Reds are unsurprisingly not engaged in contract talks with Nick Castellanos

Cincinnati Reds right fielder Nick Castellanos (2) leaves the dugout.
Cincinnati Reds right fielder Nick Castellanos (2) leaves the dugout. / Meg Vogel / USA TODAY NETWORK

According to The Athletic's C. Trent Rosecrans, the Cincinnati Reds are not actively engaged in contract discussions with Nick Castellanos' representatives. This should come as no surprise to anyone throughout Reds Country.

Castellanos signed a four-year/$64M contract with the Reds prior to the 2020 season, but had the ability to opt out of the deal after both the 2020 and 2021 season. Castellanos exercised that right after last season and is currently a free agent.

Reds unsurprisingly not negotiating with Nick Castellanos.

This is hardly newsworthy, but it does confirm what we already know; the Cincinnati Reds are not going to pursue a big name free agent prior to the 2022 season. Nick Castellanos is viewed by many fans and pundits throughout the sport as one of the 10 best free agents available.

It was rumored before the MLB lockout that Castellanos was seeking a seven-to-eight year contract. One would assume that Castellanos still has his sights sets on a multi-year offer - maybe something in the neighborhood of a seven-year/$130M deal.

With Nick Castellanos now all but assured to sign elsewhere prior to the upcoming season, all eyes will focus on who the Cincinnati Reds will look to in order to replace their All-Star outfielder. Castellanos hit .309/.329/.486 with 34 home runs and 100 RBIs last season.

That type of production is not easily replaced, especially considering the Reds are unwilling to spend much money in free agency. In all likelihood, Tyler Naquin will be the team's starting right fielder on Opening Day versus the Atlanta Braves. Reds manager David Bell could look to platoon the left-handed hitting Naquin with the right-handed hitting Aristides Aquino in right field.

The possibility exists for the Reds to pursue a low-cost free agent outfielder. Players like Joc Pederson and Eddie Rosario come to mind. The Reds could also turn their attention to the trade route, as Cincinnati rumored to be shopping some of their starting pitchers.

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One thing is for sure, the Reds do not have a major league-ready outfielder in the team's farm system. Players like Michael Siani, Austin Hendrick, and Jay Allen are several years away from making their big league debut.