MLB hot stove: Landing spots for Joey Votto, Luis Castillo, Sonny Gray and more as Reds continue sell-off

One week into the 2021-22 MLB offseason, the Cincinnati Reds have been essentially the most lively workforce in baseball, and never essential for a great motive. The Reds have began slicing payroll, first by trading catcher Tucker Barnhart to the Tigers for a fringe prospect, then by letting lefty Wade Miley go to the NL Central rivals Cubs on waivers. These strikes saved the workforce $1.5 million over what they’d have spent had they simply purchased out Barnhart’s ($7.5 million) and Miley’s ($10 million) membership choices.

“Buying and selling Tucker was a really troublesome determination,” Reds GM Nick Krall advised reporters, including Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer, following the Barnhart commerce. “Having been drafted and developed by the Reds, our complete group has a connection to him, and our followers love him. However going into 2022, we should align our payroll to our sources and proceed specializing in scouting and growing younger expertise from inside our system.”

Aggressive cost-cutting is nothing new for the Reds, who primarily gave Raisel Iglesias away final offseason to keep away from his $9.125 million wage. Cincinnati went 83-79 in 2021 and was within the postseason race many of the season, plus the Reds had the fourth-highest scoring offense within the Nationwide League (4.85 runs per recreation). It is disappointing them to see them tighten the purse strings after they contended a lot of the yr and play in a division that’s removed from dominant.

The price-cutting might not finish with Barnhart and Miley. The Reds are prepared to debate any participant making vital cash, reports MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, and’s Jon Morosi adds ace Luis Castillo is already drawing commerce curiosity. No shock there. Castillo is among the recreation’s most gifted pitchers and would assist to each rotation. 

What different gamers may transfer as a part of Cincinnati’s efforts to “align our payroll to our sources?” Let’s have a look.

Contract standing: $8 million in 2022

Two years in the past the Reds took a three-year, $21 million roll of the cube on Shogo Akiyama, who authored a .303/.392/.471 batting line with 20 house runs in his ultimate season with the Seibu Lions in Japan. In his two years with the Reds, the 33-year-old Akiyama has hit .224/.320/.274 with no single house run in near 400 plate appearances. He is been overmatched, notably towards velocity. Akiyama is an effective middle fielder with some velocity, however he presents zero offense, and an $8 million price ticket for a fourth (and even fifth) outfielder is simply too wealthy for almost each workforce.

Potential touchdown spots: Phillies, Mets, Rangers, Rockies. Krall insists he doesn’t wish to connect gamers or prospects to undesirable contracts to dump cash. In that case, he has near no hope of transferring Akiyama.

Contract standing: $7.6 million in 2022 (projected) and arbitration-eligible in 2023

Cincinnati’s No. 1 commerce chip is their ace, who shook off a sluggish begin this previous season to submit a 2.73 ERA with 144 strikeouts in his ultimate 22 begins and 135 1/3 innings. Castillo, 28, brings upper-90s velocity, arguably the very best changeup within the sport, and the flexibility to overlook bats and get floor balls to the desk. He’s elite and he comes with two years of management. His commerce worth is critical, even with the Barnhart and Miley strikes signaling the Reds are prioritizing funds over the absolute best baseball transfer. The bidding battle for Castillo can be fierce.

Potential touchdown spots: Each contender, actually. Any workforce with designs on contending in 2022 will test in on Castillo. That listing of groups ought to embrace the Reds, although it is fairly clear now profitable is taking a backseat to bringing payroll down.

Contract standing: $10 million in 2022 and $12 million membership possibility for 2023 (no buyout)

Aside from Castillo, Sonny Gray could be Cincinnati’s greatest hope of swinging a commerce that clears vital {dollars} and brings a stable haul in return. The 32-year-old has been good greater than nice round varied non-arm accidents the final two seasons (again, groin, ribs) and he usually does not pitch deep into video games, however Grey has posted a solidly higher than league common ERA yearly of his profession besides 2016 and 2018, and groups will take 140 above-average innings over 180 common innings lately.

Potential touchdown spots: Angels, Astros, Braves, Cardinals, Dodgers, Giants, Mariners, Padres. Grey is sweet sufficient and inexpensive sufficient to suit with most groups, and the membership possibility means he isn’t essentially a one-year pickup both.

Contract standing: $5 million in 2022 (projected) and arbitration-eligible in 2023

An analytics darling, Tyler Mahle can be a particularly in style commerce candidate if the Reds go forward and make him accessible. He boasts the spin charges groups crave, a excessive strikeout charge, and the flexibility to suppress onerous contact. Mahle turned 27 in September and isn’t a real ace, however the substances are there for him to be this offseason’s Joe Musgrove, the man who lastly takes that subsequent step after years of displaying spectacular measurables however inconsistent efficiency.

Potential touchdown spots: Angels, Astros, Blue Jays, Braves, Cardinals, Dodgers, Giants, Mariners, Rays, Red Sox, Yankees. A superb beginning pitcher with an opportunity to be nice and workforce management past 2023? Yeah, Mahle might be very in-demand on the commerce market. If the Reds commerce him and Castillo, we’d as nicely simply name this what it’s: a full-blown rebuild on the alter of cost-cutting.

