The Cincinnati Reds have announced that they have non-tendered five players, who will all become free agents. We learned from Brian Goodwin earlier today that he was non-tendered. The other four players leave you with a little bit of a shock. Archie Bradley, R.J. Alaniz, Curt Casali, and Kyle Farmer all join Goodwin as newly added free agents player pool.

The biggest surprise on the list is Archie Bradley, who was acquired by the Reds at the trade deadline. According to MLB Trade Rumors he was set to get a raise to somewhere between $4.3M and $5.7M for the 2021 season, via arbitration, depending on how things worked out with regards to weighing a 60-game season. Bradley, who was acquired for Top 10 prospect Stuart Fairchild and utility man Josh VanMeter threw a grand total of 8.0 innings while in a Reds uniform before he was non-tendered. And it’s not as if he struggled, he allowed two runs for Cincinnati in those 8.0 innings and during the regular season in 2020 had a 2.95 ERA between Arizona and Cincinnati.

Catcher Curt Casali was a player that seemed to be in that gray area of whether or not the team would hold onto given that they seemed ready to put Tyler Stephenson into a larger role moving forward. Casali has largely been a back up to Tucker Barnhart the last two seasons, but has played a fairly prominent role for the team. He was due a modest raise according to MLB Trade Rumors, set to earn somewhere between $1.8M and $2.4M in 2021 in arbitration if tendered a contract. This seems to signal that the Reds are going forward with Stephenson and Barnhart as their catching options.

In a weird set of moves that I don’t quite understand, the team non-tendered Kyle Farmer. He was not arbitration eligible as far as I can tell (Baseball Reference, for example, says he wasn’t eligible until 2022). Assuming that’s correct, he would have simply made the league minimum. The Reds, however, non-tendered him and then almost immediately re-signed him to a deal for 2021. Matt Wilkes pointed out that perhaps he was a Super 2 eligible player, which would have made him arbitration eligible and that we all just somehow calculated it wrong. Either way – He’s back.

R.J. Alaniz, who is pitching well this winter in the Mexican Winter League, was also non-tendered. He spent the year at Prasco Park on the alternate roster, not appearing in a big league game this season. He currently has thrown 9.2 shutout innings of relief with 13 strikeouts for Hermosillo while participating in the winter league.

68 Responses

  1. Optimist

    Is it too much to hope they may be accurate in determining it is a down market to such an extent that FA contracts will be less than arbitration amounts? That, or there is no trade market either, since some at least Casali and Bradley seem to have trade value?

    • Mark Moore

      Had the same thought, especially with Bradley.

      • Colorado Red

        Agree,

        But Archie may be irritated, and take the same or a little less elsewhere.

  2. JB

    Wow. Just wow. Not sure where this organization is going with its thinking but it seems to me they just trade away prospects like it’s no big deal. What was the sense of trading for Bradley? I guess we just wait and see what the rest of the off season brings but right now they seem to have no plan and are just winging it.

    • MK

      Or trading for Goodwin. Packy Naughton in my opinion would be better than Miley. Packy was 2019 Reds Minor League Pitcher of the Year.

      • Steven Ross

        The Angles did not protect Naughton so he’s available for Rule 5 pick if the Reds are interested.

    • Shawn

      When they traded the prospects for him they had no idea covid would drive down FA prices this offseason

      • Hotto4Votto

        Naw man, everyone knew the deal with offseason salary suppression by July.

      • RojoBenjy

        If I recall the acquisition of Bradley and Goodwin were during the season when everyone knew all about the pandemic.

        The Reds are looking quite like stooges at this time—losing Naughton and Fairchild for a net NOTHING. I can’t defend this.

  3. Doc

    Seems to me that the non-tender situation this year is such an unusual situation that one can’t really assess it until the signings, or re-signings, are known. Farmer would be case in point. The Reds had already re-signed him and added him to the 40 man before the proverbial ink was dry from those who questioned his non-tender. I suspect the insider knowledge is:

    1. There would be a lot of quality non-tenders available.
    2. Salaries across the board would drop.
    3. The screwball arbitration system would continue to give raises to players who had terrible years (poster child Kris Bryant, who will get a raise on top of his 18.6 million despite a horrific season).
    4. There will not be as much competition that would drive prices of non-tenders northward.

    By the way, I wonder if the Reds will be looking at non-tendered Matt Wisler, especially with a bullpen spot to fill.

    • DaveCT

      I thought Wisler was very similar to Robert Stevenson when they were on the roster together, in the positives such as stuff. I would not mind a reunion, although Wisler may not.

