The Cincinnati Reds first step of their offseason planning is to figure out what the budget is for 2022. We don’t know, and won’t really know what that number is. We’ll have a solid estimate at some point around February, but even then it’s possible the team holds some money back for a “just in case” scenario down the line later in the year.

What we can do, though, is look at the money they have on the books for 2022 and start to figure out a little bit of what they may have to do in order to get to certain places on the scale.

The Guaranteed Money

Only six players have guaranteed money on the books for the 2022 season with the Reds.

Player Salary
Joey Votto $22.50
Mike Moustakas $16.00
Sonny Gray $10.67
Eugenio Suarez $9.43
Shogo Akiyama $7.00
Justin Wilson $2.58

That makes up just over $68M of payroll as long as the Cincinnati front office doesn’t make any trades of those players.

The Options to be had

This is an area where the Reds have a lot wiggle room despite just three players having options for the taking.

Player Option Buyout
Nick Castellanos $16.00 null
Wade Miley $10.00 $1.00
Tucker Barnhart $7.50 $0.50

The one that everyone talks about is Nick Castellanos – and it’s understandable. Castellanos is out there every day and he makes a difference as a middle of the order hitter. He also has the second highest salary on the team if he sticks around. Unlike the other two options, the player gets to decide on whether they are sticking around or not – so there is no buyout there.

Wade Miley seems like it should be an easy option to pick up. You can either pay him $1M to pitch somewhere else despite leading your rotation in ERA from the very beginning of the year, or you can pay him $10M to return. The old adage that you can never have enough pitching would really seem to apply here.

And then there’s Tucker Barnhart. This is the one that feels like there’s a lot of discussion around among the internet world. Barnhart, a 2-time Gold Glove winning catcher doesn’t have a lot of salary on the books, but the Reds also have someone to step into his role as the starting catcher if they don’t bring him back, too.

Who gets paid in arbitration?

MLB Trade Rumors released their projected arbitration numbers this past week for all eligible players. Here’s what they have for the Reds, sorted most to least:

Player Arb Estimate
Luis Castillo $7.60
Jesse Winker $6.80
Tyler Mahle $5.60
Tyler Naquin $3.60
Amir Garrett $2.20
Kyle Farmer $2.20
Luis Cessa $1.60
Lucas Sims $1.20
Jeff Hoffman $1.10
Nick Senzel $1.10

Will all of these players be tendered a contract? That’s tough to say. Amir Garrett feels like the one with the best chance to be non-tendered. The reliever had what was the worst season of his career. He had been coming off of back-to-back above-average seasons, but in 2021 seemingly little went right for any long period of time for Garrett.

It is worth noting here that teams must tender or non-tender a player by December 1st. Players that are tendered a contract will either need to come to terms to a deal with the team or head to arbitration in February where a salary for the upcoming season will be determined for them. Players who are tendered a contract, but cut in the second half of spring training are only owed 45 days worth of their pay rather than the full amount of their deal (this is for players that have been tendered a deal, not those on free agent deals). This is what happened with Noé Ramirez last spring and the Reds only had to pay him roughly $245,000.

Guessing at what happens

There are plenty of scenarios that could happen, but let’s look at the scenarios that seem most likely to happen.

Nick Castellanos opts out, Barnhart is bought out, Garrett is non-tendered

This is the scenario that saves the most money that is also most likely. We don’t know what the MLB minimum salary will be for the 2022 season as that’s a part of the collective bargaining agreement that is not yet agreed upon. For these purposes we decided to give a small bump up from $570,500 to $580,000 per season. Everyone but Garrett is tendered a contract and we assumed that MLB Trade Rumors arbitration numbers are the deals that get made. In this scenario the Reds would have a roster, with no outside additions or exits from the organization at $114,780,000.

Nick Castellanos opts out, Barnhart is picked up, Garrett tendered

In this scenario, which still seems to be plausible, the Reds budget to begin the offseason would be at $123,320,000. Depending on where you look, opening day payroll for 2021 was between $119-124,000,000.

Nick Castellanos opts in, and the Reds go crazy

While it feels unlikely that Nick Castellanos will stick around for 2-years and $32,000,000 instead of test free agency, it’s certainly possible that he would. If he returns, perhaps that leads the Reds ownership to give it all one last hurrah and bring back Barnhart and Garrett and see what happens. In that scenario the Reds would be on the hook for $137,580,000 with no outside additions.

What should we expect?

Even in the “best case” scenario when it comes to the lowest payroll, it would seem that the there’s not much room at all for additions of any consequence unless the Reds were to raise their payroll from where it was in 2021. That seems unlikely given that ownership seems to claim they try to break even and through no fault of their own, attendance was down compared to where it was in 2019 – which leaves them with less money to spend and in theory, the *need* to make up for some loss of cash after both the 2020 and 2021 seasons.

