In the days that follow the World Series ending, we get to see a lot of transactions with players and/or clubs opting in or out of options for the following season. Sometimes, those decisions are no brainers with players taking the guaranteed paydays coming off bad seasons or clubs exercising options on guys that are good deals for them. The other side of the spectrum exists as well with teams shedding money from underperforming pieces and players choosing to hit free agency to get paid significantly more.
Nick Castellanos is firmly in the last camp. While he was owed real money from the Reds at $34 million over the next two season, Castellanos was awesome at the plate for Cincinnati with a .309/.362/.576 slash line with 34 homers which was good for a 4.2 fWAR season. While his production did cool off in the second half, he still positioned himself well for free agency and that is exactly where he is headed.
Nick Castellanos opts out. Castellanos, 29, had .309/.362/.576 slash line this year. Had $34M and 2 years to go. Now a free agent. #reds— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 4, 2021
One interesting wrinkle to Castellanos’ free agency is that it is widely expected that the National League will adopt the designated hitter once the new Collective Bargaining Agreement is actually agreed to (which could be a while). Castellanos is a defensive liability in the field, but he is a prime DH candidate and the NL having the designated hitter would expand his market considerably.
This is shaping up to be quite the free agent class and with the CBA negotiations expected to be contentious and they could last into the spring, it could create quite the flurry of transactions once the market is unfrozen.