CINCINNATI — Just because he opted out doesn't mean Nick Castellanos has closed the door on returning to Cincinnati.
The 29-year-old outfielder won his first Silver Slugger Award this season after posting a .309 batting average with 34 home runs and 100 RBIs. Castellanos, a Scott Boras client, opted out Nov. 4, becoming a free agent. He had $34 million and two years left on his contract.
Still, in a Zoom interview with reporters Thursday, Castellanos said "of course" he would entertain the Reds.
"Why wouldn't I? I feel like there's still a lot of valuable pieces that are very good to win with," Castellanos said. "We have pieces — why wouldn't I entertain it?"
While the Reds have lost some pieces, like Tucker Barhart and Wade Miley, the first-time National League All-Star pointed to Joey Votto, Jesse Winker and Jonathan India coming back next season — encouraging the Reds to extend India before he becomes "too expensive."
"The Reds better shape up and extend this man very quickly," Castellanos. "Jonathan India is a very, very good baseball player and he's going to get better."
Castellanos also has another offer from Cincinnati in the form of free food. Restaurateur Jeff Ruby offered the NL MVP candidate dinner on him for the entire year.
I raise that offer to include dinner on me at our 3 Cincinnati restaurants the entire year. pic.twitter.com/3c5YPuuC28— Jeff Ruby (@TheRealJeffRuby) November 9, 2021
"We'll see how it plays out, but Jeff Ruby, you're the man for putting that out there," Castellanos said.