield situation. Loved Nick C. – but he isn’t going to age well because his defense stinks and he is already slow. We need to bring in 1-2 free agent outfielders who can platoon, play respectable defense, and high left handers. There are a few out there and it doesn’t appear they will be too expensive. But I think almost every team is going to wait until the CBA is finalized.

      If I were the Reds, I would use the moment to be shrewd – while everyone was waiting for the CBA, I’d go out there and lock up 2 of those free agent outfielders before December 1st – even if it meant I had to decline the Miley option.

      • AJ from Hamilton

        Well, I keep reading that Duvall is not really a free agent and is eligible for arbitration:

        Could be incorrect, I guess, but my reading of the situation is that Duvall declined his option knowing that he’d get more money from the Braves in arbitration. I suppose they could just release him but they won’t do that. In any event, I like YOUR thinking about maybe swooping in and snagging an OF or two before Dec. 2. You have to wonder a little about Schwarber coming back to SW Ohio, though there’s not much glove there and he probably would be too expensive.

  30. David

    Maybe a word on Tucker Barnhart, and Johnny Edwards.

    Who was Johnny Edwards? Well, the regular catcher for the Reds before Johnny Bench took over the job fulltime in the 1969 season (they split catching in 1968).

    Tucker Barnhart in 8 seasons with the Reds
    Slg- .371
    OPS – .696

    Johnny Edwards in 7 seasons with the Reds
    BA – 0.246
    OBP – 0.314
    Slugging – .0.370
    OPS – .684

    Johnny Edwards played parts of the next seven years with St Louis (1 year) and Houston (6 years). His numbers continued to decline from mediocrity.
    Should the Reds have kept Johnny Edwards as “insurance” behind Johnny Bench?

    I am not saying Tyler Stephenson is the next Johnny Bench, but he is a much more talented offensive player than Tucker ever was. I liked Tucker a lot; he was a good game caller and a good guy. But his present offensive numbers are going to decline from where they have been.
    I foresee Tyler catching 140-150 games next season, barring injury. Filling the roster for the 24th, 25th or 26th man is not the essential worry for the Reds.
    Pitching is ALWAYS the central reason why teams win.

    • RedSeaHorse

      David, you are incorrect about Bench and Edwards splitting catching time in 1968. Edwards was in St. Louis in 1968, having been traded there for catcher Pat Corrales after the 1967 season. Corralles backed up Bench through the 1971 season when Bill Plummer became back up catcher for several seasons. Bench came up late in the 1967 season–and caught regularly–until an injury finished his 1967 season. Bench was NL Rookie of the Year in 1968–and never split catching duties with anyone–including Edwards.

    • Jim Walker

      Growing up as a kid catcher, Edwards was my early teen years baseball hero.

      Edwards won the NL gold glove in consecutive seasons, 1963 and 1964. He also was an NL all star in 3 consecutive seasons (1963-65) and had an OPS+ of 100 or greater in all 3 of those seasons.

      In the spring of 1966 Edwards suffered a hand injury was never the same player offensively afterward. However, contemporary reports say his defense suffered little or none long term.

      In his 4 seasons as a regular prior to the injury, Edwards accumulated 11 bWAR. He ended his career with a net of 14.7 bWAR.

      As a Red, Edwards OPS+ was 87 (because of his disastrous 1966-67 after the hand injury). Barnhart leaves the Reds with an OPS+ of 83.

    • Jim Walker

      I’d be surprised if either Barnhart or Stephenson catch as many as 130 games next year. Teams just don’t push catchers like that anymore. Barnhart’s top season for appearances as a catcher to date was 2018 when he caught in 118 games. That’s the only season he has exceeded 110 games as a catcher

      Buster Posey is probably an applicable template for Stephenson. Posey appeared defensively as a catcher in 120+ games only twice in his career, 121 in his age 26 season and 123 in his age 29 season. In his full seasons, he averaged in the mid 20s in game appearances as a 1B.

    • greenmtred

      Edwards and Barnhart were (are) excellent defensive catchers. When Edwards was replaced by Bench, the Reds had a better hitter and didn’t sacrifice defense. The same cannot be said in the current instance, though Stevenson may well become a very good catcher. The position is too important defensively to judge catchers only–or mostly–by their hitting ability.

    • LWBlogger2

      The 140-150 games just isn’t reasonable. Sorry, that’s not how catchers are handled nor have many caught that number of games over the last few years. I agree that Stephenson should get the majority of games and agree with everything else you put forth. Just wanted to point that 110-120 games is more reasonable, assuming a healthy season.

