The offseason has arrived in MLB and with it comes a flurry of players entering the market after opt outs or contract options being declined by teams. The biggest name to enter this free agent market is right fielder Nick Castellanos. The ex-Reds outfielder originally signed a four-year deal worth $64 million, but after two seasons in Cincinnati Castellanos has elected to opt out from the last couple years of his contract and is now a free agent.
Nick Castellanos opts out. Castellanos, 29, had .309/.362/.576 slash line this year. Had $34M and 2 years to go. Now a free agent. #reds
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 4, 2021
Castellanos immediately shoots up near the top of the free agent list among outfielders following his impressive 2021 season. The 29-year-old posted a career high 4.2 fWAR, 140 wRC+, .939 OPS and hit 34 home runs in 138 games.
His overall value takes a hit because the defense is poor, however Castellanos has been a consistent hitter several years and since the beginning of 2018 he ranks 15th in outfielders with a 126 wRC+.
So, what is Castellanos’ asking price after his career year?
Castellanos Asking Price
It’s obviously early in the offseason and many factors will dictate what Castellanos ends up getting, but we have somewhat of an idea on his asking price.
MLB insider Jon Heyman made some predictions in the latest episode of his podcast, Big Time Baseball, which included Castellanos signing a five-year contract worth $125 million with the Brewers.
You can click on the link below and listen to more predictions and analysis on some of the top free agents.
How much $ will Story, Semien, Baez, Ray and 5 other top free agents get? What are the Mets doing? What new rules does MLB need? How did the Padres score a coup? Is Oakland trying? Two reasons Atlanta has upper hand. Dusty thoughts. with @tonygwynnjr https://t.co/DDiosa0TE5
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) November 2, 2021
And it’s not just a random prediction either. You can feel however you want about Heyman, but there’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that Scott Boras pretty much uses him as a mouthpiece in the media. Guess who’s Castellanos’ agent? Scott Boras! So, I really do believe this is a pretty good indicator as to how much money Castellanos is looking for this offseason.
The qualifying offer and what happens afterward could also be a factor when considering what the Cubs or White Sox might do this offseason targeting free agents. The Reds will place the qualifying offer on Castellanos and he will end up declining it.
In turn, the Reds will receive an additional draft pick, while the team who signs Castellanos will lose a draft pick and international spending money.
— Bobby Nightengale (@nightengalejr) November 4, 2021
While the penalties for signing Castellanos might not be a concern for the White Sox, who are positioned to be championship contenders, the loss of draft picks and international pool money could very well be considered for the Cubs, who are in a stage of transition this offseason.
Recent Free Agent Deals for Outfielders
Last offseason there were two big free agent deals for outfielders, as George Springer signed a six-year contract worth $150 million with the Blue Jays. Meanwhile, the Braves inked Marcell Ozuna to a four-year deal worth $65 million.
Two years ago, Castellanos signed the biggest free agent contract for outfielders (4 years, $64 million) and besides Bryce Harper’s mega deal with Philadelphia the prior offseason featured A.J. Pollock getting $55 million over four years from the Dodgers and Andrew McCutchen signing a three-year, $50 million with the Phillies.
So, you’re most likely going to see Castellanos signing somewhere between the Ozuna and Springer deals. Again, fits in with what we think his current asking price is, about $25 AAV, but more likely 4-5 years rather than the six that Springer got.
Recent White Sox Free Agent History
The White Sox have been notorious for being cheap, however there’s no arguing that they’ve made big moves in recent years. They’ve built up their core and in the last two years the White Sox have signed multiple, big money deals.
However, the same issues and questions remain. Will the White Sox go out in free agency and target the very top of the market or will they settle like they did with Adam Eaton last season?
Kelvin Herrera – 2 years, $18 million
Jon Jay – 1 year, $4 million
Yasmani Grandal – 3 years, $71 million
Dallas Keuchel – 3 years, $55 million
Edwin Encarnacion – 1 year, $12 million
Liam Hendriks – 3 years, $54 million
Adam Eaton – 1 year, $7 million
Carlos Rodon – 1 year, $3 million
Recent Cubs Free Agent History
It’s pretty embarrassing looking back at the recent free agency history for the Cubs, who were right in the middle of their championship window. Just as a preview, they’ve only signed one free agent position player to a multi-year deal since the 2015-16 offseason. It’s Daniel Descalso. Here are the biggest free agent deals by the Cubs in the past three years.
Craig Kimbrel – 3 years, $43 million (signed in June)
Daniel Descalso – 2 years, $5 million
Steven Souza – 1 year, $1 million
Ryan Tepera – 1 year, $900k
Joc Pederson – 1 year, $7 million
Jake Arrieta – 1 year, $6 million
Andrew Chafin – 1 year, $2.75 million
Trevor Williams – 1 year, $2.5 million
So, do you see either the Cubs or White Sox doing all they can to get Castellanos back in Chicago?