    • JayTheRed

      I had thought about that too already

  4. Tom Mitsoff

    If all of these moves are the only way Castellini will approve the signing of a starting shortstop like Gregorius or Semien, I’m okay with it. If this is just cost-cutting without adding a starting-caliber player or star pitcher, I’m not okay at all with it. As has been said above, we’ll just have to see how things play out. Last year at this time, we had an idea from Dick Williams statements that the team was going to look to spend some money. This year, we don’t have any statements from the front office to give us any clear direction.

    • Aaron B.

      The team (all of them) lost money last year. This is a small market team. Personally, I think these billionaires have deep enough pockets to laugh this stuff off, but you know any excuse to tighten the screws why not? Still, Bob need to keep us entertained.

      • SultanofSwaff

        Did they lose money or just make less profit?

        Tom makes a point I’m on board with—if these tiny moves are a precursor to the trade for an all-star SS then I’m all in.

    • DataDumpster

      Yes. Very little of this makes any sense other than some off the wall calculations of pennies saved if this isn’t part of SS deal prep. Otherwise, you have played around with your inexpensive can play anywhere man (Farmer) and let go of Bradley leaving another hole and another prospect adrift. Then, Krall said that doesn’t mean we can’t bring them back someday (like they did with the DFA reversals last year).

      There is excellent opportunity in the SS market so I’m hopeful of a impactful signing but I’m skeptical that this is just some variation of analytics applied to saving money if its not beyond David Bell to invent such a thing with his job on the line. Isn’t it also ironic that the two biggest holes in the Reds lineup now were adequately filled with two guys that were let go by the Reds with little fanfare in the last couple of years: Jose Iglesias and Dylan Floro.

  5. Bob Purkey

    We gave up Fairchild for 10 innings of Bradley? I just don’t get the Reds sometimes. I would have kept he and Garrett as co-closers and traded Iggy who has 1 year left I believe. Not sure what Iggy is making but I doubt it’s less than Bradley. . .

    • Stock

      If Bradley has zero trade value and Iggy has less than you can’t get anything for Iggy

  6. Earmbrister

    Not going to gripe if the Reds now go on to sign one of the top SS FAs. If they do that and then find a good value pick up for the BP, I’m fine with it.

    Our old friend Jose Iglesias got traded from the O’s to the Halos today. One less team shopping for a top $ SS in free agency …

      • Earmbrister

        I don’t expect that Baltimore will be big spenders in free agency. However, the Angels have deeper pockets and now they have seemingly taken care of their SS needs.

      • MK

        They are a market larger than Cincinnati.

  7. Stock

    The Reds clearly did not think ahead when they traded for Bradley and Goodwin.

    Am I the only one here who thinks the next to go is Gray and the return will be much less than his value.

      • Hanawi

        Huh? They traded for them in the middle of a season shortened by Covid. They knew they wouldn’t have any fans at the games and weren’t making money. How has that changed in the last 4 months?

      • Greenfield Red

        Somewhat disagree Shawn. I think the Reds front office has no future plan what-so-ever. It’s year to year at best. Sometimes month to month as we saw with the past summer’s trades. Heck, it’s probably day to day at times.

        It’s one thing to go for it at the trade deadline by adding a difference maker or at least sore up a spot of need. They added Bradley and then didn’t even use him. They added Goodwin. He was terrible in LA and worse when he got here and they did use him.

      • Earmbrister

        Greenfield – Goodwin had an OPS+ of 116 for the Angels this year and 108 the year before. That’s “terrible “?

        I disagree on the FO’s vision as well. It wasn’t too long ago that our rotation was a joke. Last year it was one of the best in the league, and even if we lose Bauer it will be above average this coming year. 2021 will show whether their bets on Moose and Castellanos were wise or not. I for one am expecting bounce back years from those two as well as Senzel.

      • Greenfield Red

        Disagree respectfully Earmbrister. He was hitting .242 on the year and a career .250 hitter with limited power. We got a ton of those guys. Didn’t need him then. Don’t need him now.

      • Earmbrister

        Greenfield, with all due respect, a .242 BA would’ve been the third best BA on the Reds last year. If you need to use BA, he’s about league average. His OPS+ Is above average. And he can play centerfield. I think the terrible label was a bit of a stretch … but we’re all entitled to our opinions.

  8. Sliotar

    #Reds Twitter can be a crazy place … some folks apparently shocked at Bradley being non-tendered.

