Nick Castellanos gets brutally honest about Reds ownership (again)

Mar 27, 2022; Dunedin, Florida, USA; Philadelphia Phillies left fielder Nick Castellanos (8) looks on from third base in the third inning of the game against the Toronto Blue Jays during spring training at TD Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 27, 2022; Dunedin, Florida, USA; Philadelphia Phillies left fielder Nick Castellanos (8) looks on from third base in the third inning of the game against the Toronto Blue Jays during spring training at TD Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports /
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Nick Castellanos slams Reds ownership for “suffocating” their “impeccable” fans by not competing

Newest Philadelphia Phillies slugger Nick Castellanos isn’t afraid to be brutally honest with the media, which has already endeared him to Phillies fans and probably burned a bridge with his former team, the Cincinnati Reds.

Last time, he was a bit more subtle; during spring training, Castellanos put on the headset after hitting his first home run, and credited the Phillies front office and ownership, implicitly highlighting the difference between their offseason building versus the Reds’ tear-down:

"“At the end of the day, baseball comes down to ownership. The owner either wants to invest, and cares about winning, or doesn’t. So it speaks a lot to who he is. So, Philadelphia should be pumped that that guy (John Middleton) is behind the Phillies.”"

This week, Castellanos was featured in an ESPN piece about tanking in MLB, and he called out his former team by name:

"“It’s just a classic example of ownership using organizations as profit. When … there are no consequences for losing, you’re not held accountable for your performance.”"

Like many players around the league who have publicly said baseball fans deserve better, he made it clear that his issues with his former team are not issues with their fans:

"“What sucks is in a great city like Cincinnati where the fan base is impeccable, it’s suffocating because of ownership. I’m not saying that they are bad people. The system is bad.”"

Yikes.

While Castellanos says he’s not calling Reds ownership “bad people,” he’s certainly making it clear that he thinks they’re bad for baseball. And based on Reds President and owner’s son Phil Castellini’s comments on Tuesday, he’s not wrong:

"“Well, where are you going to go? Sell the team to who? That’s the other thing: You want to have this debate? …. What would you do with this team to have it more profitable, make more money, compete more in the current economic system that this game exist? It would be to pick it up and move it somewhere else.Be careful what you ask for.”"

Even bigger yikes.

Tanking was a huge part of new Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations, as it’s become prevalent in the league over the last decade. It’s become so commonplace that teams will make their intent to tank public, though never using the word itself.

Instead of the team with the worst record in the league ‘earning’ the No.1 pick in the draft, there will now be a lottery system, and there are other protocols in place now to try and limit tanking.

But until there are more owners committed to spending and winning, nothing in the CBA will be enough, as the Reds evidenced by slashing their roster. Otherwise, the obvious solution is that the league needs to implement penalties for teams with absurdly low payrolls, essentially, a salary floor. If a team exceeds the luxury tax threshold, they pay a tax; charging cheap teams a thrift tax would discourage overly-frugal behavior, as presumably, ownership would rather spend the money on a better roster than pay a fine for not spending, since it will cost them either way.

In the meantime, every year, there are at least two teams whose seasons are over before the first pitch on Opening Day. Non-competitiveness in a business built on competition is a problem, the question is, do they care to solve it?

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