The stove is certainly hot around Major League Baseball right now. In Cincinnati, however, it’s, well, not. Nick Castellanos turned down the Reds qualifying offer after the 2021 season when he opted out of his contract and became a free agent. This morning Jon Morosi of MLB Network reported that Castellanos was drawing interest from both the Miami Marlins and the San Francisco Giants.

It’s not surprising that Nick Castellanos is drawing plenty of interest in free agency. The now former Reds outfielder is coming off of a season where he hit .309/.362/.576 with 38 doubles, a triple, and 34 home runs in 138 games played. Over the last four seasons he’s posted an .872 OPS (and a 125 OPS+). He’s a very good hitter.

What we are noticing here is that the Cincinnati Reds were not mentioned here (or really anywhere else) in the rumors for Nick Castellanos. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they aren’t interested. The Reds have generally been pretty quiet and keep their activity very close to the vest. With that said, you don’t need to read too much into the comments made by Castellanos last week to get a feeling that he probably isn’t returning to Cincinnati.

There hasn’t been a lot going on with regards to the Reds since the offseason began. Yesterday we heard that they were signing Connor Overton, but that is a minor league deal for a 28-year-old with 15.1 career innings in the big leagues. It’s early, but this offseason is looking a lot like last offseason – cutting costs and rumors of trading established, good pitching.

Adding to the 40-man roster

Friday evening is the deadline for teams around Major League Baseball to add minor league players to the 40-man roster in order to protect them from the Rule 5 draft. Anyone who was signed in 2017 or earlier is eligible if left unprotected. Anyone who was 19 and signed in 2018 (re: college players drafted that season and a very select group of international signings) will also be eligible if left unprotected.

One player stands out above the rest of the guys: Hunter Greene. He’s going to be protected. But there are a handful of other guys who you can make some argument in either direction for. And over at RedsMinorLeagues.com I looked at 11 of these players ahead of the deadline.

48 Responses

  1. CI3J

    I really want Nick to sign with another team quickly, just so we as Reds fans can finally move on. There is a segment of the fanbase that still thinks it’s a possibility Nick returns to Cincinnati. There is literally zero evidence that this is going to happen, and quite a lot of evidence that it WON’T happen. While of course it’s still possible as long as Nick remains unsigned, it’s about as unlikely as a Joey Votto coming out and announcing that he’s going to swing at every pitch from now on and he never really cared about OBP anyway.

    I do wonder what the Reds are going to do to address the outfield. There’s a certain way things could play out that the Reds may actually have a decent, competitive team this season, but outfield remains a huge question mark without Castellanos. Should be interesting.

    • Stephen Felsen

      Nick Castellanos is a perfect example of why I no longer consider baseball to be my favorite sport. It’s all about money, not only with respect to the players, but the owners as well. I feel the same way about pro football.

      Loyalty to the fans, who help pay the players’ salaries, is nonexistent.

      • Doug Gray

        What sport is your favorite and why are the athletes in it not trying to take advantage of an ever decreasing length of their career in it to make as much money as they can?

      • AMDG

        “It’s all about money”

        Isn’t that pretty much the assessment of every employee working for an employer? Pro athletes aren’t any different than the rest of us in that regard.

        Your argument is akin to saying you will no longer buy a car because the factory worker is making the car simply for the salary, and doesn’t share a profound loyalty with the car owner.

      • BK

        According to data published by the Social Security Administration in 2015, the average male with some college was expected to make less than $2M over their lifetime. In contrast, Nick Castellanos has already exceeded $50M with expectations that he could earn another $100M+ over the next several years. He’s gained wealth that if properly invested will affect his family for multiple generations and Cincinnati has contributed 60% of his earnings. I’m not saying I agree with Stephen’s argument, but surely you can appreciate his perspective. It’s really not that different of an argument from the hundreds of post this month that believe as fans we’re entitled to Red’s ownership leveraging their unrealized gains to increase payroll.

      • Gonzo Reds

        I feel much the same way as football is finally passing baseball on my list. But the reason for me is lack of a minimum and maximum salary cap in baseball. Having one would mean the owners have to spent a certain amount but that the players can only get so much, keeps both sides in check. Plus it helps the smaller clubs compete with the bigger clubs. Emphasis becomes scouting rather than money. I’m perfectly ok in not having baseball in 2022 if this is addressed for the future of the sport. But… I’m not holding my breath!

      • Jim Walker

        It has become hockey for me. They play a regular season game and have a winner in 2.5-3 hours depending on whether there is OT. The TV commercial breaks don’t seem as intrusive to the action for whatever reason, unlike the college football in particular. I had also become quite a fan of international soccer but NBC now seems determined to kill the goose that was laying golden eggs for them.

