According to Jon Heyman of the New York Post, Cincinnati Reds president and COO Phil Castellini sent a letter to team employees apologizing for his comments from two weeks ago that set off a firestorm throughout Reds Country.
When asked by a local radio host about the discontent among the Reds fanbase, Castellini retorted by saying, "Where ya gonna go?"
That did not sit well with the Cincinnati faithful, and when Brandon Saho of WLW attempted to give Castellini an out, the Reds executive doubled-down on his position. According Heyman, Castellini's letter said, "I let my frustration get the best of me."
Reds president Phil Castellini needs to stop apologizing.
Phil Castellini needs to stop apologizing and stop trying to walk back what he said. It's done! Fans of the Cincinnati Reds now know exactly how he feels and they're not in a forgiving mood right now.
It was painfully apparent that winning comes secondary to the Castellini's when, this past offseason, the Reds were out to save a buck by cutting payroll left and right. First it was Tucker Barnhart and then Wade Miley. The club shed $17.5M-worth of committed salary by trading the longtime catcher and inexcusably waiving the left-handed starter.
The avalanche came after the MLB lockout when in the span of less than one week Cincinnati traded Amir Garrett, Jesse Winker, Sonny Gray, and Eugenio Suárez. To Reds Country, that was the equivalent of waving the white flag and giving up any chance of winning in 2022.
No offense to Jake Fraley, Justin Dunn, Connor Phillips, Chase Petty, Mike Minor, or Brandon Williamson, but none of those players are going to be key to Cincinnati competing for a division crown this season.
Then came Nick Castellanos signing with the Philadelphia Phillies for $100M. The All-Star outfielder later revealed to Chris Rose that the Cincinnati Reds never even gave him a phone call after he opted out of his contract.
Phil Castellini needs a good-faith gesture in order to win back Reds fans.
At this stage of the game, it's going to be very hard for Phil Castellini to win back the Cincinnati fanbase. The Reds are 3-13 and rank near the bottom of virtually every hitting and pitching category that exists.
Reds Country knows this is not their year, and no amount of bobbleheads or buy-one, get-one ticket deals are going to change that. But there are some things that Castellini and the Reds ownership could do that might signal the team is serious about contending in the future.
At the end of the day, lack of spending is one of the biggest frustrations among the Reds fanbase. It's not just spending money, but spending money wisely. Fans see the Reds waive Wade Miley, who was owed $10M in 2022, only to turn around and trade for Mike Minor, who's owed $10M in 2022. The optics of that are atrocious.
The only thing the Reds front office might be able to during the season is to offer a contract extension to one of Cincinnati's bright, young stars. If the Reds can find a way to lock up Jonathan India or Tyler Stephenson, and show a long-term commitment to the core of the team going forward, perhaps they'll gain a small measure of goodwill with the fanbase.
Phil Castellini made his bed and now he's got to sleep in it. The Cincinnati Reds COO deserves every bit of criticism he receives from the fans and the media alike. The time for apologizing is over. Actions speak louder than words. The fans in Cincinnati want a winner, not more bobbleheads and amenities at Great American Ball Park.