The star outfielder of the Cincinnati Reds, Nick Castellanos, has exercised the opt-out clause in his contract and will become a free agent this offseason, a source confirmed to ESPN’s Buster Olney.
Castellanos informed the Reds of his decision Thursday, reportedly opting out of the last two years and $ 34 million of his deal.
Castellanos had two opt-out clauses in his four-year, $ 64 million contract, but did not exercise the first after the 2020 season shortened by the pandemic. The Reds are expected to extend the qualifying offer of $ 18.4 million, which would give Cincinnati a compensatory 2022 draft pick after the first round if Castellanos signs with another team.
Castellanos’ decision comes a day after Reds general manager Nick Krall said the organization “must align our payroll with our resources and continue to focus on finding and developing young talent from our system.”
Krall told reporters that he expects the Reds, who had a payroll of $ 130 million in 2021, to take a “wait and see” approach in free agency this offseason.
“I don’t think we’re not going to sign players in the free-agent market,” said Krall, who addressed the team’s offseason plan following the veteran catcher’s trade. Tucker barnhart on Wednesday to the Detroit Tigers. “I think it’s something that this move didn’t make sense from where we were with payroll. We had to make sure we made the adjustment.”
While acknowledging the uncertainty surrounding upcoming labor talks and a new MLB collective bargaining agreement, Castellanos said last month that the 2021 season with the Reds was “the most consistent and happiest I’ve been playing baseball.”
Castellanos, 29, will enter free agency after one of the best seasons of his nine-year career. An All-Star for the first time in 2021, he hit .309 with 34 home runs and a .939 OPS, all of his career best, and also led the Reds with 100 RBIs.
Castellanos, a former first-round draft pick who spent most of his career with the Tigers, will become one of the best hitters in a class of free agents that also includes former MVPs Freddie Freeman and Kris Bryant, the leader. stolen bases from MLB Starling Marte and all-star shortstop Carlos Correa, Corey Seager, Trevor Story, Marcus Semian and Javier Baez.
Castellanos is a .278 hitter with 168 home runs in parts of nine seasons with the Reds, Tigers and Cubs.
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Reports: Reds’ Nick Castellanos enters free agency