Castellanos discusses future in Cincinnati

October 2nd, 2021

PITTSBURGH -- Once the Reds were eliminated from the postseason Tuesday, Reds right fielder Nick Castellanos started giving more thought to his future. Castellanos can exercise an opt-out clause from his four-year, $64 million contract in the offseason, but he hasn’t made his decision yet.

“I don’t have any information for you just because there [are] so many variables that still have not unfolded yet,” Castellanos said on the field at PNC Park before Saturday’s game against the Pirates.

Castellanos plans to have conversations with his wife, Jess, and his agent, Scott Boras, after the season.

“I don’t know what I want,” Castellanos said. “There is so much information that I’m going to take in. I also have to take into mind the status of the game. The Collective Bargaining Agreement is now coming up. Once I take a step back from the season and have some days at home with my family and I’m able to just hang out with my wife, dog and kid, and we can just talk about what happened and get as much information as I can.”

Entering Saturday, the 29-year-old Castellanos already has new career highs in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, OPS and homers. He’s slashing .308/.362/.570 with 33 home runs and his 97 RBIs are just shy of his career mark of 101 from 2017 with the Tigers.

“This was the most consistent 162-game season I’ve had,” Castellanos said. “Coming back from 2019, 2020 is hard for me to just critique in any way because of how different it was. I’m proud of myself, but there are areas that I do recognize that I fell short and can get better at.”

Castellanos remains disappointed that the Reds weren’t a playoff team this year.

“We failed, plain and simple,” he said. “We didn’t make the postseason.”

This could be Castellanos’ second foray into the free-agent market after he went through it following the 2019 season before signing with Cincinnati in January 2020. He knows it could be a stressful winter trying to figure out where he wants to play.

Even if Castellanos opts out and hits the open market, he could still return to the Reds. The club would likely extend him a qualifying offer to ensure a compensation pick returns if he defects.

“These are major decisions,” Castellanos said. “You have to balance everything that you possibly can: How much you like where you’re playing, how close it is to home because I’m co-parenting, where the organization is in the spot to compete, and obviously, the financial part of it is important as well. It’s a balance of all of that, which will [help] make the best decision possible. It could very well be here in Cincinnati. The bargaining agreement could go to [pot] and I’m not in a spot to opt out, so I have no idea what’s going to happen.”

During his first year with the Reds, Castellanos lamented that COVID-19 protocols prevented him from getting used to Cincinnati, Reds fans and his general surroundings. His performances and intensity helped make him a fan favorite throughout 2021.

“First off, I have a tremendous amount of respect for the Reds' organization; just the history of baseball in Cincinnati, how they played the game, the pride they took in playing the game, the chip on their shoulder they played the game with during the time period that they were successful and winning,” Castellanos said. “It’s just really enlightening to be able to tap into that. I think that being able to have conversations and learn about what the best Reds teams all had in common, just to be able to take those characteristics as best as I could and just implement them in my game to make myself better.”

As he played in the Reds’ final home game of 2021 -- a 13-1 victory over the Pirates on Monday where he hit a home run with five RBIs -- Castellanos tried to soak in the scene for a possible good last memory.

“Great American is a beautiful ballpark,” Castellanos said. “The weather was perfect. It was a great win, the fans and everything. Of course, I was taking it all in. I don’t know what is going to happen, but this has been the most consistent, happiest I’ve been playing baseball ... my 2021 season.”

India getting rested

Reds second baseman Jonathan India was not in Saturday’s lineup vs. Pittsburgh. India is not injured, but he has been banged up with numerous aches and pains from playing 149 games and being hit by pitches a National League-leading 22 times.

Reds manager David Bell didn’t rule out keeping India out of the lineup in Sunday’s finale, too.

“He’s had a great season. He’s played through a lot,” Bell said. “No players are 100 percent right now, he might be the furthest from it physically. I kind of just made a decision to take him out of there because he’s not ever going to let on or, for sure, not ask out of the lineup. He wants to play so bad that I just had to do it and I didn’t need to talk to him about it. I just took him out of the lineup for his sake.”