Looking at the Reds short-term and long-term plans for right field

Cincinnati Reds outfielder Austin Hendrick (12) fields a ball during
Cincinnati Reds outfielder Austin Hendrick (12) fields a ball during / Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

In all likelihood, Nick Castellanos has played his final inning for the Cincinnati Reds. This begs the question; who will play right field for the Reds in 2022? But, beyond next season, what's the long-term outlook for the position?

For the past two seasons, Castellanos has held down the fort in right field. While not an above-average defender by any means, the free agent had one of the most successful seasons at the plate in 2021. Castellanos went to his first All-Star Game, took home a Silver Slugger, and finished in 12th in the race for NL MVP.

Who will play right field for the Reds in 2022 and beyond?

With Nick Castellanos likely headed elsewhere once the MLB lockout is over, who's going to be the Cincinnati Reds everyday right fielder in 2022? The smart money is on Tyler Naquin. The former Cleveland Guardians' outfielder saw time in both center and right field for the Reds in 2021.

Naquin is under team-control through next season, and according to MLB Trade Rumors, can expect to take home $3.6M in 2022. But, Naquin will become a free agent the following winter, and being that the outfielder is now 30 years old, it's unlikely that Cincinnati will re-sign him unless the Texas native produces the best numbers of his career.

Behind Tyler Naquin on the depth chart is Aristides Aquino. The Punisher has unmatchable raw power, but there's a lot of swing-and-miss in his bat. Aquino is out of minor league options, and may struggle to earn a roster spot in 2022.

The Reds could always investigate the free agent market. Several serviceable outfielders, such as Joc Pederson, Jorge Soler, and Eddie Rosario. However, Cincinnati has shown an unwillingness to commit money to positions that they feel already have adequate depth.

Beyond next season, however, the future looks rather bright. Cincinnati spent their 2020 first-round pick on high school outfielder Austin Hendrick. Hendrick has next-level power and more than enough arm strength to field the position.

Hendrick made his professional debut last season for the Daytona Tortugas. In 63 games, Hendrick slashed just .211/.380/.388 with a 37.6% strikeout-rate. However, the 20-year-old did maintain a 19.2% walk-rate and boasted a wRC+ of 119. Hendrick is likely to begin his 2022 campaign at Low-A Daytona.

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The Cincinnati Reds also have more than just Hendrick in their farm system. Last year's draft pick, Jay Allen, is perhaps best suited for center field, but could slide over to right field. Allan Cerda was recently added to the Reds 40-man roster, and last year's international signees Ariel Almonte and Malvin Valdez could enter the mix as well.