The next six weeks will tell us where things fall. Option decisions must be made within 5 days of the end of the World Series. The non-tender date is December 1st.

134 Responses

  1. wkuchad

    Should Wilson be included with the “Options” players?

    There’s both a team and player option, right?

    • Jim Walker

      Yes, both player and team options per Cot’s contracts. Player option is $2.3m. Team option 7.15m with a $1.15m sunken buyout cost on the team option.

  2. old-school

    Cots and spotrac contracts have payroll salary Votto $25 , Suarez $11 and Akiyama $8

    That would put the payroll up an additional $5 million to $120 mil with no Casty/Barnhart/Garrett. With Barnhart and Garrett and Miley that’s a payroll of $129 mil.

    Not sure what Luxury tax payroll is but Spotrac had lesser numbers there. Perhaps deferred money and such.

    • Jim Walker

      Luxury Tax Payroll comes from Average Annual Value or a formula that is based on it.

      This was a key factor in the Bailey/ Kemp salary dump deal. Bailey had significantly more money left to be paid out on his contract but carried a lower AAV/ Luxury Tax hit than Kemp and thus was attractive to the Dodgers who had cash to burn but were up against the luxury tax wall.

  3. CFD3000

    It’s really hard to see how a team trying to hold payroll down in a classic cut off your nose to spite your face stance somehow chooses to keep Barnhart. There’s $6M to be saved there with low impact on the roster. And I really hope Nick Krall is looking for ways to save some of the money owed Moustakas. He’s an obvious addition by subtraction candidate. Extension talks need to be under way with Winker, Mahle and Castillo. And decisions must be made to bloster the bullpen, including whether to non-tender Garrett and pursue Lorenzen and/or Givens. Throw in the CBA situation and I predict a slow moving, low impact offseason for the Reds. I’m excited to see this team in 2022, looking for full health (especially Winker and Senzel) and the emergence of Barrero, Greene and Lodolo, but otherwise I’m just waiting for March and April with lots of ho hum and whatever in between.

    • SultanofSwaff

      For sure we need extension talks with Winker, Mahle, and Castillo. Would love to see Givens back as well.

    • Jim Walker

      Agree about Barnhart. Spotrac says that at $7.5m in 2022 he would be the 9th highest paid catcher in MLB based on current contracts. For a backup catcher? Even if the Reds come up with some scheme to use him 50% of the time (please not) by utilizing Stephenson elsewhere?

      I do not get folks saying $7.5m isn’t a lot of money. Raisel Iglesias was dumped last year for a net salary reduction of around $5m. That is about the same or even less than the net of declining Barnhart at $7.5m and signing a backup catcher (even if it is Barnhart) at the market rate.

      https://www.spotrac.com/mlb/rankings/salary/catcher/

      • BK

        @Jim, I agree with your basic premise on Barnhart that $7.5M is a lot for a backup catcher.

        I differ somewhat on Iglesias as a reasonable comparison. Despite having arguably the best “stuff” on the pitching staff, Iglesias wore on the fan base. After signing a 3-year contract covering his arb years prior to the 2018 season, his drop off in performance in non-save situations was tiresome. Losing 12 games in 2019 essentially doomed the Reds to another sub-500 season. In short, he carried a lot of baggage along with his elite arm. Barnhart does not carry the same baggage.

        Ideal situation WRT Barnhart is to extend him at a rate more appropriate for a backup catch who will play a lot. If that’s not possible, I’m good with moving on. Someone like Casali at ~$1.5M/year would seem to be a great fit with the Reds, too. I’m okay with playing Stephenson at 1B or as the DH to minimize wear and tear, so I definitely want a backup catcher capable of starting ~70 games and taking ~200 ABs over the season.

      • Chris Holbert

        I continue to say, if he is on the team DB will use him as the #1 and Stephenson languishes a little longer. Toys such as that need to be taken away to prevent DB from using them. See, Freeman, Cabrera, Heineman, etc…

  4. SultanofSwaff

    My crystal ball—

    Castellanos opts out.

    Barnhart option picked up, but then traded.

    Garrett picked up.

    Gray TRADED to free up salary to pursue a RF.

    Akiyama buyout, with NPL team paying a transfer fee of sorts.

    • Jim Walker

      Sultan, we’ve had the discussion before and see things differently, so I’ll just say I think a sign and trade on Barnhart is a real roll of the dice in which the Reds are just as likely or more likely to lose value (or be stuck with the contract) than to gain value. Trade him ahead of the option call date or decline it to be safe.

      However, I believe sign and trade on Miley is a viable option but the team should hold onto him instead, especially if they move Gray.

      • SultanofSwaff

        Yeah, I see a team overpaying for his services as there’s a real shortage of starting catchers….and relatively speaking, he’s a starter for at least a third of the league and many of them have deep pockets. It’s a supply/demand thing this offseason imo.