      In 2021, Christian Vazquez made 132 appearances behind the dish to lead MLB. Salvador Perez (124) and Martin Maldanado (123) were the only other catchers with over 120 appearances behind the plate. Seven more catchers caught in more than 110 games.

      In 2019, JT Realmuto made 133 appearances (130 starts) behind the plate to lead the league. Yasmani Grandal made 124 appearances at Catcher and no other Catcher made more than 120. Only 3 other Catchers caught more than 110 games.

      2018 was pretty much the same story with Wilson Contreras making 133 appearances (123) starts behind the plate to lead MLB. Yadi Molina and Jonathan Lucroy were the only others making more than 120 appearances behind the plate and only 5 other catchers made at least 110 starts behind the dish across MLB that year.

    • VegasRed

      The Reds could and should replace castellanos for less money and perhaps equal or better production so I’m not crying over this one. Whoever signs him will most likely get a guy who won’t match his best season ever as he had inflated home splits due to ballpark efffect.

      Soled would be a great pick up as would Duvall. Soler is fast still and has a ring and WS experience. Duvall hits for higher average with guys on base and there will be plenty of base runners for either to drive in. Matte is also a possibility. The bigger questions are whether the reds will shell out for an accomplished RH power hitter and will anyone with options want to play for tinker and the reds ownership.

      At least the ballpark is a huge lure and could set up a guy for a big future contract like it did Casty.

      By my observation of past behavior, the reds will dumpster dive and pay for bounce back year by some player that sucks or is on the downside of his career.

      But Casty is replaceable if the reds are trying to win and they will need a RH bat with all the LH dominant lineups due to current personnel.

      Lots of complaints about fan pessimism on here but what do you think of the pessimism of ownership who don’t even appear to be interested in trying to win?

      Too many fans on here are all too willing to excuse cost cutting by the cry poor owners and no wonder the stadium isn’t packed. The owners have no credibility anymore and Krall is all but admitting that payroll is what the organization cares about.

      At any rate the reds could compete without breaking the bank but I don’t see any real inclination to do so.

      • Votto4life

        Vegas Red, well said. My pessimism doesn’t come from the Barnhart trade. It comes from the past two decades.

        Nick Krall would do better by just not talking at all. Does he really think “aligning of resources with our payroll” is something the Reds fan base wants to hear?

        Read the room Nick Krall!

      • Alan Horn

        The Reds could replace some of or all of NC’s offense if 2 things happen. I fully expect India to hit around 30 HRs this coming season. That is 8 or so more than the past season. If he goes over 30 that is even better. The next if piece (and it is a big if) is Barreo. He hasn’t hit yet at the ML level and the Reds have to put him on the field for an extended time. He started late with the bat at both AA and AAA. If his bat picks up and he hits around 20 HRs, then between him and India you have replaced NC HR total and likely most of his RBIs. They still need to go out and get a RH bat like Garcia to add to the mix. We would be back in business without trading any of our starters just yet.

      • A

        Add to that any additional offense Stephenson will bring by playing more and with a year of experience.

  31. SOQ

    It will be difficult to replace Nick’s “Swagger”

  32. Pablo

    Nick will always have a special place in our hearts for his “Let’s bleeping go!!” to the hated Cards.

  33. Votto4life

    Saw some talking heads suggesting the Mets could obtain Sonny Gray for Andres Giminez because “the reds need a young shortstop” and Gray would “fit nicely” in the Mets rotation. You don’t say. (Eyeroll)

    • AllTheHype

      Really? Those talking heads don’t even know which organization Giminez is in? Odd.

  34. AllTheHype

    Sheesh, the Reds really waived Miley and let him be picked up by the Cubs? He had more value than just giving him away, and to a division rival no less.

    The last 1 year of FO decisions under Krall have been dreadful.

    • AllTheHype

      Christmas came early for the Cubbies. Bye Sonny.


    I understand having to get the payroll down. So there wasnt to much you can do about Castellanos, but trading Barnhart for nothing and letting Miley go for nothing. Krall got nothing for Iglesias last off season. Do the Reds need a better general manager? I think so. I’m sure Sonny Gray is next. If the owners cant spend the money to put a winner on the field please sell the team.

  36. Bill J

    Just seen Miley claimed on waivers by the Cubs from the Reds.