This Wednesday is the non-tender date for Major League Baseball teams. Essentially, players who have not yet reached free agency, but are on the 40-man roster must be either tendered a contract for the next season, or non-tendered. If a player is tendered a contract, then they will either be paid the minimum based on their service time, or they will head to arbitration (or be offered a deal by the team which they can agree to or choose to head to arbitration) to determine their salary for the upcoming year. Non-tendered players become free agents.
For the Cincinnati Reds there are a lot of players that are eligible to be non-tendered. However, there aren’t many players that are likely to be non-tendered. MLB Trade Rumors wrote about the potential non-tender options around baseball over the weekend. That list only included two Cincinnati Reds players: Catcher Curt Casali and outfielder Brian Goodwin.
According to MLB Trade Rumors the Reds would owe Curt Casali $1.8M in arbitration and Brian Goodwin $2.7M in arbitration if they tendered them contracts for 2020. That’s not really all that much money, for either player. But it’s expected that teams will be looking to save money anywhere and everywhere that they can.
Both Casali and Goodwin play positions with some depth. The Reds have stated that catching prospect Tyler Stephenson is going to be a part of the 2021 team. Now, whether that’s from day one or not is another question, but it seems quite clear that the organization views him as the future at that spot on the field most days. Two’s company and three’s a crowd, even at the catcher position. If a team is indeed looking to save any sort of money, the difference between Casali’s projected salary in 2021 and Stephenson’s league minimum salary is about $1.2M.
The flip side of non-tendering Casali is that you almost always need more than two catchers, and he’s proven to be a quality big league option. The pitchers tend to speak well of his ability with the staff from a defensive perspective and over the last three seasons he’s hit .260/.345/.440. And you get that production, even as the guy who has been the backup to Tucker Barnhart, at a bargain price.
For Brian Goodwin, it’s a similar issue in that he plays a position that the Reds have plenty of options for. On a normal day he’s probably the 5th outfielder behind Nick Senzel, Shogo Akiyama, Jesse Winker, and Nick Castellanos. Goodwin can play center field – something that Winker and Castellanos can’t really do – but he’s still likely behind Akiyama on the depth chart for backup center fielder to Senzel. In a scenario where the National League retains the designated hitter, the outfield depth chart could change some, but unless that decision is agreed upon by Wednesday evening, the Reds have to make their decision before knowing how that one will play out.
So the team could non-tender Goodwin, who is likely their 5th outfielder and set to get a raise to $2.7M according to MLB Trade Rumors. Or they could choose to keep him around and have one of the best 5th outfield options in all of baseball. Prior to 2020, Goodwin had hit .255/.320/.461 in his career with the Nationals, Royals, and Angels. Toss in that he can play center and that’s a quality player, even if a bit limited (he’s never been given the opportunity to play full time other than in 2019 with the Angels where he played in 136 games and had his best offensive season, posting a 108 OPS+).
Those were the only two players mentioned by MLB Trade Rumors. But over at Fangraphs, there was a different thought process. Both Curt Casali and Brian Goodwin went unmentioned, seeming to be safe according to Eric Longenhagen. But he did have an unlikely candidate that he felt was worth mentioning: Archie Bradley.
As noted, it seems unlikely, but the Reds do seem to have some bullpen depth to work with. In a situation where a team is trying to save money, Archie Bradley could make some sense if money savings were the only thing one were to look at. He’s due somewhere between $4.7 and $5.7M for the 2021 season according to MLB Trade Rumors projections of arbitration.
After a tough two seasons as a starter with Arizona in 2015 and 2016 Bradley moved into the bullpen, and he’s been quite good ever since. In the four seasons since the transition to reliever the right-hander has posted a 2.95 ERA in 234.2 innings pitched while striking out 259 batters. Acquired on August 31st by the Reds this past season, he allowed just one run in 7.2 innings with Cincinnati before the season came to a close.
Given what the Reds gave up – top 10 prospect Stuart Fairchild, as well as big league utility man Josh VanMeter – it would seem like a tough pill to swallow for Cincinnati to non-tender him. He’s a proven, quality reliever. But as it’s been said – if the only thing a team is looking to do is save money, you can save a bit here.