        As far as the baseball money stuff, they need to figure out a percentage division of revenues between the owners and players, put in a salary floor and cap. I would also go a step beyond the simple floor and put in a CBT type surcharge for teams that consistently are in the lowest 10% of the teams in relationship to the salary floor.

  2. docproc

    The stadiums in Miami and SF are cavernous. A lot of his fly balls might end up in fielders’ mitts.
    But I wish him well.

    • JayTheRed

      I was just thinking about when he was in Detroit. Same kinda deal with a big outfield. I know he can hit a good amount still but his Homerun output would be a little reduced I think if he goes to either of those teams.

      I am 100 percent convinced he isn’t coming back to the Cheapskate, I mean Cincinnati Reds.

      • Robert

        It’s to bad that some Billionaire who Loves Baseball and Who also really Loves The Cincinnati Reds can’t come along and Buy The Team away from One of the Worst Owners in all of Professional Sports!,Isn’t it Ironic that Both of The Worst Professional Sports Owners in All of Major League Sports reside in Cincinnati!,Castellini with The Reds,and Mike Brown with The Bengals!,No Fans in The Country have it as Bad as Cincinnati Fans!,But at Least We Have Bearcat Football!,Go Cats!!!

    • MK

      Not sure he will be that interested on the future numbers, so stadium size, if he gets the contract that sets him up for life.

      • Alan Horn

        Agree MK. It is hard to believe anyone would care about their stats if they got the contract that is projected for NC .

  3. David Stevens

    As a long time cincinnati sports fan it sure is getting old with cheap ownership Mr. Castelllini and Mr. Brown. We are always pinching pennies and gets old. Marge schott last owner to spend on team. And we won a world series. Please bring back castellanos he is a important part of out team. Back load his contact for when Votto is off payroll. 5 years 105 million. 15,15,25,25,25. One of best hitters in game.

  4. RedsGettingBetter

    This story about Castellanos seems to me as the same of Bauer last offseason…

    • TR

      I see a difference in not signing Bauer and not signing Castellanos.

    • greenmtred

      I think he probably cares about his stats. You don’t reach the MLB without a lot of competitive fire. But, of course, that same fire may lead him to believe that he’ll be great with a different home field. And, of course, he cares about the money and–probably–the postseason.

  5. Doc

    They barely made the playoffs with him in the weird season, and didn’t make playoffs with him in 2021. I am fine with picking up the draft pick and filling his slot with youngsters.

    • Jimbo44CN

      You know what. I tend to agree. Don’t blame him for trying to make more money, but I think we will do just as well without him. (hopefully)

    • Pennsylvania Red

      Yup. There’s a real difference between dumping salary because younger guys are cheaper and rebuilding. So far it looks like a dump, but I hope there is some strategy besides saving money. “Aligning resources with payroll” seems to be front-and-center.

      • Alan Horn

        I fail to realize the we didn’t with you versus winning without you logic. Losing someone like NC or Castillo makes the team a whole lot further from their goal of winning. It is the matter of not winning and being fairly close versus being light years further from winning.

  6. LDS

    No real surprises in this article. I think we’ve known for a while that he was gone. He wants to play on competitive/post season team. Why then would he pick the Reds?

  7. Steven Ross

    With the current CBA set to expire on December 1st, I would think teams might wait until a new agreement is reached but what do I know!

    PacBell/AT&T/Oracle is a BIG yard. A lot of his HR’s in GABP will long outs in SF.

    • Melvin

      The bigger parks will show more of any defensive deficiencies but to me his defense is not as bad as some say. He does NOT like to DH. I’m not so sure it will cost him much in terms of hits though. Probably just more doubles and less home runs. I wish him well. I have a feeling, whether we like it or not, AA is going to get a real shot this year at playing every day if for no other reason than how much he costs. As I said not too long ago I know I don’t have a leg to stand on considering how he played late in the season but my gut feeling is that he has some special things in him. I felt the same way about Votto last year. We’ll see.

      • Alan Horn

        I too thought his defense was better than advertised. Again, if he gets the contract projected, he is set and won’t care what his stats are or where he plays. If he flops or falters, it will be on whomever signs him, much like the Moose contract is for the Reds.

      • Melvin

        Yeah. He’ll still have the money. He can stand being a DH under those conditions if he has to. Poor guy. lol

    • D Ray White

      But likely that his 2b’s and average increase.

  8. DataDumpster

    I will always remember the beauty of Nick’s perfectly controlled and executed swing but I couldn’t care less what happens to him now. Players today are apartment renters rather than home builders so that is what it is. As for the Reds keeping their discussions close to the vest, it is understandable after the unnecessary comment “aligning payroll with resources” came to life. I wish they could have tried to keep Barnhart in the 3 mill range and get some modest trade return for Miley but nothing again. The Reds need to pack it in until the CBA is resolved and they figure out what the strategy is going forward to produce a winner (in the long term at this point). A 2 year marinade of the emerging rookie class and a couple more trades or dumps followed by a new GM/manager combo/resource commitment seems the only logical way out. Until then, If you can tolerate David Bell, you may experience some unexpected player highlights like this year. Not me, I’m taking a hiatus from the Reds come opening day. I need to enjoy again the passion of my youth and hope that two years hence I will be coaxed back into the fold.

