Nick Castellanos has turned down the Cincinnati Reds qualifying offer of 1-year, $18,400,000 and he will become a free agent. This was first reported by Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

The news shouldn’t come as much of a shock to anyone. After opting out of the remaining two years of his contract that guaranteed him $34,000,000 it was apparent that Castellanos was going to test the free agent market. By declining the qualifying offer the Cincinnati Reds will either get a draft pick after the 1st round or after the 2nd round. If he signs a deal worth more than $50,000,000 the pick will come after the 1st round in the next draft. If the deal is worth less than $50,000,000 then Cincinnati will get an additional draft pick after the 2nd round.

ESPN’s Kiley McDaniels (former scout, former Atlanta front office member) thinks that it will actually be close as to whether the Reds land a 1st or 2nd round pick. In his latest projection of the top 50 free agents ($$) he pegs Nick Castellanos to sign a 3-year deal worth $54,000,000.

If you think that feels light for a hitter coming off of a .309/.362/.576 season with 38 doubles and 34 home runs, you may not be alone. Historically that kind of season gets a guy paid better than a 3-year deal at that price. But McDaniels notes that a longer deal may leave teams concerned that his approach doesn’t play as well as he ages and his bat slows down. We’ll have to wait and see how this one plays out over the next few months (or perhaps even longer if we wind up seeing the owners lock out the players over the winter without a collective bargaining agreement in place).

Reds hire Jeremy Farrell, promote Casey Weathers

The Cincinnati Reds announced that they had hired Jeremy Farrell and promoted Casey Weathers to help run the farm system. Farrell is coming over from the Chicago Cubs organization and he will be taking over as the Director of Player Development – a role that was left vacant for much of the minor league season when Eric Lee left the organization in June. Casey Weathers has been promoted from within the organization where he was working in Goodyear at the complex level of the farm to be the co-pitching coordinator and work alongside Bryan Conger, who held the role by himself in the 2021 season. You can read a bit more about the two moves at

56 Responses

  1. Melvin

    Casty turned it down?… Shocking. Maybe like Jim said he would be afraid of being put on waivers. Hahaha

  2. Steven Duncan

    If I’m the Reds I would offer him 3 years/ $49 Million. It seems like a win win. Either he accepts the offer and we get him back or he turns it down and uses it as leverage to get $50 million+ contract and we get first round pick.

    • Gonzo Reds

      That’s a solid thought, we want to guarantee a first rounder and this forces the price (at least before the Dec 1st lockout) to above $50M. Now if he is unsigned on Dec 1st it’s quite possible he signs around spring training 2023 (assuming no baseball in 2022) and takes what he’s given which might be a one year $20M contract or a multi-year < 50M.

      Of course, this owner/FO have no clue and have no interest in winning and will thus do no such thing.

    • AllTheHype

      mlbtraderumors has Castellanos predicted at 5/115. They are usually in the ballpark with their predictions.

      • Tom Reeves

        I think that’s sound. If I were the Reds I’d make that 5/115 deal.

  3. CI3J

    I also think McDaniels is completely wrong. Castellanos is going to get something more like 4 years, $80 million. I’d say the Reds’ 1st round pick is guaranteed unless something really weird goes down.

    • Alan Horn

      I agree and it probably will result in few if any championships.

    • Alan Horn

      I think we will definitely get the draft pick after the 1st round.

  4. Old-school

    Bobby nightengale has an article up on Jon India and how he will be a focal point to build the team around.

    Per Nightengale, India and Castellanos have become close friends and are hitting together this offseason.

    Nightengale quotes sources saying the Reds arent expected to compete with the suitors chasing Castellanos in FA.

    The Reds arent signing any big righty hitters or established productive OF or high profile in demand bullpen arms.

    2023 is a losing year with old slow expiring big contract aging veterans in 40 yo Votto 36 yo moose and rapidly aging and slowing Suarez and 2022 wont be much better. On to 2024 reboot. The Reds have no committed money beyond Suarez after 2023 other than votto and Moose buyouts. By 2024 castillo will be a $100 million pitcher or injured and ineffective with no value so the Reds will look at trading gray castillo and perhaps even Winker and Mahle for young talent that fits the new 2024 next good winning team

    What a great decade for the rebuild that wasnt.

