Sunday afternoon was the deadline for teams around Major League Baseball to extend a qualifying offer to impending free agents. This year the offer was for $18.4M and there were 14 players who were offered the 1-year deal by their team. Among that group of 14 players was Cincinnati Reds outfielder Nick Castellanos.

On Thursday, Nick Castellanos opted out of his contract that would have kept him around for two more seasons at $16,000,000 per season. There was also a buy out for $2,000,000 for a third season – meaning he left $34,000,000 on the table to pursue free agency.. He is coming off of his best season at the plate in his career, hitting .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.

The qualifying offer, assuming that it is turned down, will net the Reds a draft pick next summer. Where that draft pick falls depends on the contract that is signed by Castellanos with his new team. A contract worth less than $50,000,000 will net Cincinnati a draft pick following the 2nd round. A contract signed for more than $50,000,000 will net the Reds a draft pick following the 1st round.

There had been 96 total qualifying offers extended since the practice was put in place. Just 10 players have accepted it. It seems incredibly unlikely that Nick Castellanos will make it 11. He has until November 17th to decide whether or not to accept it.

Here are the other players who were extended a qualifying offer this year:

  • Brandon Belt
  • Michael Conforto
  • Carlos Correa
  • Freddie Freeman
  • Raisel Iglesias
  • Robbie Ray
  • Eduardo Rodriguez
  • Corey Seager
  • Marcus Semien
  • Trevor Story
  • Noah Syndergaard
  • Chris Taylor
  • Justin Verlander

Not that the Reds were likely going to spend the money it would require to sign any of these guys, but just in case you had delusions of grandeur, you can really write these guys off of the list of players that Cincinnati will be going after. They did say, just this week, that they need to align payroll with resources and focus on scouting and development. That means no spending money and no giving up draft picks.

33 Responses

  1. Alan Horn

    I think we we get what most expected. A high draft choice. I think they should pivot to Garcia of the Brewers. The Brewers didn’t extend him a QO.
    I doubt they will even consider it though.

  2. CI3J

    I’d love to see Nick take the QO just to see the heads in the Reds’ front office explode.

    “WHAT?!?!? No, you can’t DO that!!!!”

    • Jim Walker

      {snark on}
      There is always the waiver wire if no one is interested in taking him off the Reds hands at $18.4m for 1 year no other strings attached. {snark off}

  3. Jim Walker

    Interesting that the RedSox passed on Kyle Schwarber for a QO after JD Martinez exercised his player option to stay with Boston for about $1m more than the QO offer amount.

    Even if the Reds were spending money, I don’t see Schwarber as a fit for them because they are already too LH at the plate. However, his and Avisail Garcia’s (also not offered as noted above) situations suggests there may some good hitters available on the relative cheap in free agency..

    • Jimbo44CN

      I would like to see Schwarber here. Local guy plus hes and outfielder and can play 1st. Lot to like there.

      • TR

        Schwarber’s a hitter. He’d look good as the Red’s DH.

    • AllTheHype

      Schwarber was not eligible to receive QO

      • Doc

        Isn’t his defense even worse than Casty’s?

    • BK

      I like the idea of signing Schwarber in spite of his porous defense. He can flat out hit and while a LH hitter, he hits LHP, too.

    • RedsGettingBetter

      I´d like Chris Taylor from the list above to fit in Reds OF as replacing option for Castellanos but after writing him off as choice, I think Mark Canha could be an intriguing player to consider so Oakland did not offer him a QO and as long as will not offer him an extension contract either

    • Hotto4Votto

      IMO, Marte is the guy who fits like a glove on this roster. RH hitter with some pop and on-base skills that can slot into the middle of our order and play CF. But it feels like a pipe dream that the Reds sign anyone of note in FA. Hope they surprise me because we need to fill the hole Castellanos creates in our lineup and that guy is not currently in the organization.