  9. AMDG

    Castellanos had a career year in 2020, and somebody will over pay for that.

    But he will be on the wrong side of 30 next season, and the Reds can’t afford to over pay for a guy who will likely be on the decline during his contract.

    Let somebody else over pay for Castellano, as the Reds are already over paying for enough under performing bats.

    • Scot Lykins

      I agree. I believe we got the best years out of Castellanos. No need to overpay for a decline. ( Votto)

    • Alan Horn

      Half of me agrees about the wrong side of 30. Most players tend to fall off at least to some degree after age 30. Taller, larger in statue players like Moose and Castellanos even more so(not saying NC will, but the chances are better).
      Throw in all the money, and it makes NC’s signing even more dangerous. Still, the Reds will have a huge hole to fill in the OF with no prospects anywhere close to the ML in the OF. I think Garcia is 29, so maybe that is the way the Reds should go. His contract should be no where near NC’s contract. It would require the Reds to spend some money. With all the money off the books, one would think they could afford Garcia. If they can’t, they ought to cry incompetence and sell the team.

      • Votto4life

        Honestly, it’s only a hole in right field if they intend on competing , otherwise they can fill it with anyone on the waiver wire making league minimum.

        We think like fans wanting to give our team the best chance to win. I don’t think that’s where the Red’s front office is at the moment it for sometime now at least for a couple of years

  10. JB

    Miami? I thought Castellano only wanted to play for a winner?

  11. Hotto4Votto

    It’s going to be cold-stove offseason for the Reds I believe. Doubt they make any big moves, probably more fringe-roster moves and minor league signings like last offseason. It’s yet to be seen if there is more salary dumping in store. It could be exciting if the Reds decide to trade Castillo and Gray, but not expecting them to pull it off at this point. I just wish they’d pick a direction and go toward it. Cutting payroll and incrementally making your (non-playoff) team worse is not a direction many fans can get behind. Adding/replacing key players to take advantage of the fact that the division is relatively wide open would be a good direction. But it’s clear that’s not going to happen. Alternatively, tearing down this version of the team and building toward the future could also be a good direction. But again, doubtful that’s going to happen either. Directionless for now. Frustrating time to be a fan.

    • Alan Horn

      I am more in the retool mode integrating the young pitchers in(probably early on). They need a RH OF for sure who will make an impact. Then they need 3-4 RP at least with a couple being LH’ers. I would certainly have Lopez, Schrock and Farmer on the bench. They need a couple more bench players with one being whomever is not playing CF between Naquin and Senzel. I guess the other would need to be a backup catcher. At least some of the new bullpen faces can be players moving up from the minors.
      The new pitchers(both starter and relievers) can be mostly players moving up from AAA. I would look to trade Gray for that RH OF if Garcia can’t be signed. That OF can be for CF or RH. IF they can sign Garcia, I keep Gray until some point in the season.

    • greenmtred

      They might have picked a direction: Going with the young players. That will, as Alan points out, leave a hole in RF (and possibly center), but the off-season is just beginning, and they may get somebody. We don’t know at this point. The guys they’ve let go are older players. Castellanos is getting there, too, though they didn’t let him go, but are losing him because he opted out.

      • Alan Horn

        I agree. They should receive the benefit of the doubt until they show they don’t further intend to improve the club. All we as fans can do is wait and watch(along with hope),

  12. redfanorbust

    A small market team develops a young player. He gets good and wants big bucks. Said small market team can not afford him and trades him. Same kind of story with Nick. He had a career year and wants to get paid. Reds probably had to give him all those player options because small market teams have to overpay to get quality players. Same story with Moose. He was sought after when the Reds signed him but they had to overpay. Akiyama, they took a chance on and did not pay off. I give the Reds credit for trying. Problem is they are a small market team. When their overpays don’t work out they don’t have the free cash sitting around to fix it like the Dodgers or Yankees. I don’t blame players for trying to cash in one bit. They are playing fairly within the system provided. It is the system that is at fault.

  13. Tom

    Why doesn’t MLB see the success of the salary cap in the NFL? Lockout the players, scrap the current way they do things and implement a salary cap. All teams should be on equal footing on opening day.

  14. old-school

    Niko Goodrum was released by the Tigers and went unclaimed on waivers and elected FA. Tigers didn’t risk a potential $2.9 mil utility guy via arbitration.