        Yes, I like the idea of working out a trade beforehand. Certainty.

      • Jim Walker

        I think being a 1 year rental at $7.5m minimizes the overpay possibility and increases the risk for the Reds. It has to be an emergency situation or a perfect fit for whoever would take him. This is why I would want it settled by the option call date.

      • Shawn

        If you give Barnhart 7.5 million he has no trade value. I would offer him 2 years at less money per year.

      • MK

        Jim, I don’t see your point on losing value on a Barnhart sign and trade. If the intention is to either trade or not resign then if you get a Class A pitcher and a bucket of balls you still get more value than letting him just walk and missing out on a batting practice pitcher and the balls..

  5. LDS

    It seems obvious from Doug’s analysis that the Reds need to be very active in the trade market and try to offload some of the veterans, e.g., Moustakas, Suarez, et al. and DFA/strike deals with those they can’t, e.g., Akiyama. As for Akiyama, the Reds knew there would be an adjustment period but a player needs to play regularly to adjust. But looking at this writeup, it seems clear that if the Reds don’t get creative, 2022 is a re-run of 2021 at best, without Castellanos and with Votto likely reverting somewhat.

    • AllTheHype

      Offloading veterans, Moose, Suarez, or Akiyama, will not affect payroll much as the Reds will have to eat most or all of those contracts in any deal. Reds FO won’t be doing that. At best, maybe a bad contract swap. But still not much of an effect on payroll.

      • LDS

        I’m more optimistic than that. Guys like Moustakas and Suarez still have value in some circumstances. Suarez appears to play well in September as he has the last two years. I thought before trade deadline that Colorado might be interested in Suarez. Still think it’s possible. Regardless, it’s the FO’s job to solve problems and whining about revenue and payroll isn’t solving anything. Nor is playing them everyday because they have big contracts. The mission is to field a team that fans want to watch and that means winning. And winning is something this ownership and management team are not committed to.

    • Rob

      That is kind of the way I see it also. 2022 and 2021 will be about the same unless Moose, Suarez, Senzel, and Akiyama have significantly better years. There likely will be a couple regression guys also; Votto, Stephenson, Gutierrez might be good guesses. If we want to win the Division in 2022, and that is a big if, we must off load 1-2 of these big contracts. Nick may accommodate us on his own and that would leave Moose as the next most logical. Together the 2 would save about $32M in both 2022 and 2023. Money that could be spent on free agents or trades! But to off load Moose, I totally believe we are going to have to depart with a couple quality prospects. Names like Santillan, Barerro, Hines, etc. Not the elite guys but top ten guys rebuilding teams would salivate over. Probably goes against Bob C’s grain but again gets back to the question of do you want to win in 2022and not spend significant money doing it? Having $16M tied up in Moose isn’t going to do it in my view.

  6. Old Big Ed

    Cot’s Baseball Contracts has different numbers, including $25mm for Votto, $11mm for Suarez, and $8mm for Akiyama, but only $10mm for Gray. Wilson’s options are a bit confusing. It totals to $4.3mm or so more than your numbers, but the general gist of your analysis seems spot on.

    I believe that without making room some other way, there will be no Castellanos, no Barnhart and no Garrett.

    They have a few avenues for flexibility, even without trading prospects. They could trade one of the starting pitchers with Senzel and get back a young outfielder (maybe from the Angels, or even Byron Buxton on a one-year rental, although Buxton would not save them any money).

    Another option is to non-tender both Garrett and Naquin, or (assuming the rules allow it) to trade them before the non-tender date. Somebody would want Naquin at his projected arbitration price, even if the Reds don’t really need another left-handed bat.

    I have my doubts whether Akiyama really will want to be back next year, if he is only going to have limited playing time. There is room for an agreement where he goes back to Japan and the Reds get some limited relief from his contract, even if it is only $1 million.

    The big thing is for Votto and the Reds to work out an extended payout of his contract, somewhat like the Rockies did with Todd Helton (not to mention Bobby Bonilla). As long as Votto gets the same money (with interest) over the long run, the union won’t care. Its feasibility would depend on a lot of things, including specifically tax laws and probably an agreement to extend Votto for the 2024 season at some price. The deal could help Votto with taxes and the Reds with cash flow. From Votto’s standpoint, he wants to retire as a Red and to win now, and his best chance of doing that is for the Reds to bring back Castellanos with the money they deferred on Votto. It would be a complicated transaction, but it isn’t impossible.

    • Jim Walker

      Yes on a Votto arrangement being complicated. Add in his nationality. If he is still a Canadian citizen that’s another whole layer but also one which might work to the Reds advantage in spreading the payout over time.

    • Jim Walker

      The CBA is supposedly in force until Dec. 1 trades should be in order.

