In his second season with the Reds, Castellanos made the all-star team for the first time and delivered the best season of his career, hitting .309 with 34 home runs and 100 RBIs. He credited his success to his offseason preparation.
“I got my head right,” Castellanos said. “I knew what I wanted to do. I figured out in the offseason how I wanted to do it, even more so understanding that I’ve got to get rid of as many distractions as I can. That’s a big reason why I chose to drop my smartphone and stuff, just to lock it in and see what could happen.”
If Castellanos chooses to continue his career elsewhere, it won’t be because he didn’t enjoy his time in Cincinnati.
“Regardless of however it ends up, I really love and appreciate the city of Cincinnati for embracing me and my family the way they have,” he said. “I appreciate the relationships I had with the coaching staff, and I appreciate the relationships that I’ve had with the players and the fans. I also have to tip my hat to the Castellini family for trusting me. That’s a substantial investment and a chance they took on me. I appreciate them for the opportunity.”
One big name in Cincinnati, restaurateur Jeff Ruby, has promised to pay for Castellanos’ dinner at his three Cincinnati restaurants for a year if Castellanos returns to the Reds.
“Jeff Ruby, you’re the man for putting that out there,” Castellanos said. “I really appreciate that, and I saw that. So hat’s off to you my friend.”
Castellanos doesn’t want to speculate on his future. He’s planning to stay away from the debates on the MLB Network.
Asked how important it is that he sign with a contender, Castellanos said, “I would say what’s the most important thing is just the relationships I have and the understanding I have of the organization and the direction they want to go in. Who’s a part of your vision? How do you see them as pieces in your vision? How can I assist in growing and aiding said pieces to be better than they are now? How can I make them better in the future? Relationships, if you’re paying attention, you can definitely get a sense of who aligns with you, the way you think, the way you want to go about your game, the way you take the game. You just begin to understand who kind of aligns with that and who doesn’t.”
Castellanos didn’t want to publicly speculate on how the Reds’ vision aligns with his goals. The Reds finished 83-79 last season. They faded as a contender with a 12-17 mark in September and October. Since the end of the season, they have traded catcher Tucker Barnhart for a minor league infielder and seen the Chicago Cubs claim starting pitcher Wade Miley off waivers.
This is Castellanos’ second experience with free agency, and he knows better what to expect this time.
“I’m much more at ease with the whole process,” he said. “I understand it. I’m going to sit back and enjoy it.”