    • Alan Horn

      I would imagine most players want to flee the Reds either via trade of free agency. No player wants to play for a loser which isn’t trying to win. That sentiment goes all the way down to almost the lowest level of youth league baseball. Tee ball players might not have realized it yet. I dont’ understand Votto. He can make the same salary and play for a winner. Surely he has that desire.
      Bear Byrant said a tie is like kissing your sister. You can only imagine what he thought about losing. That mindset either is or is not ingrained in someone or an organization.

      • AC

        Most players are completely excited to play for whomever will pay them the most money. That has been proven time and again, year after decade.

    • DataDumpster

      I tend to agree with most of your comments and this one as well but I’m not sure they will completely tank the team to risk that no one will care by the time 2024 rolls around. Expect a season like first year Bell (75-87) and maybe a run at the ejection record. I see Castillo as the only one with significant excess trade value but even then only $5 mill or so in the next 2 years. They will try to bank that somehow or supplement with minimal new talent.
      Really, they don’t have much choice. Without a new GM/manager combo, and the removal of sunk cost Moose and Joey from the ledger, the opportunity to shine just expired. Think of all the good things that happened this year and what was achieved in the weak division. If only we had more good relievers, we would have still finished in 3rd place. Some nice young players to watch, some renewed confidence in the farm system for Doug to report, and maybe some worthwhile changes to the game itself next year.

      • old-school

        I don’t think a tank necessarily but a reboot to align the new core of with a new nucleus of players 23-28 with the future of pitching surrounding Greene and Lodolo.

        They wont commit to a budget ~145 mil in 2022/23 that’s needed to compete in the NL central and beat St Louis with their corner infield combo and 5 gold glovers.

        Sonny Gray has no role with this team as a playoff SP and they better figure out what the plan is after 2023- and hopefully its lots of youth and pitching with new speed and new defense. Castillo/Mahle/and Winker will be free agents after 2023 and Votto and Moose will be done as well with a slower older Suarez with one leg out the door. With the DH coming I could see an extension with winker but Mahle’s splits in GABP are huge and they need to figure out long term if that’s a deal breaker and with Castillo’s exploding salary in 2022/23… creates the need for a decisive forward-thinking action plan this off-season. Letting expiring old aging veterans play out their careers on 77-80 win teams while good players in their prime play out their arbitration years on the same 77-80 win teams before hitting FA creates a vacuum for 2024 and a terrible plan absent a commitment to winning.

      • AllTheHype

        @old – Agree with your thinking but the Reds need to commit, either 22 or 24. If 24, then don’t build luke-warm 22-23 teams that keep valued chips on the roster instead of cashing them in for prime prospects that will expand the foundation of the 24 team. That is the Walt Jocketty method…..hold on to Cueto and others til there’s little value left, and little return in trade.

      • old-school

        @ ATH- I think we agree. The Reds payroll will tell everyone if they are competing in 2022-23 and it appears its a big no. If Jim is correct and they are having some sort of cash flow crisis and thus the #1 off-season priority is to slash payroll to a lower number whether it be $120 or $115 or whatever…. Regardless…they aren’t committing to winning the NL Central in 2022 and 2023 will be worse. If RLN thinks the Reds were old and slow and station to station baseball in 2021, wait till Moose and Votto and Suarez in 2023. Forget stopwatches, get the sundial.

        Unless something drastic happens with payroll- its on to 2024 and build the roster around that window and trade Gray now and decide which of the 2023 Big 3 Arb eligible players should be extended and which should be traded. That’s about the only 4 players with significant value who need decisions made sooner rather than later.

      • AllTheHype

        If I’m committed to 24, I’m trading Winker/Castillo/Mahle now at peak value and loading the farm with ’23-’25 MLB prospects. All had good years and should be in demand.

        None of them is an extension candidate in my view. Castillo will be too expensive. Winker is a righty masher coming off career year, but ultimately just a platoon bat with a long injury history. Mahle is a regression candidate due to mediocre off speed and lack of pitch to contact.

        Trading those three should yield a top 3 farm system overall if done right.

