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Nick Castellanos opts out, becomes a free agent

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No surprises here, but it still doesn’t feel good.

Cincinnati Reds v Pittsburgh Pirates Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

Early this morning, the news that every Reds fan expected regarding Nick Castellanos finally broke. Expecting it didn’t make it feel any better, though. Castellanos is a free agent. From Jon Heyman:

Castellanos .939 OPS checked in at second best for Reds hitters this season, just one point above a resurgent Joey Votto and 10 points less than Winker. However, Castellanos had more plate appearances this season. 100 more, in Winker’s case, as each missed some time and spent a bit on the injured list.

That OPS is the best full season mark in Castellanos career. He did mash a 1.002 OPS in 225 plate appearances after being traded to the Cubs in 2019, a stretch that went a long way to get the contract he just had the opportunity to opt out of two years later. I’d bet if you went through Castellanos career, though, and isolated 225 games, you’d find other stretches like that.

Nick Castellanos joins a free agent class with a somewhat uncertain future as the players and owners prepare to sit down at the table and bang out a new collective bargaining agreement. In the meantime, the Reds braintrust, such that you should consider it that, need to figure out their options moving forward. If Castellanos has truly played his last game as a Red, it certainly opens up a big hole on the right side of the outfield.

They can choose to try and re-sign him to a bigger deal. Or, they can continue to “align their payroll their resources,” whatever the hell that means.