Nick Castellanos took home his first Silver Slugger Award on Thursday night. The now former Cincinnati Reds outfielder was one of three outfielders (Juan Soto and Bryce Harper were the others) to get the nod as one of the best offensive outfielders in the National League.

He hit .309/.362/.576 – good for a 136 OPS+. He also crushed 34 home runs, a triple, and had 38 doubles. When it comes to runs, he was all over it. Castellanos scored 95 runs during the season and he drove in 100 in 138 games played.

The 2021 season was a season of firsts for Nick Castellanos. He made the All-Star team for the first time. He picked up a Silver Slugger Award for the first time. His 34 home runs were the first time that he crossed the 30-homer mark in his career.

“It definitely is gratifying anytime you’re recognized for accomplishing something. It feels good. Also, now I just want to do it again,” Nick Castellanos said on Thursday night after finding out that he had won the award.

But it wasn’t so much what Nick Castellanos had to say about his Silver Slugger Award that stood out among his words to the Cincinnati media on Thursday night. It was what he said about free agency, what he wouldn’t say about the Reds, and what he would.

On playing for a contender

“The most important thing I would say is just the relationship I have and the understanding I have of the organization, of the direction that they want to go in,” said Castellanos. “What direction are you going in? Who is a part of your vision? How do you see them as pieces in your vision? How can I assist in growing and aiding said pieces to be better than they are now? How can I make them better in the future? You know, relationships, if you’re paying attention you can definitely get a sense of who aligns with you, the way you think, the way you want to go about your game, the way you take the game, you just begin to understand who kind of aligns with that and who doesn’t.”

On what he wouldn’t say about the Reds

A follow up to the above quote about playing for a contender was asked. The question was: How do the Reds fit into how you feel and know the direction they’ll go?

“I really value the relationships that I have with the staff and the organization, so I feel like to really go and speak on any of my opinions would be inappropriate, really,” he said. “If it ever came to a time where one on one away from media and all this stuff, ask me my opinion, I’d be happy to be honest. But I don’t think the media is the place for that.”

On whether he would entertain a Reds offer

“Of course I would,” Castellanos said. “Why wouldn’t I? I feel like there’s still a lot of valuable pieces that are very good to win with. Jonathan India, Jesse Winker is coming into his own – figuring out who he is, figuring out what kind of father he wants to be, he’s doing a great job at that. Joey Votto just reinvented himself. We still have pitching. We have pieces. Why wouldn’t I entertain it?”

42 Responses

  1. RedsFan11

    Thanks for the article Doug.

    IMO the reaction across local media outlets and sports figures on Twitter just wreaks of desperation and shows how truly dismal things look.

    because Nick used the word “we” all of the sudden he’s coming back. Nope

  2. LDS

    Never say never and don’t burn bridges but it didn’t sound like a resounding endorsement of the Reds’ direction. Hate to see him leave though it feels more and more like a done deal. I’d love to hear those off the record comments though.

    • Frankie Tomatoes

      We all know what those comments would be though. If he believed they were heading in a good and positive direction then he wouldn’t have said that. He just did not want to say bad things about the organization. And respect to him for that. But if we are all being honest here he knows and we know.

      • 2020ball

        I dont see any reason yet to believe he has a negative opinion about the Reds direction/clubhouse/what have you. That’s easy to assume around here and, of course, assume given what we’ve seen from our FO/ownership lately. But, he probably has a much better insight into any of that than any of us, and we’ve heard no ill will. This interview is all just media speak, and he’s going to dance around any question as expected, as any profession would do. I’m not sure why we’d try and read into any of it.

      • Klugo

        Yup. And Castellini should be ashamed.

    • LDS

      Too many years of listening to corporate media speak and knowing what was behind it. Nothing more. Some may say professional athletes behave differently. I suspect not.

  3. CI3J

    My three thoughts on this:

    1. Congrats to Nick, well-earned reward for an awesome season.

    2. If you are worried that being honest is going to damage your relationship with someone, then you probably have some pretty harsh things to say.

    3. “Entertain” is about as cool of a response you could expect on how you’d react to an offer from a team, and if Nick wants to get paid, he’d be silly to eliminate any teams from the running this early in.

    • JayTheRed

      What a joke the Reds are not going to make any other offer than the one that was declined already.

      Nick C is gone way too many teams are willing to pay him more.

  4. Chris Wheeler

    If I am Winker or India I ask to be traded to a contender. Normally I would be upset at a player doing that but with this management who could blame them. They shouldn’t waste their prime in that clubhouse for that type of management. Fans aren’t a high priority here either.

