The Cincinnati Reds have extended an offer -- of sorts -- to departing outfielder Nick Castellanos.
The Reds' Nov. 7 offer is known as a qualifying offer, which is set across Major League Baseball at $18.4 million for the 2022 season. In return for making the offer, the Reds will receive draft picks if Castellanos signs elsewhere.
Last week, Castellanos opted out of the final two years of his contract, which was worth $16 million per year. The outfielder is considered one of the best free agents of the current hot stove season.
Since the qualifying offer concept was introduced in 2012, only a handful of players have taken it from their home teams, opting instead to try for more money as free agents, something that Castellanos is expected to do. Many teams extend the offer simply to acquire draft picks.
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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