Contract standing: $16 million in 2022, $18 million in 2023, and $20 million membership possibility for 2024 ($4 million buyout)

Heel and foot accidents restricted Mike Moustakas to 62 unproductive video games in 2021. He is solely two years faraway from a 35-home run season, and you’ll squint your eyes and say Moustakas might be higher in 2022 with good well being seeing how he turned solely 33 in September (and never, say, 35 or 36), however at that wage? Arduous to see one other workforce taking an opportunity with out the Reds consuming cash or kicking in some sort of sweetener. Moustakas has proven regular declines in his strikeout charge, chase charge, and hard-hit charge, which are sometimes indicators of lowered bat velocity.

Potential touchdown spots: Blue Jays, Nationals. Once more, it is onerous to see a commerce coming collectively until the Reds eat cash or connect a prospect(s) to Moustakas. That is some huge cash for a participant who has exhibited indicators of decline.

Contract standing: $11 million per yr from 2022-24 plus $15 million membership possibility for 2025 ($2 million buyout)

Issues have gone so unhealthy, so quick for Eugenio Suárez. Two years in the past he mashed 49 house runs and was one of many high sluggers within the recreation. Now he is among the many worst gamers in baseball. Suárez, who continues to be solely 30, posted minus-0.6 WAR in 2021, although to be truthful, it is not his fault the Reds requested him to play shortstop early within the season after ignoring the place over the winter. He was a defensive catastrophe there. The bat has taken a major step again too, even when Suárez can nonetheless hit 30-plus homers. A batting common round .200 with 30-plus homers can work in case you draw a ton of walks and win Gold Gloves like Joey Gallo, however not in case you do not stroll a lot or contribute defensively. Suárez has adverse commerce worth in the intervening time.

Potential touchdown spots: None. Cincinnati’s greatest hope is a nasty contract for unhealthy contract commerce that takes the $35 million they owe Suárez the following three years and redistributes it in a extra team-friendly method. What that unhealthy contract for unhealthy contract commerce may seem like, I am undecided. I imply, Suárez is not that costly.

Contract standing: $25 million per yr from 2022-23 plus $20 million membership possibility for 2024 ($7 million buyout)

Arduous to think about Joey Votto taking part in for one more workforce, is not it? Votto turned 38 in September and he simply had a resurgent 36-homer season, tying the second highest complete of his profession, together with his usually robust on-base proportion. He’s a hitting savant, able to making changes to stay productive even whereas his bodily abilities naturally erode with age. The listing of gamers who you’d really feel comfy projecting to be above-average contributors from ages 38-39 could be very quick, however Votto is on it. He is nonetheless an impression hitter, a great defender, and a clubhouse chief.

Potential touchdown spots: Blue Jays, Purple Sox, Yankees. Gosh, Votto going house to Toronto can be such a enjoyable story. He must share first base and DH responsibility with Vladimir Guerrero Jr., and Teoscar Hernández must play the outfield full-time, however it will probably work. The cash limits the potential touchdown spots for Votto, however the three big-market AL East groups stand out as suitors.

Contract standing: $6.8 million (projected) and arbitration-eligible in 2023

Merely put, Jesse Winker is among the greatest pure hitters within the recreation. He has energy, he attracts walks, and he does not strike out excessively. Winker was a deserving All-Star this season and, at age 28, he’s proper smack in his prime. This man wouldn’t look misplaced because the No. 3 hitter on a World Collection contender. The draw back is Winker is a brutal defensive outfielder. One of many worst within the sport. He is a DH, by and thru. Fortuitously, his bat greater than performs on the place.

Potential touchdown spots: Blue Jays, Mariners, Rays, Twins, White Sox. The upcoming collective bargaining settlement is anticipated to implement the common DH, which might create just a few extra potential suitors for Winker.

Varied relievers

The Reds had bullpen issues many of the season — the bullpen was their downfall, actually — so there would not appear to be an enormous marketplace for their relievers, however individually, they’ve just a few attention-grabbing items. Righty Luis Cessa ($1.2 million projected) is a slider machine who has expertise in each position. Lefty Amir Garrett ($2.2 million projected) has elite stuff, albeit with a house run downside. Righty Lucas Sims ($1.2 million projected) has discovered a house within the bullpen as a excessive strikeout slider specialist. All are efficient and have management behind 2022. Their projected salaries might seem to be a drop within the bucket, and they’re, however consider the Reds simply moved Barnhart for a fringe prospect to keep away from the $500,000 buyout of his membership possibility. No quantity is simply too small to dump.

Potential touchdown spots: Each workforce. There’ll at all times be a marketplace for low-cost, controllable relievers. Sims particularly ought to draw curiosity as a high-leverage possibility. | MLB scorching range: Touchdown spots for Joey Votto, Luis Castillo, Sonny Grey and extra as Reds proceed sell-off


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