    Why? Especially in a pandemic and no guarantee of packed stadiums in 2021.

    According to Spotrac, the Reds were projected to have the 6th highest Relief Pitcher payroll in 2021 …

    https://www.spotrac.com/mlb/positional/relief-pitcher/

    Reds – $19.3M
    League Average – $11.5M

    Iglesias wasn’t/isn’t going anywhere … right or wrong.

    Bradley was the logical player to go, given the salary and so little production in Cincinnati.

    • Sliotar

      Holy cow. Apparently, Spotrac already updated the roster, and the $19.3M is without Bradley.

      • Earmbrister

        Sliotar – I’m not that familiar with this Spotrac relief pitcher salary commitments but a few things jump out at me. The 29th and 30th teams each have 6 relievers signed but they show their 2021 salary commitment as $0. The 28th team has a $900k commitment for 7 players. Isn’t the min salary approx $500k per player? Currently they’re showing the Reds with a $14MM commitment to their 2021 relievers.

        Perhaps it’s a work in progress and will be more accurate in time?

    • JB

      He might have had so little production but that’s not his fault. You don’t trade a top 10 prospect for a relief pitcher and use him for 8 innings. The manager along with the Front Office are morons. This team is crying poor and is basically telling us that a trade for Story and Lindor are a pipe dream. If they cant afford 5 million for Bradley they sure as heck arent paying Semien or Didi. Wouldnt be surprised to find Farmer as the opening day Shortstop or Galvis.

    • Stock

      A large chunk of this is self inflicted. When the Reds locked up Iggy to a three year contract it was total foolishness. There was absolutely no upside. They didn’t lock him up for additional years of control. They didn’t get a discount on his annual salary. All it did was guarantee him what he would get in arbitration should he go year to year. It was a stupid signing when it happened and now they are paying the price.

  9. Aaron B.

    You know I was thinking about this whole thoery the Reds dangled Sonny Gray as trade bait… you know what I think about that? They were trying to move Votto to the Giants and were willing to handcuff him with Sonny Gray to shed salary and they would surely get a haul in prospects. I could actually live with that.

    • Bob Purkey

      In theory, it make some sense, but I think that the Giants have one of the worst rated minor league systems in MLB.

      And if true, IMHO the Reds are only looking to cut payroll and not contend. Losing Bauer and Gray does not make for a contender(regardless of dumping Votto’s current mediocrity), unless they trade a bucketload of prospects for someone like Snell.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        With COVID and after the shortened season, all the clubs will be interested in cutting payroll.

      • Colorado Red

        He also has a full No-Trade clause.
        He could just say NO.

      • jon

        always wondered if he would go to hometown Toronto?

  10. Steve Schoenbaechler

    What Lance said on the radio was, as little as it would be, it was a straight salary dump, as much as it could be.

    The Cubs dumped Kyle Schwarber.

    • Steve Schoenbaechler

      Because of COVID. The players are going to have to shop themselves around and probably get paid less.

    • TR

      Move Winker gradually to first base. Make a place for Schwarber as a DH and in the outfield along with Castellanos.

      • Jimbo44CN

        Then you would have both corner outfielders with poor defense. I like Schwarber, but no thanks.

      • Bob Purkey

        No thank you on Schwarber. a true DH, but for 1 coming off a .180 year, Aquino and others can do that, and at least they have some flexibility to ACTUALLY play an outfield position.

        The only reason that anyone here is interested in him is that he is from the area, Beyond that, fugetaboutit!

      • TR

        Senzel, Shogo, and Aristedes can catch the ball and Schwarber and Castellanos as the co-DH’s and the 4th. and 5th. outfielders.

  11. Greenfield Red

    A question or two for those who know more than me is this: Do other teams give away young talent for nothing or almost nothing like the Reds? Packy, Fairchild, Jeter Downs, the young pitcher whose name I don’t recall who went at the same time as Downs. I’m sure there are others.

    Another question: Do other teams panic trade superstars who get into legal trouble for nothing? Chapman.

    I know the Dodger trade could have worked out, it just didn’t. I know this summer’s trades could have worked out, they just didn’t (although you can’t convince me that Goodwin was any better than anyone the Reds had before they acquired him). And I know there have been a couple of moves that panned out (Castillo). But, the last 5 years or so the front office has shown itself to be inept.

    The front office is so bad, that I no longer watch the winter activity with the excitement of a little kid looking under the Christmas Tree, I watch a little hoping the Reds don’t do anything at all so as to not get worse.