    • Jim Walker

      As nearly as I have read or been able to figure out, the team option on Wilson is $7m+ with a $1.15m buyout. The player option is $2.3m with no buyout. I interpret these as yielding a $1.15m sunken team cost which would be absorbed into the $2.3M if Wilson exercises his player option.

      Additionally, if Wilson exercises his player option, it commits him for 2023 at MLB minimum plus 500K base salary plus game appearance bonuses which could top out at another $500K. (Grand total of ~1m guaranteed plus the possible bonuses). There would be a team option with no buyout on 2023.

      I think his situation probably comes down to whether at age 34 Wilson wants to play another year for $2.3m or prefers to take the team buyout and get on with the rest of his life having earned an estimated $23-24m in total MLB salaries (per BBRef).

      • Old Big Ed

        It’s been a while since I was 34, which was also when I wasn’t Big, but my guess is that $2.3 million is still pretty tasty to him and his family, and he will be back.

        I didn’t watch him enough to form an opinion on him, but he seemed a bit more reliable than Garrett.

      • AllTheHype

        Ed – he gets half, or 1.15m if he declines the player option (due to club option buyout), so it’s really another net 1.15m to play next year plus a club option for 2023 @ 500k. That is not nearly quite as tasty => 1.65m total for two years of club control.

        I don’t see him doing that. He will surely decline and take the 1.15m to the bank, and be a free agent.

      • Jim Walker

        @ Hype, The money in 2023 is MLB minimum+ 500K+ up to 500K in bonuses so $1m and change guaranteed. But I think he is more likely to take the 1.15m buyout and retire or (as you suggested) maybe at least take a look at the FA market first.

  7. Moon

    The Braves have a payroll that is 7 million less than the Reds but I believe they have a roster that is much better top to bottom. I am too lazy to do the analysis myself but wonder how they did it and what were the philosophical differences and moves made over the years that made the difference?

    • Old Big Ed

      The short answer is that the Braves have consistently produced MLB players internally. After the Votto/Bruce/Bailey/Cueto group, the Reds had some fallow years where the system developed almost nothing. Mesoraco, for example, was OK but he fizzled with injuries. Cozart was decent, but not a game-changer. Over the last 4-5 years, starting with Winker, the system seems pretty productive, and is very good now.

      The other thing is that the Braves do better in Latin America, with Acuna being Exhibit 1. Until about 3 years ago, every team did better than the Reds in Latin America, especially with hitters.

      • Jim Walker

        +1000 on the Braves Latino connection and 0 for the Reds on the same when it comes to position guys.

      • AllTheHype

        @Ed, During those follow up years, the system also produced Grandal, Gregorius, Alonso, & Boxberger in addition to Cozart & Mesoraco. Maybe the complaint is with the FO for trading those guys away, but at least it did continue to produce home grown talent.

      • Jim Walker

        Also worth noting that Gregorius, Grandal and Alonso could also be considered as international players. Gregorius was born in Amsterdam, Netherlands but moved to Curacao at a very young age and signed as an international free agent. Grandal and Alonso were both born in Havana, Cuba but immigrated to the US and came up through the US domestic draft system.

  8. RedsFan11

    The pessimism Bob has given me leads me to see the following:

    -Barnhart option not picked up
    -Castellanos opts out
    -Shogo will be named as Castellanos replacement for RF
    -Farmer will be our SS
    -Barrero will be named CF ruining his career like they did to Senzel
    -Gray will be traded for prospect to save $10mil naming lodolo as his replacement
    -Miley option will not be picked up naming Greene as his replacement

    • MBS

      – Hopfully Barrero is the SS, if not I have major concerns about the future or the organization.
      – Senzel is an injury prone, non performing, bust! The Reds didn’t ruin him, his body has. Even if he stays healthy, he’s shown no reason to believe he’ll become a quality player. He has potential, but that’s all.
      – Hopfully Gray will be traded, or Mahle, or both.

      • Doug Gray

        It feels like your final two sentences about Senzel are very contradictory with each other.

      • Mike

        Why would you hopefully want gray and mahle traded do u want us to win 60 games again

      • MBS

        A lot of players have potential, not a lot are quality players. He’s fallen flat on his face every chance he’s had as a MLB’er. If you want to be pedantic, then saying “no” reason, could be reworded to little reason.

      • MBS

        @Mike, no, but I don’t think they will spend the money to get us to the next level, so the only other way to do it is trade from your strengths. We have our top two prospects at AAA. Don’t give me the depth argument, that’s for teams with money, or willing to spend money. We must utilize the depth to improve. I’m also not saying move them at any cost. They should only be moved if they will improve the organization.

      • MBS

        @Mike, I will also be a bit pedantic, the last time (full season) the Reds won 60 games or less was in 1937. I just don’t want to see the same mistakes made from the 14, and 15 Reds made in the 22, and 23 Reds. If you hold onto your top assets, you get little to nothing in return. Trade players when the have value. Or become the Yankees and buy.

