The Cincinnati Reds didn’t land every free agent that they seemed to be after this offseason, they landed five of the ones that they were after. The latest being outfielder Nick Castellanos, who will join fellow outfielder Shogo Akiyama, infielder Mike Moustakas, starting pitcher Wade Miley, and reliever Pedro Strop as the newcomers to the Reds roster. While Cincinnati didn’t hand out Gerrit Cole money, given the history of the team and free agency, they may feel like they did. The contracts handed out to both Castellanos and Moustakas were worth $64,000,000 and were the largest ever handed out by the team in free agent history. Let’s take a look at where the current payroll is.
There’s a little bit of funny math at hand here. Nick Castellanos is going to be getting $16,000,000 for the 2020 season, but only $10,000,000 of that is being paid out this year, with the remaining salary being deferred. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported earlier in the week that Castellanos would get the remaining money in $2,000,000 installments on January 15th of 2021, February 1st of 2021, and the final one on January 15th of 2022. Pedro Strop’s base salary is also at $1,825,000 but he’s likely to meet at least some performance bonuses that will push that higher.
That is a record high payroll for the Cincinnati Reds. It’s also still below the league average payroll from the 2019 season in Major League Baseball. We don’t know just how much money the Reds have at their disposal. And honestly, it may depend on who is available, too. For the right players, the money could be there, while that same amount may not be in free agency. The implication there would be that maybe if you could land Corey Seager the ownership would find a way to make the $7,000,000 he’s due work, but for two middle relievers in free agency that money isn’t going to be there.