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4 possible destinations for Nick Castellanos after opting out of contract with Reds

Cincinnati Reds right fielder Nick Castellanos (2) runs the bases.
Cincinnati Reds right fielder Nick Castellanos (2) runs the bases. / David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
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Cincinnati Reds right fielder Nick Castellanos unsurprisingly opted out of his contract, effectively leaving $34M on the table. Where might the slugger end up in 2022?

Castellanos was a frontrunner for the NL MVP at varying points throughout the 2021 season, so teams will be lining up to acquire his services this offseason.

1. The Reds should attempt to re-sign Nick Castellanos.

It goes without saying that the Cincinnati Reds should make every effort to re-sign Nick Castellanos this offseason. The question is, will they?

I think the Reds will make a competitive offer for Castellanos. But in the end, I find it hard to believe that Cincinnati will get into a bidding war with some of the big market franchises who will likely offer Castellanos more guaranteed money.

Castellanos was one of, if not the most productive bat in the Cincinnati Reds lineup this past season. Along with Joey Votto and Jesse Winker, Castellanos helped turn the middle of the Reds batting order into one of the more feared lineups in the National League.

You can't just replace what Castellanos brought to the table with a combination of Tyler Naquin and Aristides Aquino. But, if Cincinnati fails to retain Castellanos, that's exactly what Reds fans can look forward to in 2022.

If the Reds choose let Castellanos walk, the team could look to some middle-tier free agents like Joc Pederson, Jorge Soler, or Kole Calhoun in order to fill the void in right field. However, none of those aforementioned players will come close to replicating what Castellanos can do at the dish.

Nick Castellanos will likely be extended a qualifying offer and will undoubtedly reject it, thereby guaranteeing the Reds will receive draft compensation should Castellanos sign elsewhere this winter.

I think Cincinnati will be in the mix, but I find it hard to believe that Castellanos will re-sign with the Reds. If the front office can shed some payroll in the coming days, the prospects of re-signing Castellanos become more likely.