The Cincinnati Reds have wrapped up their Friday by signing their last player that was arbitration eligible. Luis Castillo and the Reds agreed to a 1-year contract for the 2021 season for $4,200,00 and avoided the complexity of an arbitration hearing that pits the team versus the player where the team argues why a player isn’t quite good enough to get the money that they are asking for. Robert Murray of Fansided was the first to report the details of the agreement.

When the day began the Reds had six players that were arbitration eligible, but as the day went on the organization agreed with each player on a deal for the upcoming season. Pitchers Michael Lorenzen, Tyler Mahle, Amir Garrett, and Noé Ramirez, as well as outfielder Jesse Winker all got deals done before the deadline this evening. We’ve got the details on all of those deals right here.

While MLB Trade Rumors was pretty close on all of the other five contract agreements that the Cincinnati Reds reached today to avoid arbitration, they were off by quite a bit when it comes to Luis Castillo. The projected Castillo arbitration number was $5,800,000. With a deal for $4,200,000 that’s a big drop off. Perhaps it’s due to how starting pitchers are expected to be handled this year in arbitration and his past performance that plays into things here.

In the 2020 season, Luis Castillo posted a 3.21 ERA in 12 starts. Over his 70.0 innings pitched he struck out 89 batters and had a 1.23 WHIP to go along with five home runs and 24 walks allowed.

For Castillo, he’s earned a significant raise thanks to his performance on the mound. For the team, they now have cost certainty for their roster as things stand now. While the differences in many of the agreements today were small compared to what MLB Trade Rumors had projected, in total the differences worked out to be about $3,000,000. We don’t know if the team projected the same differences or not, but even if their numbers were closer to where they landed, they now know exactly how much is going to be spent on these six players. That gives them a little more wiggle room on any free agent deals or trades that they may have been considering if the budget is as tight as they seem to be leading you to believe.

8 Responses

  1. Alex Reds

    Reds got Ariel Almonte, international prospect.

    Odd to see the #1 prospect sign for $2 million to the White Sox, and the next 6 ranked prospects are signing for about $4 million. Must be getting paid on the side…

    Reds had the largest bonus pool, not sure why they don’t offer $4.5+ million and get the top 5-10 ranked talent.

    • Doug Gray

      That’s not really how these kinds of deals work, either in terms of the money being related to the talent, or simply just offering the most money to sign someone.

      There’s a lot that goes into how silly a lot of this stuff is, but it’s been a really long day and I’ll try to remember to get back to this tomorrow with a more detailed explanation.

      • Doug Gray

        OK, so I decided to just respond now.

        So, when it comes to international signings we need to understand how this all works. While guys are just now signing deals today, the guys signing the high 6-figure and 7-figure deals probably all agreed to these deals in late 2018 or early-to-mid 2019. Once guys agreed to these deals, they stop going to showcases and having workouts for teams. So the rankings you are seeing today with these players is based on how a bunch of 16-17-18 year olds today looked two years ago. While the information isn’t useless, it’s not exactly up to date for the most part, either. So hopefully that gives a little more insight into at least part of the whole “rankings” side of things.

        As for the “just pay more” thing – in theory that sounds good. But in reality that just isn’t how it works in many cases. Love it, hate it, right, wrong – trainers don’t always show every player to every team. While things have certainly gotten better in recent times with this, having an established relationship (which sometimes involves simply having spent lots of money signing this trainers players in the past) matters. It also sometimes matters that a team is going to sign multiple players from the same trainer/academy (this shouldn’t be confused with what the Braves were caught doing where they were signing guys for a certain amount and having those guys’ money skimmed and sent to other players).

        While you can see players sign for lesser money in the Majors, that’s usually based around factors like location/winning ability/taxes…. when it comes to the minor league deals for international guys, that stuff isn’t really a factor. There’s a lot of weird stuff that happens when it comes to signings and how they eventually happened. Sometimes offering the most money simply isn’t enough to get the deal done. And given that these deals are generally agreed upon 1.5-2 years in advance of them actually being signed, even organizational planning could get in the way.

        It’s a mess. Hope that helps a little bit. If you’ve got any questions that you want a little more detail about, I’ll try to remember to check back on this.

        With regards to the very specific $2M for the #1 prospect and the other guys getting more for the next handful of spots – that one is actually quite easy to explain. As noted, these deals are agreed upon long in advance. While the money isn’t technically spent until the ink is on the paper, teams aren’t going to back out of agreements unless a guy fails his physical, which isn’t taken until right before the ink dries on the paper. The White Sox prospect you’re referring to signing for $2M is Yoelqui Cespedes. He’s from Cuba and unlike the guys from everywhere else on the planet, he has to defect from his home country to be eligible to sign. Teams didn’t know he was going to be available. By the time he was, most teams already had committed enough of their money to other players that the options were to offer him what you had remaining in your pool, or commit future signing ability suicide and back out of deals you offered to other players to offer him more. Cespedes had the option of signing for the most he could get this year and starting his career sooner, or holding out for more money in the next signing period and having to put starting his career on hold. He probably would have gotten $4-5M if he waited until the next signing period. By signing now, at least in theory, he’ll reach free agency a year sooner and make that money up down the road.

  2. Matthew ONeal

    Would an idea to help move free agency along, at least a little bit, be to move up the arbitration deadline? Let teams know exactly what they are dealing with financially. Have them due before the winter meetings, so that GMs and teams can go knowing exactly where they’re at in terms of payroll.

  3. Steve Schoenbaechler

    I can’t help thinking, a good year this year, and the Reds will lock him up. They probably didn’t want to do anything after this past season.

    • JayTheRed

      Would love to see a 4 or 5 year deal or perhaps 4 year deal with option. Guy is a solid #1 pitcher in my book.