    • Bob

      Moving Barrero to CF wouldn’t be ending his career. He is not Senzel. Has the Cubs and Giants playing Bryant in the OF ended his career? I don’t think so. Barrero wasn’t ready to play SS at the MLB level last year so we’ll see if he’s ready by 2022 if he’s not he’ll be in CF to get his bat in the lineup.

      • Chris Holbert

        How was he not ready to play a position he has played his whole life, but ready to play a position he probably has not played since travel ball?

      • greenmtred

        The Reds were trying him in center. Maybe, given that they see a lot more of him than we do, they believe he might be better suited for the position. Maybe they believe that they have more organizational depth at SS, and need a centerfielder. By many accounts, he’s a very good defensive shortstop, but that certainly doesn’t mean that it’s the only position he can play. Lots of players have switched positions or played multiple positions. Pete Rose played left field, 2nd base and 3rd base, for instance, and had a decent career.

    • JayTheRed

      RedsFan11, I think you have hit the nail on the head. Those moves seem very realistic. Based on Doug’s article I think we are going to see a payroll stay the same as this year or be reduced through trades.

      I’m not expecting much to get done until a CBA is determined.

      • Jim Walker

        I think we all are waiting and wondering if all heck is going to break loose at the end of the World Series with trades and FA signings ahead of the scheduled expiration of the CBA on Dec1; or whether teams are going to lay back and see what the lay of the land is once a new CBA is settled.

        There are a number of teams that have cut their salary obligations for 2022 and beyond to almost nothing beyond pre-arbitration and arbitration eligible players who could be dumped via non-tenders. What’s their game?

      • Poe

        If the front office would put a winning product on the field the fans would come back and so would the money to pay for such a team

  9. David

    I don’t see how Castellanos DOES NOT opt out of his contract. He just had a career year, which is what he was playing for.
    And I think it would be a MAJOR mistake for the Reds to try and sign him to a big contract. That would cripple the team financially.
    Opt out of Barnhart. He is a great guy, but that’s too much for his services.
    Ditto Garrett.
    Some way, they need to also get Ayakaima off the books. Maybe he would like to go back to playing in Japan.
    Pick up option on Miley, then think about trading him. What value would he bring back in a trade?
    And I would trade Gray; better a season too soon than a season too late.

    The Reds have to get younger and try to cut some of the budget out. You will not move Moustakas, unless the Reds adsorb most of the remaining money owed him. That contract is a real albatross around their collective necks.

  10. RedBb

    Another option is if Castellanos opts out and the Reds resign him for a couple million more bucks. I could see that happen. Although I think more likely is the penny pinching Reds would just QO him to save the money and get a Round A Comp draft pick…

    • David

      I could be totally wrong here, but I think Castellanos wants a lot more than “a few million more bucks” per year.
      I would guess he wants north of $30 Mil/year, and at least a 3 year contract. So maybe OVER $90 Mil for a three year contract.
      This is his chance to cash in a get a lot of money, and I think he will take it.
      I just don’t seem him being that valuable over three years, and it would be really hard for the Reds to pay for that.

      • AllTheHype

        I don’t think he gets that much in AAV. I think a relevant comparable was JD Martinez 5/110. JD was able to fetch several opt outs in that one also, so that would also likely be part of a Castellanos deal again.

        JD had a better track record going into his FA, although Nick not far behind.

      • Old Big Ed

        I don’t begrudge Castellanos “wanting” $30 million/year, because we all want that for ourselves. But he had a road OPS this year of .772, and his total OPS for his career is .815. His career OPS+ is 115. He is also sub-par defensively.

        That isn’t going to get him $30 million/year offers. His .815 career OPS puts him squarely in the middle of Ryan Zimmerman, Corey Dickerson, Xander Bogaerts and Justin Upton. Bogaerts is a year younger and a shortstop and has a $20 million/year contract. Upton is in the last year of a $21 million AAV contract that the Angels regret. Zimmerman and Dickerson never sniffed those numbers.

        Because of GABP, Castellanos is worth more to the Reds than to any other team, and the big market teams won’t necessarily be on him this off-season. He will sign somewhere for more than $16 million AAV, but it won’t be $30 million AAV.

      • greenmtred

        I wonder–given the apparent lack of good free-agent outfielders–whether Castellanos’s value to a team in need of an outfielder will be inflated beyond what is reasonable, based upon OBE’s excellent analysis?

    • AllTheHype

      Curious, by “couple million more bucks” do you mean $80-$100m total? Because that’s what his market is.

