3 bold moves to turn the Reds into a title contender

Reds players Kyle Farmer and Nick Castellanos celebrate.
Reds players Kyle Farmer and Nick Castellanos celebrate. / Jamie Sabau/GettyImages
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Cincinnati Reds right fielder Nick Castellanos (2) watches his home run.
Cincinnati Reds right fielder Nick Castellanos (2) watches his home run. / David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

1. The Reds must retain Nick Castellanos at all costs.

We'll know very soon what Nick Castellanos' intentions are. The Cincinnati Reds right fielder has the ability to opt out of his contract shortly after the World Series concludes. Castellanos still has two years and $34M remaining on his current deal.

Being represented by Scott Boras, I don't see any way that Castellanos does not exercise his right to opt out and enter the free agent market. The Reds will assuredly extend Castellanos a qualifying offer of $18.4M which he will most likely decline.

Doing so gives the Reds draft compensation in the event that Castellanos finds a new home. But Cincinnati should not let it get that far. If the Reds intend to remain competitive, they must find a way to keep Castellanos in the Queen City.

From the outside looking in, it appears that Castellanos enjoys being part of the Reds organization. He's been embraced by the fanbase and has said on many occasions that the 2021 season was the happiest year of baseball that he's had.

Happiness is a part of the equation, and the Reds seem to have that on their side. But money talks. In order to keep Nick Castellanos in Cincinnati, the Reds front office is going to have to pony up. We're probably talking about an eight-figure contract.

Would a four-year/$80M deal be enough? Maybe a five-year/$100M contract? Will other teams offer Castellanos more? Who might the Reds have to let go or trade in order to bring Castellanos back to Cincinnati?

The bottomline is, if the Cincinnati Reds are serious about contending next season, they have to re-sign Nick Castellanos. Period! While I wouldn't consider it a rebuild if Castellanos left via free agency, it's certainly a step backward.