The Cincinnati Reds and catcher Curt Casali have avoided arbitration and agreed to a one-year contract for the 2019 season. Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer was the first to report this.
Source says Curt Casali agreed to a $950k contract with #Reds to avoid arbitration.
— Bobby Nightengale (@nightengalejr) January 10, 2019
The deal is worth $950,000. That’s a decent discount from what MLB Trade Rumors was projecting, which was $1.3M. Serving as the backup catcher to Tucker Barnhart, Casali play in 52 games for the Reds in 2018. He hit quite well in his limited action. Over his 156 plate appearances he hit .293/.355/.450. He threw out five of twenty-five attempted baserunners during the season (20%). That season was good enough for 0.9 WAR (both Baseball-Reference and Fangraphs versions), if you’re into that sort of thing.
This was the first year he was eligible for arbitration. He qualified as a Super 2 player, meaning that he will actually have four years of arbitration instead of the usual three. Curt Casali and the Reds may have to go down this road again three more times unless the two sides agree to a longer term deal. He will not be a free agent until after the 2022 season.
Reds, Yankees continue to discuss Sonny Gray
The Yankees and Reds are continuing to talk about a move that would bring right-handed pitcher Sonny Gray to Cincinnati. The Yankees, according to Jon Heyman, are interested in pitching prospects Tony Santillan, Vladimir Gutierrez, and Keury Mella.
Reds still among teams with interest in Sonny Gray. He has close connection with Reds pitching coach Derek Johnson. Yankees believed interested in multiple pitching prospects — good ones in the category of Santillan, Gutierrez and Mella. upper level guys with a chance.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 11, 2019
As the resident “prospect guy”, let me note that Tony Santillan is not in the same category as Vladimir Gutierrez, who isn’t in the same category as Keury Mella. In my most recent prospect rankings, Tony Santillan was the Reds #4 prospect (full scouting report here), while Vladimir Gutierrez was #9 (full scouting report here), and Keury Mella was ranked as the #16 prospect (full scouting report here).
A trade for Sonny Gray for Tony Santillan would be a very, very tough pull to swallow. One year of Sonny Gray should not be worth a Top 100 prospect (Baseball America’s most recent update). You can make the argument that either of the other two guys could make sense for the Reds. But the Reds should simply say no on including Tony Santillan in a trade for a guy who is only around for one guaranteed season.