      • JaxDan

        @ath, either try for it in 22 or sell for 24. I agree. Here are some players that I would go after for 24

        Vaughn & Cespedes with CWS
        Marsh & Detmer LAA
        Florian, Garcia, Gil NYY
        Hassell,Gore and Wood SD
        Matos & Ramos SF
        Casas Bos

  5. RedsGettingBetter

    If there were money to spend, they could offer to Castellanos a 3-year $66M deal but including a club optout in 3rd year with $2M buyout and Club option $18M for the 4th year, that said there is no player options anymore… If he doesn’t like it , nothing to do ..bye bye.
    Didn’t club optout exist in contracts?

  6. Tomn

    Darn. It was great having Castellanos on the Reds. Great guy and had great seasons. That being said, I still like the nucleus of really good, exciting young players from last year and those who should be ready this year (Greene, especially). I’m not giving up. Maybe I need to take off my rose-colored glasses. But after all these years, hope still springs eternal…

  7. Beaufort Red

    I’m more a glass half full person. Castellanos had a fantastic year, but his home road splits were problematic. He had some really good years with Detroit but other than that he doesn’t justify an extended contract over several years. The Reds have been burned numerous times with these deals. Like I say , large payroll teams can dump their mistakes, small market teams can’t. And I see a gnashing of the teeth over Tucker and Miley. Well everyone here was clamoring for Stephenson and now is his turn to shine. Miley was fun but everyone has screamed for Greene and Lodolo and now it’s their time to step up. If you have enough optimism in both, then package Gray with Moose, realizing we’ll probably still have to eat some his contract. So let’s see, Castellanos 16 million, Gray 10 million, AG 1.5 million, Hoffman .5 million, Lorenzon 4 million, Tucker 4 million, Aquino .5 million and Cabrera .3 million. I’m sure some of my figures may be off but that frees up almost 37 million for a right fielder and some arbitration and contract wiggle room. Plus we get to see the young players everyone has been screaming to see.

    • JaxDan

      You can add Miley’s 10 million and Tucker was actually 7.5. I personally would not let Hoffman go since his era out of the bullpen was around 3.50. Would love to see the contract of Shogo gone.

  8. DocBB

    I’ve said for a long time that Castellanos and Boras are gonna be disappointed when he finds out what his true market value is on the open market. He is still a poor corner outfielder and benefitted greatly from hitting in GABP. His away OPS is about .770. He had a career year and still only had a 3.3 bWAR which happens to be his highest of his career.

    I thought the most he could get is $20M for 4 or 5 years. So I am much more inclined to side with Kiley McDaniels 3 for $54M than MLBTraderumors absurd 5 for $115M

  9. Jim Walker

    By my quick back of the envelope math the Reds have already dropped about $32M based on 2021 salaries paid to players on the team at the end of the season who are not on the team now. Then there is about another $3-5m paid out to guys who left the team during the season but whose salary was paid in full or part by the Reds.

    So, for simplicity’s sake, let’s say they’ve dropped $35m from 2021 player salaries and are still looking to drop more. This belt tightening, >25% of the 2021 salary payout, goes far beyond just preparing for raises to players going through arbitration whose multi year contract might jump a million or two in 2022 or even “reallocation” unless they suddenly reverse course and take on a medium or large salary (or several).

  10. Bill J

    If the Reds would commit to win and JV was assured of it and cared he would offer to renegotiate his contract to allow more money to get a player that could help. But maybe JV is like a basketball player said when he went to a smaller college, I’d rather be a big fish in a small pond than a small fish in a big pond.

    • AllTheHype

      He would? Who else in MLB has ever done that, just wondering?

      • Old Big Ed

        Todd Helton did it. Votto wouldn’t have to give up money, but instead could just defer some money with interest (ala Bobby Bonilla) over several years. Helps the Reds with cash flow, and potentially helps Votto with taxes.

        I doubt he will do it, but there is a way that it could happen. Personally, I think the smart move for Votto is to figure that interest rates will go up and that he should not do it.

      • AllTheHype

        In 2010, Todd Helton restructured his contract to facilitate a two year contract extension, He received 9.9M in new guarantees. That is not what is asked of Votto here. So I ask, is there an example of ANY MLB player ever restructuring their deal to help a team financially, which was not part of an extension and does not benefit the player? I can’t think of any.

  11. Votto4life

    I love the optimism here. But the Reds FO has no plan. They are not trying to obtain the best young talent for their next window.

