On the whole, Cincinnati Reds fans should be elated about the way the 2021 season is unfolding.
The team is vastly exceeding expectations, and with almost three months in the books, the Reds are still firmly in the mix in the National League Central.
Both players are performing at an MVP-caliber level.
While Winker deserves massive amounts of recognition, Castellanos is the focus today.
There has been a fair amount of speculation lately as to whether he could be on the move at the upcoming trade deadline.
Many fans have strong feelings about that idea, and it’s hard to blame them.
The Reds should not deal the 29-year-old, and here’s why.
3. His Contract Is Very Team-Friendly
Castellanos is currently playing on a four-year deal worth $64 million.
Very rarely do you see a player with an AAV of $16 million have an MVP-caliber season.
Here's another Nick Castellanos video… you're welcome. pic.twitter.com/4Xn6H9d2CO
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) April 4, 2021
If Castellanos’ current level of production sticks around beyond this year, the contract would have the potential to become one of the biggest steals in recent memory.
2. He Is Becoming The Face Of The Franchise
Castellanos is fast becoming a fan favorite in Cincinnati.
How could he not be?
Between Castellanos and Winker, the future of the Reds’ franchise is in extremely good hands.
Future Hall of Famer Joey Votto carried the torch for many years, but the two new stars are ready to take the reins.
Maybe we’re getting ahead of ourselves, but if the aforementioned duo is able to eventually bring a World Series title to Cincinnati, they’d be immortalized in the city.
1. He Is Under Contract Until 2024
Realistically, the Reds might not crack the postseason this year.
Having said that, it has become abundantly clear that the team is way ahead of schedule.
Cincinnati snuck into the expanded playoff field in 2020, giving fans a taste of what the future may hold.
The window for the Reds to win could open as soon as next season, and you better believe they are going to need Castellanos to be around for that.
They could get several cracks at it with Castellanos on his ultra-team-friendly deal through the 2023 season.
The two sides have a mutual option for the 2024 season.
Let’s take a moment to appreciate just how good he has been this year.
Over 65 games, Castellanos leads the league in batting average (.344), total bases (153), hits (89), and doubles (23).
Nick Castellanos' 250th career double came at a pretty nice time. pic.twitter.com/UIUbZki6Qa
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) May 16, 2021
He also has a .986 OPS and a 154 OPS+, a number that suggests he has been 54 percent better than the average offensive player this season (in the context of that statistic).
The argument that his trade value might never be this high again is a fair one, but trading away a player who is going to be an integral part of your contending team for years to come is a silly thought.
The Reds finally have an exciting foundation in place to contend for a title, and blowing it up would be a massive mistake.