    • 2020ball

      You’d ask your boss that has you under contract for **years** to be traded to a better company because your feelings are hurt about a contractual obligation your union negotiated for you? and willingly ignore that your current job is one of the highest in-demand jobs in a limited field? Somehow I doubt that.

    • greenmtred

      We’re naturally focused on Miley, Barnhart and Castellanos, but it’s worth remembering that the Reds have some excellent young players–including a number of pitchers–and Winker and Votto and some good older pitchers, too. The situation may not look as grim to India, Stephenson and Winker as it does to us right now.

    • JayTheRed

      I honestly was thinking that is what Votto should be doing.

  5. Klugo

    If he’s trying to flex his power and demanding this guy goes or that guy stays, I dont like it and we’d be better off having him move on. Maybe I’m wrong, but that’s what I read between the lines.

    • Luke J

      That’s the exact opposite as I read between those lines. So maybe we should all slow down and stop assuming things we don’t know.

      • TR

        Good advice that applies to most areas of life.

  6. RedsGettingBetter

    The case of Nick Castellanos’ offseason is looking to the last Bauer’s where the fanbase really want him be kept playing with the team so any declaration or comment given is gonna be seen like a hope of a player come back. I think it is very unlikely Castellanos stay with the Reds , it is not due to Castellanos doesn’t wish it but it’s more due to Reds FO/Ownership don’t want spend any cent…

  7. Grand Salami

    Can’t share his feelings on the direction of the club publicly. Ouch.

    • west larry

      Doesn’t trash his former employer while trying to secure a huge contract elsewhere? Who could blame him for not wanting to appear to be a disrupter while in talks with other teams? Let’s see what he says midseason after he signs elsewhere.

  8. Hamer Campbell

    Hopefully we get a Comp pick out of losing him. If hes leaving cincy, would love to see him sign a 50 mil contract. Better Comp pick.

    • Gaffer

      He will, heck he just turned down 34 million!

  9. David Rutherford

    This is exactly the kind of player you want. Skilled of course, gets along well with teammates enough to be looked at as a leader, good family man, not willing to put information in the media that could cause drama for others and he likes it here to a degree.

    If the team doesn’t give this guy a fair contract offer then what other sign can the team give that they aren’t really concerned with winning games and having a winning culture for the franchise in general?

    So disappointing on so many levels.

    I hate that I likely can’t stop being a fan of the team after 50 years. They haven’t done their part to earn it.

  10. Jonathan Linn

    I love how professional Nick was in that interview. Don’t burn any bridges…he’s smart

    • TR

      NC, like many players, is sensitive to the political sensibilities of baseball. He knows nothing is gained by offending anyone.

  11. Rednat

    these opt out contracts are just plain silly , especially for a small market team like the reds. good players are always going to opt out. just hurts the team and upsets the fan base

    • Redgoggles

      The alternative is sometimes you get a career year from someone looking for a max contract, or several years of expected output at an agreed upon price. Smart.

      It’s smart of him as well, and really future offensive players. Come to GABP inflate your stats (helping the home team along the way), opt out and cash in. I hope they continue this strategy at some point when the budget allows.

      • TR

        A good point. Hitters, who can, should come to Cincy and take advantage of the friendly confines of GABP, except left center field, and help the Reds win.

    • Mike V

      I tend to agree with you on this point .. However I do not discount that had the team preformed better ( less injury , better individual performances by a few and Covid 19 , perhaps things would / could / might have been different .

      • Redgoggles

        At the end of the day, it’s a business decision on both sides. I cannot imagine any player leaving significant money on the table to stay with any organization, especially the ones without the clear championship expectations.

        That’s why I’m not taking this personal. He’s going to go to the highest bidder, like he’s probably been planning to do since he signed the original contract.

        I read that he gave up all distractions – including his iPhone – this past off/season to entirely focus on the season, and pointed to that in part to his excellent last season. What’s to say now that he’s accomplished that – and likelya longer/better deal – that he boots back up his iPhone and his focus diminishes a bit resulting in a good – but not great – next several years?

        This is further reasoning why I think it’s the smart move for the Reds/small market teams to sign these kinds of deals. High upside for motivated players resulting in career years and/or high trade values.

    • Greenfield Red

      There is little reason for any free agent of note to sign with Cincinnati without some kind of sweetener. The Reds won’t pay market price. They have to either take a chance on a guy coming off injury, pay a guy trying to reclaim his career, or do this kind of thing.

      Without the two opt-outs, NC would have signed somewhere else… unless the Reds had done 4/80 rather than 4/64 with two opt-outs.