    They are just slashing payroll. Plain and simple. There is no plan.

    Bad news everyday with this team.

    • Jim Walker

      I am on the verge of believing the plan is to get the payroll below some (unknown to us) number regardless of who has to go to make that number and that return quality is secondary to return cost being low.

      I believe the team is undercapitalized and for whatever reason not in a position to increase debt or capitalization. In short, they are in a cash flow crisis just like most of us have been in at one time or another in our lives if we have been on this earth long enough.

      • Votto4life

        Jim I think this is spot on. Thank you

      • Old Big Ed

        I tend to agree, because the obvious thing to do is a capital call from the investors. The Reds ought to be in pretty good long-term financial shape; the short-term problem is paying Votto and Moustakas over the next two years, and perhaps Akiyama for one more. Aside from that, they have almost nothing on the books — I think maybe one more year of Suarez.

        It could be that MLB is starting to pressure them to sell. MLB has limits on how much teams can borrow, and it can use those limits as an excuse to force weak owners to sell. While MLB would prefer an owner with Cincinnati ties, it does have potential buyers in mind who have been underbidders for other teams. That is how John Henry’s group got the Red Sox.

        Maybe the Williams clan is balking at putting in more money, and maybe they want to force a Reds sale to cash out their interest in the Reds to deploy toward their real estate interests. Who knows?

      • Alan Horn

        Agree Jim. They really should sell the team and I personally think they will. Why put themselves through all the grief they are going
        to take from the fans until 2024 or 2025. It isn’t going to be pretty.

    • burtgummer01

      Trying to to come up with something as an argument.I got nothing

  12. west larry

    If Kiley McD’s estimate of Castellanos’s value is correct, perhaps the reds could make a competitive bid for his services. How? What if they trade a Castillo/Moose combo for say someone’s 15th best prospect (30 teams,( about the 450th best prospect in baseball} A team like the Padres or Angels might take that deal. Rondon is a great third baseman, but he missies 15% to 20% percent of the games annually due to injury. Moose could be a good backup, once he gets into shape. The reds would then have the resources to bid on Castellano, if they so choose.

    • Optimist

      That’s the bad Castillo deal I commented on in the Castillo thread. The problem is that they would not “so choose”. Just more savings.

    • Doug Gray

      What’s the point in bringing back Nick Castellanos if you aren’t going to still have Luis Castillo?

      • west larry

        They would at least competitive if they brought Nick C back and didn’t further deplete their rooster…but they might just tear it down and rebuild. I won’t hang around for a tear down/rebuild, I’m in my seventies. I guess I’ll have to root for one of the west coast teams if that occurs.

      • Doug Gray

        They had both Castellanos AND Castillo last year and barely finished over .500. Tough sell to me that losing Castillo, Miley, and Barnhart is going to keep them competitive when they finished the year with 83 wins with all of those guys.

      • west larry

        Good points. Your logic makes me feel depressed.

  13. Beaufort Red

    Thanks Jim I figured it was more complex than I thought!

  14. Jim Walker

    Eh, he has to write stuff and generate clicks to get paid. Actually, if all or even several of those guys got traded in thinly veiled salary dumps it would probably be good for Reds followers in the long run because even Manfred would feel compelled to step in and do something about the ownership.

    And some of the landing spots don’t make sense. Toronto is probably the only place Votto would agree to go to at this point; and, as the article (sort of) underlines, they are loaded to a point he doesn’t fit. Boston just let Schwarber walk without even a QO because they were concerned he would take it and cause salary and playing time issues. The Yankees seem to be cost conscious too these days.

    He says nobody would bite on Suárez; and, I think that contract is much more movable than either Moose or Votto and maybe even Winker given that Winker has never lasted past the 120 game point of an MLB season due to injury and Suárez is going to hit 30-35 homers wherever he is which somebody in the DH world might just pay $11m a season for over the 3 guaranteed years (plus a $2M buyout on the last year at 15m)

    • Old Big Ed

      Nick Krall said: “what we don’t want to do is attach a prospect to get rid of money. We’ve done that in the past and it’s not a good strategy for success moving forward.”