    Goodrum plays good defense, including SS and has sprint speed in the 85th percentile.
    His bat against righties in 2021 was awful but against lefties had a .741 OPS and wRC+ 108 with an OBP .353.

    He sports a career slash line against left handed pitching of .309/.374/.456/.830/ with wRC+ 125.

    Speed and defense and can play SS/2b or the OF and hits righties and is 2 years younger than Farmer and will be cheaper than Farmer who will get over 2 mil if the Reds tender him. Sounds like a good bench piece.

  15. Michael B. Green

    Not sure if this is selling low, but I’m wondering if Sonny Gray back to NYY for Stephen Ridings and Sean Boyle has any potential. If DJ could harness Ridings, he could be huge in the CIN pen.

  16. catcard202

    Hopefully, the organization has finally realized that there is enough in the pipeline to support a fun to watch product for the small market Reds ….As spending in MLB FA has been a crap shoot at best – where the Reds haven’t really been that successful…For every Castellanos signing success, there is a Moose that basically flops….(Sonny Gray has been great value – Shogo not so much)…And CIN does not have the funds to swing & miss 1/2 the time on a FA’s / or trades, and backfill those misses with more spending….(like Major Market clubs do).

    So..If it’s the Rays model the FO is moving towards, then so be it….But now is a good time to do it, with the # of solid young inexpensive options to chose from in the minors…The next great Reds team could be right around the corner & be a <$100M roster.

    I get moving Stephenson to #1 C over Barnhart…But hate losing a GG C….But get that $$ had to be opened up after the 2 yrs of underwhelming turnstile #'s.

    From my perspective, if payroll had to be trimmed & I'm sure it did…Then moving Barney & replacing Miley's $10M salary/rotation spot in 2022 with a guy like SanMartin makes sense, given his end of yr performance…But HELL NO – would not move Gray or Castillo this off-season with out major Top-50 MiLB return & If the FO can't get return value during this winter…Makes more fiscal sense to hold now & wait until ST or even 2022 trade deadline to milk a contender.

    Greene, Lodolo, both look to be ready to fight for rotation slots in 2022…w/ Moreta having a punchers chance to slide into a bullpen role early…Barrero should be locked in at SS – forming a formidable middle DEF pairing with India…Winker & Senzel should be back healthy in the OF…Schrock is versatile UTL fielder & a legit MLB hitter…So, there is enough pieces in place/on the way for next season – to backfill expected losses or Hopeful Trades (Moose)….as long as injury set-backs don't occur in ST & derail the Reds efforts.

    • DataDumpster

      Like your comments — seems to indicate more common sense and strategy than I have heard from the Reds FO. All I have seen after the big money FA blitz came short of expectations is a soft parade of second rate pitchers and washed up “utility” players for David Bell to keep happy for a few weeks of MLB salary only to be discarded in the nether land of MiLB reassignments and waiver wires. You have to give up something valuable to get something that works a year or two from now combined with good value trades, coaching, and vision of the future makeup of the team. After 3 years of Krall and David Bell, we still have about 4 slow footed 3B, aging veterans with nothing but an upper cut to recommend, and no good baserunning or defense to counteract a slumping bullpen. It can’t be done with the current crew but hopefully they are thinking about the things you have mentioned.

    • Alan Horn

      The most glaring spot is an RH OF to replace NC. No one is at AA or AAA that is a good candidate. Either trade someone like Gray or sign a FA like Garcia.
      Then address the bull pen and backup catcher(both should be easier than replacing NC’s bat).

  17. Bill J

    Based on the past, if everything remains the same, the Reds need a good bench because there will be 4 players missing games so the FO should be careful with who the aquire.

  18. Indy Red Man

    Flipping channels and caught this scene immediately from Mighty Aphrodite:

    “Children grow up, they move out! Sometimes to ridiculous places like Cincinnati”

    Lol. Indy is flat & boring so I like visiting Cincy occasionally, but this organization sucks. The Castellini’s manage to screw up everything that could’ve been good. They run up the white flag in November because they can’t afford anyone, but I don’t remember the news report about Moustakis holding a gun to their head and forcing them to give a career .750 ops hitter (def of average) $60 million.

    3 hours a day for 6 months is alot of time. I’ll check in because the Reds are tradition for me, but I won’t watch much and I guarantee I won’t spend a dollar on them. Tommy Lee Jones said it best when he told Jim Carrey..”I cannot sanction your buffoonery”

    • Old-school

      Your guy clint frazier DFA by yankees

      Gotta think reds looking at him for RF platoon with naquin

      • Indy Red Man

        Really? I could definitely see that. Why not? Still only 27, but missing games because of dizziness this past season reminds me of someone we already can’t get on the field. At this point the Reds are just buying cheap lottery tickets so who knows? Maybe he could atleast be a Jonny Gomes type for a few years.