Nick Castellanos' decision isn't clear cut after Reds extend qualifying offer

Cincinnati Reds right fielder Nick Castellanos (2) looks on from the dugout.
Cincinnati Reds right fielder Nick Castellanos (2) looks on from the dugout. / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Castellanos is one of 14 free agents to have received a qualifying offer. The Cincinnati Reds will now receive draft compensation if the right fielder signs with another team this winter.

The qualifying offer is oftentimes a formality. Typically, the player receiving the QO promptly rejects it. This year's QO guarantees any player who signs it an $18.4M salary in 2022.

The Reds predictably extended a qualifying offer to Nick Castellanos.

Since the qualifying offer was introduced following the 2012 season, only 10 of the 96 players have taken the deal.

The draft pick attached to the qualifying offer is the kicker for most teams, and a lot of franchises will outright avoid signing a free agent who has received a QO.

Nick Castellanos is easily the most attractive free agent outfielder among the group receiving qualifying offers. Both Michael Conforto and Chris Taylor received a QO as well.

If a free agent who receives a qualifying offer signs elsewhere, the player's former team receives compensation.

The pick is based on varying criteria. Most likely, the Reds would receive an additional pick after Round 1 of the 2022 MLB Draft. Hey, that's more than they received for Wade Miley.

All kidding aside, this year, more than ever before, we're likely to see a higher percentage of those players receiving a QO actually accept the offer.

The collective bargaining agreement is set to expire very soon, and a halt on free agent signing could be part of the fallout.

With all that said, I still expect Nick Castellanos to reject the qualifying offer and enter free agency as the top outfielder available.

Ken Davidoff of the New York Post expects Castellanos to sign a five-year/$85M contract with Cleveland.

While the contract prediction may be in the ballpark, I'm a little pessimistic about the destination. Only time will tell.

That contract estimate, courtesy of Davidoff, is more than affordable, but I still do not expect the Reds to be competitive with their offer.

Next. Way-too-early Reds 2022 roster prediction. dark

However, after shedding the $17.5M commitment for 2022 by dealing Tucker Barnhart and waiving Wade Miley, Cincinnati has the resources to make a competitive offer.