Difficult 2022 season still doesn't justify Reds lack of interest in Nick Castellanos

Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Nick Castellanos returns to the dugout.
Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Nick Castellanos returns to the dugout. / Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Nick Castellanos put up some of the best numbers of his career during his 2021 campaign with the Cincinnati Reds. But, the slugger received little-to-no interest from the Reds after opting out of his deal with the club last offseason.

Castellanos had signed a four-year/$64M contract with the Reds prior to the 2020 season, but that deal contained two opportunities for the outfielder to opt out of the contract. Castellanos did not exercise that option following the 2020 season, but did so following his second season in Cincinnati.

While there were rumors prior to Castellanos signing with the Philadelphia Phillies that the Reds had re-entered the conversation to bring the All-Star back to the Queen City, according to Castellanos (in an interview with Chris Rose), Cincinnati's front office never even gave him a phone call.

Former Reds OF Nick Castellanos returns to GABP tonight.

There are few players over the last decade that have the received the type of support Nick Castellanos obtained from the Cincinnati faithful. Reds Country adored Castellanos and embraced the brand of baseball he brought to the city of Cincinnati.

That one play against the St. Louis Cardinals, that eventually earned Castellanos a two-game suspension, when he scored on a wild pitch and flexed on Jake Woodford set the tone for the entire 2021 season.

It gave the Reds an identity and was similar to when Brandon Phillips and Yadier Molina got into a war of words that turned into a benches-clearing brawl back in 2010. That moment thrust the spotlight onto the Cincinnati Reds and Phillips became the face of a team that would no longer be intimidated by the St. Louis Cardinals or anybody.

Nick Castellanos oozed that same type of aura and charisma that made him a fan-favorite in Cincinnati. But the fans in Philadelphia probably don't see Castellanos in a similar light at the moment.

Castellanos has struggled during his first season in the City of Brotherly Love. The 30-year-old is hitting .259/.305/.380 and has just 10 home runs for the Phillies this season. Tommy Pham had more home runs during his 91 games with the Reds this season.

But Castellanos' struggles in 2022 still do not justify the Reds lack of interest in re-signing the outfielder to a contract during the offseason. Yes, there are a ton of talented young players in the Reds farm system, but Castellanos thrived at Great American Ball Park, and just like the aforementioned Brandon Phillips, was a player that the fans would pay to see.

You can't say the same thing for any player currently on the Cincinnati Reds roster. While the Reds have some talent on the roster and in the farm system, nobody brings the type of electricity to the ballpark that Castellanos did.

The Cincinnati Reds are rebuilding, and fans understand that. But unless Hunter Greene is on the mound and until Elly De La Cruz is called up to the bigs, there's no reason for casual fans to attend a Reds game. Castellanos helped bring fans to the ballpark, and they'll surely flock to GABP over the next three nights to see the slugger take the field, albeit in a Phillies uniform.

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