Well, geez, go ahead and sign all three. Of the three, I imagine that Bradley and Casali have some trade value. Solid catchers are hard to find and even more solid relievers. For example, what might Boston give up for Bradley?
Sign Bradley. With an unsettled pitching staff, e.g., is Lorenzen starting, can Antone deliver consistently, etc., dumping a quality pitcher seems careless. Who is a better handler of pitchers and a better mentor for Stephenson, Casali or Barnhart? Trade the other. Goodwin doesn’t seem to be material. Trade him or non-tender. Bottom line just do something besides signing retreads.
Casali is such a bargain – sign him and play him as long as he’s needed, then trade him (or Barnhart) when he’s not. I’m not impressed by Goodwin, but whether he’s worth the money or not depends entirely on who might replace him. Sadly there don’t seem to be obvious options developing in the upper minors so I suspect he stays. As for Bradley, he’s pretty expensive to cover 80 innings but I expect he stays too – the bullpen will be even more important in 2021 if (likely when) Bauer is gone and the Reds have to rely on less proven starters in Mahle, Antone, and Lorenzen and the uncertain health of Miley. So in the end, it’s go to war with the same soldiers. If only they would hit more…
Keep Casali, let Goodwin go. Not impressed at all by him.
These are relatively cheap $ signings, a real competitor would sign them all, but alas this is the Reds. The one I can accept not signing is Goodwin. Not sure he would return anything via a trade and a 5th outfielder can be found anywhere IMO.
Would sign Casali and trade him (or preferably Barnhart) and give Stephenson the starting role.
Bradley is a no brainer. A very solid reliver and you gave up a solid prospect. As Doug mentioned would be a waste of a trade not to.
I think that if they really have to save some money in this three players then keep Bradley at least.
Tough call on all three, but it seems to me you protect yourself by signing at the two positions most likely to be impacted by injury, catcher pitcher. So bring back Curt Casali and Archie Bradlety. Brian Goodwin is a nice depth piece caught in an outfield numbers game.
In scrolling thru the MLBTR possible non-tender list I hit upon a couple of available (maybe) names that could benefit the Reds and hurt their Central competition. Orlando Arcia from the Brewers could be that bridge at SS and Albert Almora Jr. of the Cubs is a serviceable CF.
Both listed as cheaper options and as a bonus gives the Reds some flexibility if they wish to entertain trade offers … I’m looking at you Jesse Winker.
Mike, I agree on keeping the depth at catcher and pitcher: you’re right, those are injury prone positions. I don’t see the Reds, who are desperate for hitting, being interested in two hitters (Arcia and Almora) who can’t. And Winker needs to be the primary LFr: the Reds need his bat.
On Goodwin – “Or they could choose to keep him around and have one of the best 5th outfield options in all of baseball.”
The ZIPS projections just came out on FanGraphs …
Goodwin projects at 0.2 WAR and -2 Defensive Runs Saved.
If Krall has to pay almost $3 million for that and can’t find a league minimum replacement, for a 5th outfielder …. he should not have been promoted.
Casali may stay as Gray’s personal catcher (if Gray stays…)
Non-tender Goodwin and Bradley .. and there is more than $7 million towards signing a SS for 1 year, or 2.
Paying $5 million or so for Bradley when Iglesias is the established closer seems insane to me, in 2020 Pandemic MLB …. but, Doug makes a good point on sunk costs and maybe ego involved in Reds front office.
Or keep Bradley and shop Iglesias. He’s a free agent after the coming season and several years older than Bradley. He could have value for the right club. And his style doesn’t necessarily fit with the current Reds’ management philosophy.
Bradley could be the closer. Not sure Iglesias is a closer for a world champion type team. Iglesias got rocked by the Braves in the playoffs. Not a lot of trust in Iglesias. Not sure the Reds did a good job using Bradley last season. Going more by his numbers with his Arizona team. Bradley might be the answer in a full season.
I think you are vastly under-rating Bradley. I would like to see the Reds tie him up long term.