  11. Optimist

    An odd trade possibility looming is for Tyler Glasnow – he’s missing 2022, and a FA after 2023, and due an arb raise from $4m this year, so teams are looking at a trade with 2 years salary and only a one year starter after TJ surgery. It may take creativity beyond the Reds capacity, but they did something roughly similar for Bauer which worked out well. There’s an “offloading salary” possibility somewhere in there, though it may take a 3-team deal.

  12. Steve Schoenbaechler

    Honestly, I wouldn’t care if Senzel gets non-tendered or not. Bottom line, you just can’t plan on him being there, with his injury history. If he stays healthy, great. But, you can’t just plan on him for that.

  13. RedsGettingBetter

    I like the idea about the Reds offering a Gray/Moustakas pack to trade for. Of course it is unclear what they could obtain in return but it could be, at least, a pitcher as closer profile. They also shouldn’t pick up Barnhart option so offer a cheaper 1-year contract instead and should tender Garrett, if he still is affordable. If all mentioned before comes to reality I think it is possible to offer some kind of agreement to Castellanos or then trying to land a RF from free agency so, by the way, there will be some interesting options like Chris Taylor or Mark Canha among others…Miley option should be picked up obviously. Dauri Moreta does look as the ideal Lorenzen’s replace…

    • Alan Horn

      I have thought about Chris Taylor also for CF if the price is right.

  14. Michael B. Green

    I see the Reds making no more than 1 trade designated as either a buy or a sell transaction. Historically, you simply do not see much major changes to the roster via trade other than 1 trade. A few minor trades typically happen where one team is looking to acquire players with options (see Cionel Perez and Scott Heineman trades as examples).

    We could see the Reds making a splash with 2 key free agent moves if Castellanos opts out and they do not exercise their team options on Miley or Barnhart.

    Otherwise, I think we will see 1 key trade, perhaps 1 key free agent signing and then a plethora of “small deal” signings much like last off-season. Of course, we’ll also have a ton of minor league contract signings to shore up the AAA roster. Some of those will include invites to Spring Training and at least one of those signings will take Antone’s spot on the 40MR on Opening Day when Antone is transferred to the DL60.

    One of the biggest questions for me is if CIN sees Tyler Naquin as a 4th OF or a platoon RF with a yet-to-be-determined platoon RF.

    I am convinced that Senzel does not have the ability to stay healthy. I don’t know if that is a skill/ability, but it is hard to count on him for even majority play. He is such a talent and is controllable for several years, but that is another tough decision for CIN. Thinking in contrarian terms, it makes sense to make him the youngest DH in NL history, just to try to keep him from getting hurt. That would truly mess up the CIN lineup though.

    With Stephenson, India, Barrero, Winker and Senzel all relatively cheap and controllable, one would think CIN is a buyer and not a seller. That means placing veteran leaders around them. Enter Votto, Suarez and Moustakas. Perhaps Castellanos too.

    The rotation is solid with Castillo, Mahle, Gutierrez, Sanmartin and Greene. Very solid if you keep at least one of Gray and/or Miley. Lodolo will likely force the issue sometime during the season too.

    The bullpen needs a bonafide closer, a LHRP (or 2), and a veteran set-up man. That’s where I’d spend any money. Get talent that you can trade at the deadline if things do not work out. Its a 4-6 month commitment. There are bounce-back guys and proven guys. Large pool.

    After 2 straight 3rd place finishes, this team either forges ahead of falls back. The race to the cellar is challenging as PIT and CHC have a head start. STL turns into a pumpkin as soon as Molina and Wainwright play their age (which apparently will never happen). That leaves MIL. If Castellanos returns, the CIN lineup is simply better than that of MIL. If CIN can solve its bullpen woes, they are right there and could take the division.

    We’re not far off….

    • DX

      The Reds should not pay Castellanos if he opts out. Castellanos has a 3.3 WAR and only has a career of 12.3 WAR. Soon, the Reds won’t be able to pay Castillo so he needs to be traded.

      The Reds ownership doesn’t believe they can afford elite players. Therefore Castillo needs to go. The Reds should sign good players who can become very good. They can’t afford very good players who could become elite. Maybe Mahle is doable. Miley and his WAR of 6 is a great option.

      The Reds need to continue to develop players and stay away from multi year contracts of aging veterans.

    • Optimist

      That’s barely a solid rotation, but it at least has a higher ceiling than typical for the Reds. Keep one of Miley or Gray and it should be more than good enough, no real aces, but enough to cover a dud or two, and likely better than this year. Which means . . . we’re back to the bullpen as the problem, and the holes on offense.

      If, and a big if, Nick C would take 60m for 2 and a mutual option/buyout for a 3rd year they should do it. It’s a little high on AAV, but shrink the time commitment and the Reds could stomach it. It’s the 4+ year deals that kill them, since for every Joey you get a Homer, and they clearly cannot afford that.