  12. DaveCT

    I can’t really think of many reasons at all for a marquee player to sign with the Reds at this time, and even other times. Not when there are LAD, NYY, Cards, Red Sox, Cubs, Braves, Giants, etc which offer big markets, high levels of competitiveness nearly every year, etc. Hence the difficulty of the small market team. But having our much ballyhooed competitive window open and slam shut so quickly is not going to attract stars. Blink and you miss it.

  13. Steven Duncan

    If the reds were to make him a competitive offer I strongly believe he would come back to cincy. That being said we all know the Reds are not going to be willing to make a competitive offer.

    • Ray

      I remember when he signed, in the press conference he didn’t look so excited to come here, but then I saw the type of deal he got and said to myself he definitely leaving after his first year, he knows he is coming to a very pro-productive ballpark and he can cash-in, during his season at times he didn’t look like he was having fun, then again sometimes he did look like he enjoy the games, I thought the city of Cincinnati would have actracted him and his family so much that he would stay. But I’m not surprised at all of him leaving. That is just the way it is. I wish him well. But let’s move on. I’m a Reds fan, and baseball will continues, I tell you one things, where ever he goes, he is a very good hitter, but I don’t think he will put up numbers like he did this past year. So let’s just
      Get the draft pick and move on to the next player that want to come here and play the games. Thank you Nick Castellano, for your production here in Cincinnati and we wish you the best on your next team.

  14. Magnum 44

    I think they should start marketing GABP as an asset. They identify FA it doesn’t matter what position they play. Say hey come here on a cheap 1 year deal rebuild your value then nice doing business with you. Then just focus on defensive flexibility and pitching. Obviously keep drafting as they have and just use 1 year fillers. Be transparent to the fan base tell them the plan then fans don’t become attached to the players they know what’s going on. Telling the fan base the plan would be easy though.

  15. David

    I think the comparison of Nick Castellanos and Trevor Bauer is interesting.

    On one hand, you have a guy in Bauer that won the Cy Young award, and then went to the Dodgers and ticked off most of the people in the club house. Bauer is talented, but he also doesn’t have much control over his public attitude and what he says.

    Nick just had a career year with the Reds, won the Silver Slugger award as an outfielder, and excercised his option to get a better contract. He had nice words to say about the Reds, and not come across as a “jerk”, and be more attractive to whoever might be courting him (contract wise).

    We are all disappointed with the Reds management and ownership since 2012, the last year they had a really good team. 2013 team made it to the Wild Card, and then was out quickly. It took a couple more seasons to dawn on ownership and management to realize the team was deteriorating. Then the massive fire sale of the big contracts that could be moved. Little received in return of lasting value. Kyle Farmer might be the last thing the Reds have to show for all the players traded away.
    I have seen what I think is overall poor management of the Reds by the ownership group, led by Bob Castellini. But in their defense, they might now have some financial problems after 2020 season (where they likely lost money) and 2021 season (where I think they lost more money). I can’t see their account ledgers, but the signs point to a cash flow crisis. And they are worried about the CBA coming up and the potential lockout and delay of the 2022 season, which might mean more lost money unless they trimmed payroll.
    The hold some particularly bad contracts in Moustakas and Aikayama, which are going to be hard if not impossible to move.
    I don’t know if they will move Suarez, and his contract is not as much of a load. He may bounce back in 2022…or not.
    I think there will be more financial movements that will make us cringe.
    Broad hints that Gray and Castillo may be gone. With them goes the last sliver of hope that the Reds will be competitive in 2022. Maybe with younger pitching the Reds might be competitive again in 2023 or 2024. But I don’t have a lot of faith in Castellini and his management group in allowing a front office to maneuver and get the players and run the team in a successful manner.
    And I still think Castellini talks to Walt Jocketty regularly and takes his advice about how to run the team. And I think that is hurting the Reds.

  16. Tom Reeves

    Nick is in the middle of a multi-million dollar, multiparty negotiation where a misstep could cost him immense amounts of money.

    Expect that everything he does right now is in the service to maximizing his chance to make a massive amount of money AND win a championship.

    As for the Reds, it does appear the club has cash flow issues beyond the 2020 debacle. The signings before the 2020 season were betting on the come and covid wrecked that bet. I don’t blame Castellini for that. In fact, he was doing what we asked – go out and get talent. But, how we seem to have very little understanding of the mess that “go for it” move created for the finances of the team. I wish the Reds would simply open their books. Personally, that would make me a lot more understanding if I saw the numbers.

  17. Darryl

    At some point, hopefully soon, MLB must address the revenue disparity between large and small market teams, as other sports have done.