In a recent video, Jon Heyman predicted landing spots for upcoming free agents. Of his predictions, he chose the Milwaukee Brewers to sign outfielder Nick Castellanos.
Here’s some early free agent predictions from Jon Heyman. pic.twitter.com/sBwk3Rdxkt
— Michael Mayer (@mikemayer22) October 22, 2021
MLB free agency does not begin until the day after the world series concludes. In Nick Castellanos case, we are not sure if he will even be a free agent yet. Castellanos signed a four year, $64MM deal in 2020 with the Cincinnati Reds. However, the deal included an opt out after the 2021 season.
Why would Castellanos want to opt out of his current deal?
2021 was a career year for Castellanos. At age 29, he made his first career all-star appearance and set career highs in batting average (.309), on base percentage (.362), slugging percentage (.576), OPS (.939), OPS+ (136), and home runs (34). He finished the season with a 3.3 WAR.
All of this indicates that Castellanos could opt out of his deal and make a lot more money this off-season. If he were to opt out, the Reds would certainly make a qualifying offer to him in which the price of that is set at $18.4MM this year.
Nick Castellanos will obviously opt out of his deal with $34M and 2 years to go. Still only 29, he posted a .939 OPS for the Reds this year. The Reds do have interest in retaining him following his All-Star season.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) October 20, 2021
Why would the Brewers want to sign Castellanos and would it even be able to work financially?
A few areas of improvement for the Brewers this off-season is to add power to the lineup and to get more offensive production from their outfielders. With Avisail Garcia likely to opt out of his contract with the Brewers after a career season, theoretically Castellanos could could slide in as the new right fielder. Despite how great Garcia was in 2021, Castellanos hit for more power and provided more production.
The biggest question is if the Brewers could afford to sign a player who is likely to get near $20MM per year. 2022 marks when Christian Yelich’s salary rises to $26MM and Lorenzo Cain is set to make $17MM as well. With many other young players set to receive pay increases, the chances of signing Castellanos seem slim at best.
One last thing to take into consideration is the looming expiration of the current MLB collective bargaining agreement. With the uncertainty surrounding this matter and the potential for a freeze on free agency and trades this off-season, it is possible that both Castellanos and Garcia elect to remain on their current teams with their current contracts. The flip side to that is they also may be willing to sign prior to the December 1st CBA expiration deadline.
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