Reds' Nick Castellanos Opts out of Contract as Cincinnati Fans Sob

The outfielder ditched the $32 million remaining on his contract to become a free agent.

Nov 4, 2021 at 10:41 am
click to enlarge Reds outfielder Nick Castellanos steps out with his family in July 2021. - Photo:
Reds outfielder Nick Castellanos steps out with his family in July 2021.

After the season he had, it was bound to happen.

According to Major League Baseball writer Jon Heyman, Cincinnati Reds outfielder Nick Castellanos has opted out of his contract, giving him a chance to test the free-agent waters.

MLB beat writer Mark Sheldon confirmed the news.

Heyman first reported the news early Nov. 4, though experts had been predicting for months that Castellanos would make a move.

Coming off of two seasons with the Reds, Castellanos' remaining contract was worth $32 million over two more years. He still may end up playing for the Reds if leadership is willing to outbid other teams and dangle a more lucrative deal, but Reds fans may want to prepare for the worst.

Castellanos was a major bright spot in a 2021 season that ended with heartbreak, when the Reds were mathematically eliminated from postseason play on Sept. 28. For 2021, Castellanos batted .309, slugged .576, had 34 home runs and had 73 extra-base hits. Castellanos also was a starter for the National League during this summer's MLB All-Star Game (teammate Jesse Winker joined in that honor).

The outfielder is awaiting results for two of MLB's big awards: the Hank Aaron Award, which honors the player with the strongest overall offensive season in each league; and the Silver Slugger Award, which is given to the player at each position in each league who had the best offensive season. For the Silver Slugger, Castellanos and Winker are duking it out in the outfield category against players from the Washington Nationals, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Atlanta Braves and St. Louis Cardinals. Voting has closed for both awards, and results are expected to be announced soon.

During the season, Castellanos' son Liam became internet-famous after designing a shirt that featured a drawing of his hard-hitting dad. The seven-year-old drew Castellanos in his Reds uniform and slapped it onto a shirt for the outfielder's birthday. Fans fell in love with it -- and with Liam -- and Liam soon teamed up with Cincy Shirts and the MLB Players' Association to sell the design and donate proceeds to charity.

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