  15. Michael B. Green

    Adam Morgan is Derek Johnson’s type of pitcher. He had the 6th highest CSW% in the 2nd Half of 2021 (for RP’s with 10 IP or more). I would imagine this is the kind of LHRP CIN may target. Here are the short list of RP’s with better CSW% rates in the 2nd Half (in order): Doval, Devin Williams, Hader, Sims and Bednar. That’s great company.

    My concern is the long ball. He gives up a ton of them. His control has also regressed over the years. Those two items are potentially where CIN asks Johnson to work wonders. Perhaps if he ditches the CH and maybe the CB, he shines? His SL is very good and likely drives his CSW%.

  16. Tar Heel Red

    The author is forgetting one player…Ken Griffey Jr is still on the payroll in ’22 for $3.593M, raising the Reds total even higher.

    • Doug Gray

      The author isn’t forgetting it – we never talk about those payments when we discuss the payroll.

      • Optimist

        Except for Happy Bobby Bonilla Day!

  17. MK

    It would be great if we saw a so-called great team person like Votto say I will defer $10 million of my $25 into the future so you can bring back Castellanos, I sign/trade or let Barnhart walk if I can get trade worked out during World Series. I am comfortable with Koloszvary as a #2. He will be as much a hitter as Tucker.

    I resign Garrett, I non-tender Senzel or get him included in the Barnhart trade. I try to sign others on arbitration list to 2-years.

    • Doug Gray

      It would be even greater if the company worth over a billion dollars just paid Castellanos straight up without asking their other employees to take less money.

      • DX

        I don’t get why you would pay him? To win 83 games again? maybe? Just a year ago everyone thought it was a bad singing. It’s not the money the team is willing to spend it’s the management of how they do things. The Angels and Phillies spend and don’t win. The Rays and Brewers do. Why? Is your goal to be a .500 team and sign another aging veteran?

      • Doug Gray

        You win by having good players. The more good players you have, the better. Nick Castellanos is a very good player. Teams should want to have him on their roster. If you don’t get that then I can’t help you out.

      • BigRedMike

        You meant he organization that would have a well above average payroll if Castellanos is back in addition to Miley and Barnhart?

        Should be some interesting articles on here when the CBA discussions occur, wonder if they will be against the owners and for the players.

        Strange throwing out the net worth in response to the what MK posted

      • Doug Gray

        It’s not strange at all to talk about the value of a company when someone says that the value of Joey Votto’s bank account should help fund the Cincinnati Reds instead of the team’s assets.

      • Alan Horn

        Agree Doug as long as the cost is within reason.

  18. Old-school

    The big question is how do you approach arbitration tenders and options and budget if the season isnt 162 games? What if its 100
    Games?

    Castellini would love it if the Reds didnt play until Memorial day. Bargain budget, the spring cold weekday games get removed from the revenue calculus and bad contracts get sliced by 35%

    • AllTheHype

      They’re probably approaching it as 162 and if they don’t have to pay Moose, Suarez, Akiyama and everyone else for 2 months, spend it next offseason.

  19. BK

    Doug, you did a really nice job with this article and the one comparing the Reds and Cardinals a few days ago. Thank you!

    • BigRedMike

      It is a good synopsis and a good write up on the 3/4 decisions in regards to player/team options. It is important for Reds fans to see the salaries when the discussion is that the Reds are not spending to win. Above league average payroll and the general thought is that the Reds have a lot of issues to address.

      Throwing money at free agents is not always the answer, leads to bad contracts for little production.

      If I was running an organization, one question I would ask before making a decision on a player is, What would Tampa and Oakland do? That is the guide for the Reds

      • BK

        I would love to see the Reds try to mimic the A’s and Ray’s approach. The Reds FO seems to fall in the trap of spending to budget which leaves little flexibility to take advantage when opportunities present. They also get very nostalgic with currently rostered players. Both trends are at odds with how Oakland and Tampa spend and build their rosters.

      • burtgummer01

        The problem there is that The Rays have good ownership,front office and scouts while the Reds have one of the worst (if not the worst)

      • Hotto4Votto

        I do believe Tampa and Oakland should be the model. Small markets that sustain success yearly without breaking the budget.
        On Monday the guys at my work were talking about how many of the teams left in the playoffs have a connection to Tampa’s organization running their team. Then walks in Phil C’s right hand (wo)man. She’s a regular and super nice every time she’s been in. She joins the conversation, mainly talking about pushing for India to be ROY right now as the Red’s focus for the moment. But then said, since 2018 the organization has thought to acquire cheap young talent to develop and flip for more proven ML players.
        Once she left, we went on to discuss whether that was true. I guess in the one sense we’ve traded quite a few prospects recently for proven ML guys. Downs, Gray, Trammell, Moss, Fairchild, Naughton, etc. were all traded for proven ML guys in that time frame. But then again, it’s not like we’ve flipped young ML guys just as they get expensive, which is more like the Tampa model. If that were the case, we’d be on the lookout for Castillo, Winker, Mahle trades this winter. I guess we’ll see how this winter goes.

