It's looking like the Cincinnati Reds are in Nick Castellanos' rearview mirror.
The All-Star outfielder has rejected the Reds' Nov. 7 qualifying offer this week. The QO 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.
Earlier this month, Castellanos opted out of the final two years of his Reds 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. 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).
On Wednesday, Castellanos learned that he did not win the Hank Aaron Award for the National League. The award, which went to the Philadelphia Phillies' Bryce Harper for the National League and the Toronto Blue Jays' Vladimir Guerrreo Jr. for the American League, honors the players with the strongest overall offensive season.
Castellanos still is a finalist for the Silver Slugger Award, which is given to the player at each position in each league who had the best offensive season. 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. Winners are expected to be announced sometime on Nov. 11.
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