      I think what he means by that is that the Reds are not going to give up Elly De La Cruz or any other top prospect, just so they can ditch the admittedly god-awful contract of Mike Moustakas. Krall wasn’t talking about Castillo, whose contract is juicy enough to get a very good prospect back, or even Sonny Gray, whose contract is short and probably fairly priced. He meant Moustakas and to a lesser extent Suarez. The Reds did that with the Homer Bailey contract, and gave up Josiah Gray, who figures to be a very good MLB pitcher now – the Nationals made Josiah Gray the key part of the Max Scherzer trade.

      The Reds’ wanting to keep their own top prospects — rather using them as jail-bait to get rid of Moustakas — is a probably a good long-term sign. It also shows that the Reds know that they are stuck with Moustakas and Suarez for the time being.

  15. old-school

    There are rumors of a massive fire sale in Oakland and the marlins might have Alcantara on the market. That guy was a great pitcher. Id be looking at trading Gray for prospects and trading prospects for Alcantara. Castillo/Mahle/Alcantara would be a solid top 3 with Lodolo and Greene and Ashcraft ready to join that entering their prime starting 3 soon.

    This isnt good for the game.

    • David

      You are probably right, but we have to wrap our heads around the fact that this is the way things are right now.
      A handful of very wealthy teams (Yankees, Mets, Red Sox, Cubs, Dodgers, Angels, Astros, White Sox) can afford to give out SOME big contracts. The rest of the teams are likely going to be frozen out, and have to hope that their young players get good before they get too expensive.
      And I would bet that the new CBA with the MLB will not fix this problem.

    • Old Big Ed

      It’s been the same way in baseball for more than 100 years. The Yankees bought Babe Ruth’s contract from a smaller market team. Connie Mack would build up the Philadelphia A’s, and then sell them off time and again. (The A’s were in a big city but Mack was on a shoestring budget.) The St. Louis Browns and Baltimore Orioles weren’t competitive for decades. The Yankees bought Roger Maris and others from the Kansas City A’s.

      Nothing has changed. The teams in larger markets raise more revenue than the small markets, and they use that additional money to buy better players. The big teams once bought the contract rights of the better players from the weaker teams, and since free agency, they’ve just sign them directly. The A’s doing a fire sale of a big arbitration class is the same thing — their revenues don’t allow them to pay the prices that the Yankees etc. can offer, so the A’s trade those contracts for the contracts of younger players.

      It isn’t going to change. The business operations of the Yankees and Dodgers are worth about 10 times more than that of the Reds, and they likely always will be. If the Reds go hog-wild and spend $240 million for players, the Yankees will just spend $440 million, make tons more money anyway, and eventually money-whip the Reds into submission.

      To make the league work financially, the rules have help compensate enough to give the low-money teams a chance to out-smart the Yankees and Dodgers, who always have a knack for overplaying their hands. The Rays are doing it for now.

      The Reds haven’t hit that sweet spot, but it’s a good bet that the contracts for guys like Votto and Moustakas are things of the past. The farm system is the whole game for the Reds now. Develop them, keep the best ones 5-8 years, and let them go when the time comes.

      • Alan Horn

        I agree and it probably will result in few if any championships.

      • Old-school

        So maybe Jose Garcia needs to start 150 games at SS for the next 2 years and develop over 1000 at bats instead of Kyle Farmer age 31/32 who had a good 2 months?

      • Alan Horn

        Same guy. Different year. I would hope they give Barreo his shot.
        I just don’t where they are coming from. Not just the off season, but ignoring the young players at AAA during the season in favor of the over the hill bunch and unproductive OFs over a large sample size. Moreta as well.

      • Alan Horn

        know where they are coming from. I’m old and it is getting late.
        The time change didn’t help.

  16. Votto4life

    I hope after all the slashing is done that last person to lose a job is Nick Krall. I am pretty confident he won’t be the GM the next time this team is competing for a championship

    • jim m

      Nah he is a yes man he will stay as he is cheap just like aka Bell.. accountability means nothing in cincinnati with tge Reds. They promote guys i never heard of and say what a outstanding job they did. Even when they choke out of the playoffs. 2045 with a new ownership is when fans expect to see a winner and most of us will be dead and never witness it. I hate the Cardinals but i sooooo widh thier owners owned the Reds!!–

      • Doug Gray

        Bob Castellini – former minority owner of the St. Louis Cardinals.