  4. Jim Walker

    Basically Castellanos has 10 days to gauge his options with the knowledge that he can always fall back on the QO for 2022 (~$2m more than the 2022 salary he opted out of) and be a totally unencumbered FA this time next year. However, if he takes the offer batten down the hatches for a real CBA Armageddon.

  5. Redsvol

    At least we haven’t totally lost our minds. I do find it odd that several names in that list were extended QO’s. Comforto and Belt are not 18$ million players and aren’t going to be signed to big $ contracts. And why would anyone think syndergaard and a 40 year old verlander are going to bounce back to what they were. Seems like they could have been had for much less $. Those moves don’t smack of owners having difficulty making ends meet.

    • Frankie Tomatoes

      Brandon Belt’s last 2 years have him at 148 games, 38 home runs, and a 988 OPS/165 OPS+. That’s elite-level offense. He probably won’t get 5 years but he will certainly do better than the qualifying offer.

      Michael Conforto is interesting. He was real good from 2017-2020, but fell off big in 2021. Still in his 20’s though and odds are someone is very likely to pay him more than the qualifying offer though probably not per year.

  6. Redsvol

    At least we haven’t totally lost our minds. I do find it odd that several names in that list were extended QO’s. Comforto and Belt are not 18$ million players and aren’t going to be signed to big $ contracts. And why would anyone think syndergaard and a 40 year old verlander are going to bounce back to what they were. Seems like they could have been had for much less $. Those moves don’t smack of owners having difficulty making ends meet.

  7. LDS

    Hey, at least the Reds minor leagues have some talent. Most aren’t ready for the majors but that at least something to watch. The big club? Looking increasingly unlikely.

  8. Mark

    I think we should pursue Garcia for CF and Schwarber for RF of course it won’t happen

  9. Klugo

    God, I just wish there was something the players could do in the new CBI to pressure the owners into being more competitive. I just cant believable the promises that Castellini and how terribly he’s underdelivered.

    • Jim Walker

      Owners are offering a floor but want a ceiling somewhat harder (and lower) than the current CBT.

      Players want a floor but higher and softer CBT structure.


  10. LDS

    The Dodgers proved this year that a team can’t necessarily buy a championship. The players and owners are both greedy. And both are striving to slay the golden goose. It isn’t hard to ask whether $40m/year is economically rational. I’d like to see MLB’s antitrust exemption lifted and introduce competition into ownership and talent. But hey I’m a dinosaur.

    • David

      Greedy may be a satisfying word for fans to use, because none of us make anywhere close to that kind of money, and certainly aren’t multi-millionaire owners.
      But the collective bargaining agreement is supposed to bring some stability to the sport, and it will be a rough road to get there.
      There are the really rich teams that have a lot of money, fill the stadiums, and have very profitable TV networks. The Dodgers, the Angels, the Cubs, the Yankees, the Red Sox, the Mets, maybe the Giants too. Probably can throw in Houston, maybe the White Sox. Are there any others that fall in that category?
      The other side of the ownership group would like some profit sharing.
      Some of them want a salary cap. The rich teams want neither.
      The Players want a percentage of what MLB is making. Something like the NBA.
      And some other things regarding free agency, likely a shorter period of seasons from entering the majors to reaching free agency.
      Everybody wants “more”. And who knows how it will come out?

      Schwarber is a terrible outfielder. Maybe he could be a DH somewhere?
      Castellanos was going to test the market; don’t blame the Reds exclusively for the way his contract was structured. That was part of the price they were willing to pay to get him to play in Cincinnati for a couple of seasons.

      • Alan Horn

        Covid was the only reason it was a couple of seasons. Basically, it would have been a one year contract otherwise unless he under performed.

      • michael

        Excellent points David. If the players want stability they need to look at the NBA model which seems to have stabilized their labor market.

        I think the real issue is that compared to the NBA and NFL, the MLB has such a wide range of revenue between teams because the bigger money seems to be in the regional TV contracts. Unless the large market teams are willing to add that to revenue sharing treating it like the NFL national deal or NBA national deal I do not think we will see any long term stability.

