With the World Series in the books, the Major League Baseball offseason is set to begin in the coming days. One of the most intriguing storylines Reds fans will be following is whether or not Nick Castellanos will opt out of his current contract.
Reds OF Nick Castellanos will likely opt out of his contract.
Most experts and pundits believe he will, opting to leave the remaining two years and $34M on the table. Castellanos will likely be looking for additional years and an increase in the average annual value ($17M).
This likely departure will leave a giant void, not only in right field, but in the heart of David Bell's lineup. Castellanos put up MVP-worthy numbers throughout the 2021 season.
There is a chance, albeit a small one, that Nick Castellanos returns to Cincinnati. I would love to see Castellanos back in the Queen City, but the harsh reality is that he'll likely be out of the Reds price range.
So, with Castellanos likely out the door, the Reds may need to find a replacement. Several free agent outfielders could fit the bill, and a name who will likely garner lots of attention this winter is World Series MVP Jorge Soler.
Soler began the season with the Kansas City Royals, but was dealt to the Atlanta Braves at the July 30th trade deadline. Soler hit .269/.358/.524 in 55 games with the Braves.
In Game 1 of the 2021 World Series, Soler put the Braves up early with a leadoff homer. Atlanta would go onto to win that game by a final of 6-2.
Last night, Soler smacked a 3-2 pitch in the top of the third inning that still hasn't landed. The three-run bomb left the stadium and gave the Braves a lead they wouldn't relinquish.
The ball exited Soler's bat at 109.6-MPH and travelled 446 feet per Baseball Savant. Soler earned World Series MVP honors after hitting .292/.418/.692 in the World Series.
Don't let Jorge Soler's World Series numbers fool you.
Before you become enamored with the display Jorge Soler put on during the World Series, allow me to bring you back to earth.
Soler is your classic three true outcomes-type of player. While his majestic home runs can be a thing of beauty, Soler strikes out a lot. The slugger led the league in 2019 (178) while with the Royals.
Despite Soler's impressive run with Atlanta during the second-half of the season and in the playoffs, the 29-year-old was responsible for -0.3 WAR. Soler is a career .246 hitter.
Yes, the Cincinnati Reds will likely need a right-handed bat to replace Nick Castellanos, but after the performance Jorge Soler put up in the postseason, his contract demands greatly increased.
With what Soler is likely to command on the open market, the Reds would be better served to go ahead and aqueous to whatever Castellanos' number might be.
Soler is also not much of a defensive presence in the outfield. While Castellanos isn't going to win a Gold Glove, Soler was worth -12 defensive runs saved in 2021 while playing right field. Castellanos posted -7 DRS last season.
The Cincinnati Reds are likely to have a void in right field once Nick Castellanos opts out of his contract, but Jorge Soler is not the answer. Nick Krall should look at other options like, you know, bringing Nick Castellanos back to Cincinnati.