Cincinnati Reds: Nick Castellanos should not opt out following 2020

One of the Cincinnati Reds biggest free agent acquisitions, Nick Castellanos, has the ability to opt out after the 2020, but he shouldn’t do that.

Far be it from me to give financial advice to a major league player, but it’s becoming increasingly obvious that Nick Castellanos should stick it out with the Cincinnati Reds beyond just the 2020 season, whenever that may start. Castellanos has the ability to opt out of his contract before next winter, but he should stay put through at least 2021.

Castellanos signed a four-year/$64M contract with the Reds this past winter. However, along with massive amount of money guaranteed to Castellanos, he also has two opt-out opportunities. Castellanos can opt out of his current contract after both the 2020 and 2021 seasons. Given the current financial landscape, I’d be hard pressed to opt out after 2020 if I were Castellanos.

According to Spotrac, Castellanos is owed $16M in the first year of his contract. With the players already agreeing to a reduced salary in 2020 and the likelihood of an 80-game season on the horizon, if the prorated payment stays in effect, Castellanos would take home somewhere in the neighborhood of $8M.

The coronavirus pandemic has put all guaranteed money up in the air as it relates to the 2020 season. As of today, there’s no agreement on if or when the season will begin, and the players seem to be balking at the revenue sharing idea floated out there by the owners.

But, let’s forget about this season for a second and focus on next year. Castellanos is slated to make $14M next season according to Spotrac, but he could forgo that guaranteed amount and enter free agency if he opts out before next winter. Given the current economic situation in Major League Baseball, it seems unlikely that owners will want to spend big next offseason.

The Cincinnati Reds invested heavily in the free agent market this past winter, bringing in the likes of Mike Moustakas, Pedro Strop, Wade Miley and Shogo Akiyama in addition to Castellanos. There’s no way that Cincinnati will spend big this coming offseason, and many other major league clubs are likely to follow suit.

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While Nick Castellanos may have a great season in 2020 for the Reds, if he opts out, he’s taking a serious risk in terms of what he may be able to get on the open market. The $14M owed to Castellanos in 2021 is nothing to sneeze at, and the slugger could opt out following that season if he wishes to enter free agency that winter.