      • LDS

        Since teams don’t have to disclose their finances as a public corporation does, it’s mostly smoke and mirrors. Ownership groups shouldn’t have to “profit share” and sorry if you’re making tens and hundreds of millions of dollars over your career, I’m a bit short of sympathy. Is it hard to compete at the major league level? Absolutely. But at the end of the day, it’s still a game. It’s not like the day-to-day drudgery of the average fans’ job which pays substantially less but in the end is far more economically valuable than a professional ballplayers. Should they be paid for their entertainment value? Sure. However, it seems clear that the cost of MLB generally is growing more rapidly than fans’ disposable income. The economic model underlying professional sports is starting to look shaky. Revenue sharing, antitrust protection, favorable tax treatment, etc. minimize market effects in the short run but only the short run. Try running your household that way and see how long before you’re bankrupt.

  11. Klugo

    How bad would it irk the Reds FO if he actually accepted the QO?

    • greenmtred

      We don’t know. It depends upon the plan, if they have one. The plan just might be to spend as little money as possible, but there’s a slim chance that reallocating resources means committing to the good young(cheap) players in the organization and spending some money on one or two good free agents. It’s easy to forget, in the midst of this turbulence, that the Reds actually have some good players.

      • CFD3000

        Green Mountain: Thank you for that reminder. We’ve been all gloom and doom over Barnhart and Miley especially, and I agree the Miley decision should have been handled better, but the Reds do have very good players (Votto, India, Winker, Stephenson), and several more who could be very good (Barrero, Suarez, Senzel, Naquin). They need good health and maybe a little good fortune from that second group, and they probably have holes to fill – especially Castellanos’ right field right handed masher shoes – but this is not a dumpster diving roster. And despite losing Miley there is still a lot of depth at SP (Castillo, Gray, Mahle, Santillan, Gutierrez and of course Greene and Lodolo). The bullpen needs attention of course. But these moves were dictated by the calendar. Ask me again in March and we’ll see which way the Reds wind blows.

      • Hotto4Votto

        Reallocating money saved last off-season from salary dumps amounted to Doolittle. As much I want to hope this year is different, nothing they’ve done so far merits that kind of hope.

      • greenmtred

        What they’ve done so far and in the recent past does not merit much hope, for sure. But the probably wrong theory would hold that they are trying to get younger and have been waiting for more of the young guys to be ready before spending money on players outside the organization. Reading over this, I will agree with anyone who doubts that this scenario is about to play out.

  12. Roger Garrett

    Means nothing of course.Reds surrendered on Tucker and Miley by just letting them go pretty much.Laughing stock of the league while still trying to convince what few fans,soon to be even fewer, that they really are trying to compete.Only saving grace is the Cubs and Bucs will be just as bad but at least they will do it with young players while we send out the over the hill gang especially in the infield.14 hoppers will make it to outfield on both sides unless India can get it cause Moose,Eugenio, Farmer and Joey won’t.

  13. Still a Red

    So let’s see. They’re saving $17M on next year’s budget by not picking up Tuckers and Miley’s options. Give it all to Castellanos…that would put him a $33M…probably more one year salary than he would get anywhere else…of course, he’d probably want a longer term agreement…but then don’t forget Joey’s $25M/yr contract will expire soon. Make him your new long pole in the tent.

  14. Steve Schoenbaechler

    So far, as far as I’m concerned, I could see everything except the Reds not keeping Miley. I thought for sure they would keep him around. Maybe that means the Reds this Ladolo is further along than we all think. I still would have rather have had Miley.

    Tucker and Tyler, one of them was either going to move to a new position or move to a new team. So, I’m not surprised with that.

    And, I’m not surprised with Nick. I was hoping he would stay. But, I’m not surprised.

    As far as any money goes, I’m willing to see what comes from it all. I mean, are we going to cut contracts just to go the way of the Tampa Bay Rays? Or, are we still going to sprinkle in some real players in there?

    I would have liked to have kept Blandino around. But, that is low priority on the totem pole.