    • Hanawi

      I’m not sure Goodwin was better than Fairchild would have been. I realize they were traded in separate deals, but they panicked when Senzel went out and way overpaid for Goodwin.

    • Steven Ross

      The Angels thought so much of Packy they didn’t put him on the 40 man roster. He’s available.

    • realist

      Very well put, I enjoyed the watching the world series this year it was good baseball and it made me think of how far the reds are from really good baseball. There really is no hope for the reds. My kid became a Dodgers fan a few years back rather than being a fan of the Reds. I will have to get the MLB package this year so I can watch good baseball, so long reds have fun competing with the Pirates for last place.

  12. DaveCT

    I wonder if the non-tendering of Bradley is intended to help bring in a high leverage LH reliever like a Brad Hand. Bradley may have been redundant when lined up with Iglesias, Sims, Lorenzen, Antone, Hoffman, Romano vs. Garrett.

    • Greenfield Red

      I wish I agreed with this, but I don’t DaveCT. I think it’s a straight up salary dump. If they cared about redundancy they wouldn’t have traded for Goodwin.

  13. RedBaron

    I’m “OK” with these moves. We saved about $12M and really all of these players can be easily be replaced for less money. Matt Wisler was non-tendered by the Twins after a breakout year with a 1.07 ERA and was scheduled to make only $1-1.5M. You could sign him for instance and he would likely have a better year than Archie Bradley will next year.

    I like Casali but honestly Stephenson has shown he is ready will make less than Casali and will likely be just as productive.

    This is really about freeing up money to go after a SS free agent without increasing the payroll which I fully support.

  14. Erik the Red

    A lot of teams besides the Reds have had to non tender 3 to 5 players because of lost revenue.

  15. James K

    The Reds let these players go because they were unwilling to pay the salaries that they expected a mediator to require. They couldn’t trade them, because evidently no other team was willing to pay those salaries, either. Many other teams made similar decisions, for the same reason, and the same thing happened in previous years. Doesn’t all this imply that mediators are setting unrealistic salaries?

  16. CFD3000

    Given that they’ve resigned Farmer (letting him go would have been a serious head scratcher), the only real surprise here is Casali. He’s cheap and high quality catching depth, and could have been either a really good replacement if either Stephenson or Barnhart gets hurt, or MLB ready trade ammo for a team that needs a solid catcher – and you know that some teams will. I’d have kept him for low cost insurance and possible trade leverage. That’s the only move that worries me…

    On a related note, economists across America are applauding the Reds for not falling prey to the Sunk Cost Fallacy this offseason, while simultaneously condemning them for squandering valuable prospect assets during the season.

    • RojoBenjy

      “ squandering valuable prospect assets during the season.”

      Bingo!

  17. gusnwally

    I just watched an interview on MLB with Dayton Moore. It made me incredibly sad to think the Reds have to compete with people of that level of intelligence and understanding. Listening to him speak and then recalling listening to David Bell, I realize we have no chance. All we can do is enjoy baseball for the game itself. Folks, We have no chance.

  18. Steve Schoenbaechler

    Letting Casali and Farmer go means either the Reds are going with Stephenson now or they are going to get a FA catcher for just a year or something till Stephenson is ready.

  19. Greenfield Red

    Just 31 on the 40 man roster. I guess the Reds would save some money if they don’t fill it.

  20. Melvin

    I guess this means that, by not trading Barnhart but instead getting rid of Casali, that David Bell will still use Barnhart most every day just because he’s a LH bat no matter what Stephenson may do. SMH 🙂

    • docproc

      And Tucker’s gold glove award will seal TySteve’s backup status. 🙁

  21. docproc

    Prediction: The Reds will be involved in lots of SS trade and free-agent rumors, but on Opening Day, inexpensive Kyle Farmer will be the starting shortstop.

    The spending spree is last year’s pre-COVID news.

    • Jimbo44CN

      You know, thinking about it you may be right. that would not surprise me.

  22. Still a Red

    While they apparently are dumping some salary with these non-tenders (someone said $14M), which I suppose could help pad a high-priced FA at SS (or elsewhere), but it apparently opened up a number of slots on the 40-man roster, which I suppose it gives the Reds some room to bring on a number of non-tendered FA of equal or better talent. Not sure how the immediate turn around with Farmer worked (I suppose they told him they’d offer him a one year deal immediately…or else why didn’t go on the market). Sorry about Casalli, but i guess I get it. Not sure I get Archie…thought he was a good addition down the stretch…maybe they’re still working a deal for him.