You think? Iglesias is a train wreck and costing this team to much money. When your “established ” closer comes in to the game it’s to close the door. When Iglesias comes into the game it puts me on the edge of my seat with one eye closed and fingers crossed praying to my creator to get him through. Bradley’s problem is he has an idiot for a coach who only uses him once a week.
I can understand Goodwin.
As for Casali, it will all depend if Stephenson will be part of the big club or not. If the Reds commit to Stephenson, I actually say we should keep Casali and possibly check for a trade for Barnhardt. I’d rather keep the better offense with this team. We don’t need to be sacrificing offense for defense with this team.
Here Angels. We (The Reds) have too many let handed pitchers in our organization. Please take Packy Naughton off our hands for nothing. Thank you so much.
Good chance Angels dont tender Naughton and Reds could pick him back up.
I understand this point of view. I was not a fan of this trade when it happened, but I do not think he has that much value going forward. Being a 5th OF should be replaceable for a better price. Not sure how good Friedl’s defense is, but he seems like a serviceable option.
no way you non-tender or trade Bradley. His ERA away from the two dry air stadiums the last 3 years is 2.03 and the last two is 1.08. There is a lot of talk about Lorenzen moving to the rotation. Now that Bradley is out of the thin air in AZ he seemed to increase the use of his sinker.
Bradley was a highly regarded prospect. Maybe the change in venue will present him an opportunity to start. Maybe Boddy has plans to improve his fastball which would make him a solid SP option. Worst case scenario Bradley is a good RP.
Bradley and Casali stays, Goodwin is gone.
Farmer is a serviceable third catcher, and Stephenson needs to play. Let Casali and Goodwin go. Reds need Bradley especially if Lorenzen moves into the rotation.
There are hardly any decent catchers available this off season. The Reds should keep all of their catchers and work a trade to get something in return.
“Sources: Cincinnati looking to make splash at SS”
“Nov. 30: The Reds are “prioritizing the addition” of a starting shortstop this offseason — and they’re looking at some marquee names to fill that need, according to MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi.
Cincinnati is reportedly taking a look at Francisco Lindor and Trevor Story on the trade market, while also pursuing free-agent options Marcus Semien, Andrelton Simmons and Didi Gregorius.” ~Jon Morosi, MLB.com
Trade Casali, Goodwin and Bradley to someone like the BlueJays for one top 5-10 and maybe a young 11-15 They need a catcher, outfielder and pitcher
The Jays are set at catcher with Jansen, Kirk and McGuire. Gabriel Moreno is their #8 prospect.
They are in on Springer; and, if they sign him will mostly move an outfielder.
…most likely move…
The catcher the Reds need to get off the books is Barnhart. It is the right move on both the baseball and financial ledgers.
We saw this year that Bauer, Gray and Castillo all worked better with Casali; and at least 2 of those 3 figure to be back. Casali is the man to be mentoring Stephenson with as cited above, Farmer in the wings as a #3 if needed.
The total sunken cost of Barnhart is $4.25M that includes $3.75M in salary for 2021 and $500K in option buyout against his contracted salary of $7.5M for 2022. Casali is also under contract control (via arbitration) thru 2022 and would cost them little if any more for both years than the sunken cost for 1 year of Barnhart.
Even if the Reds had to send up to half of the sunken cost of Barnhart along with him in a trade, they would be better off on the baseball side through the 2022 season with the total cost of catching (including the $$ sent with Barnhart, 2 years of Casali and 2 years of Stephenson) would be half of what they would pay Barnhart in salary for 2021 and 2022.
I’d keep all three at those prices and as others have mentioned include one or more in a trade or allow them to free up someone like Senzel in a trade. Goodwin may be the 5th OF but if he’s non-tendered our 5th OF that can play center is Jankowski which I’m not really wanting to see play out. I’d still keep Barnhart over Casali as a gold glover is a great backup to have even if Stephenson is used most since he should have a plus bat. And if they non-tender Bradley that would be yet another bonehead move by this management team after what we gave up to get him. I see him as our 2021 closer with Iggy being shipped out in a trade.
I think Jankowski was let go.
Baseball Reference says he became a free agent on 2 November. If I recall correctly, he was outrighted off the 40 man MLB and had the service time to elect free agency and did so.
This is correct.