  20. BK

    Up front, this is a really tough year to guess what the Reds will set as their payroll budget. Per Forbes, their 2020 operating loss was $47M–how much of the operating loss they were able to recover this year (or with reserves from prior year earnings) is unclear.

    If they are paying interest on the $47M @ 5% (based on publicly available data I estimate the Braves pay ~5.1% interest on just under $500M in debt) that would cost the Reds about $2.5M–keep in mind you have to pay principle, too (about $3.5M if the loan is for 10 years). Per Forbes, National TV revenue per team will increase $9.7M. The Reds should set their payroll based on forecast revenue with attendance being the biggest variable.

    Where does that leave us? Reds started this year with a $122M payroll (per Cots). If attendance returns to 2019 numbers of 1.8M (300K more than this year) that would mean about $12M in revenue with each fan spending $40 at the park (ticket, food, merchandise, parking). TV revenues potential less debt = $3.7M in additional revenue. My best guess is between $135M and $140M will be the starting budget.

  21. Michael B. Green

    CIN likely received PPP money and then surely had it forgiven as their payroll was at least as high in 2021 as it was in 2020. There were also other qualifying benefits for teams in MLB. They were certainly part of the rescue plan.

    CIN is one of 30 global businesses in this industry. I suspect they made money in 2021.

    Successful businesses know that money is made with productive employees. In baseball, that translates to successful ballplayers. That means invest in talent, branding, marketing and advertising. The Reds were a very fun team that was much more in the media mainstream than in prior years. I’m guessing they did well in terms of tv revenue, etc.

    Whether or not it makes sense to pony-up and pay Castellanos is an interesting decision. His defense was terrible and CIN did only win 83 games despite his strong hitting. He has very little post season experience.

    Having stated that, he is a solid professional and is a perfect compliment to all of CIN’s LH hitters. He is also in his prime power years in a ballpark conducive to power. In short, there is nobody better in terms of a free agent RF.

  22. GreatRedLegsFan

    So, as things stand, roughly $110MM payroll to open next season and still on the hook with $55MM for 2023 (Votto, Moustakas & Suarez), looks like they’ll never have an adequate flexibility.

  23. Steve Schoenbaechler

    I don’t tender Senzel a contract. It’s not that you can’t trust him. You can’t trust his injury history. I mean, if you do anything with him, you have to plan on him being a bench player. For, if you plan on him being a starter, and he gets injured again, then who do you put out there? Are you going to put megamoney out there for a quality player to sit until Senzel gets injured? Which if that never happens, you are just wasting money on a player?

    Don’t get me wrong. I would allow Senzel to come in and compete for a position. But, he would have to win it outright. Even if he was to win it outright, I still greatly hesitate making him a starter.

    • AllTheHype

      If you don’t tender Senzel a contract, he’s on another team. He was a #2 overall pick who lit up MiLs and has not performed poorly in MLB, just hasn’t been healthy. With four more years of control, you’d rather save $1M and release him? Wow.

      • Jim Walker

        Senzel has been available less than 50% of his earned MLB service time which more than doubles his effective salary. His MLB metrics say he has been 20%+ below league average in OPS performance when he has been on the field. His career bWAR is -0.6 which is in the replacement level range.

        For me it is a tough and close call whether or not to tender him. I’d probably be shopping him to see what value he might bring in return. This would reveal how other organizations valued him going forward.

        If the interest was medium to high, I would either take the deal or tender him depending on what specifically was offered and how it fit the Reds needs. If there was little or no interest in him, I’d probably flip a virtual coin to decide whether to invest another $1m in his potential or cut bait.

        A third alternative is to try and reach a multi year deal with him that has a low front end and high backload protected by club option(s).

      • AllTheHype

        Tendering a former #2 overall pick @ $1M with 4 years of control who lit up MiLs is NOT a tough call.

      • BK

        I fully expect Senzel to get tendered. Very little risk for the Reds.

      • Jim Walker

        I think it is a tough call whether to tender Senzel since coming to MLB he has spent more time on the injured list than on the active roster. When he has played, he has produced a net negative bWAR with an OPS more than 20% below league average (including pitchers). They paid him $6+M for potential, Now the onus is on him to show that was a good investment. So, far he hasn’t.

        Is it worth another $1+m to find out if 2022 is the year Senzel does live up to his potential? If his injury issues were only the last couple of years, almost certainly yes, a no brainer. However, every year since he signed on with the Red, starting in the minors, he has had a significant injury issue of one sort or another. Factor in his performance at MLB at the times he was supposedly healthy and it becomes a roll of the dice.

      • BK

        Personally, I think $1.1M is worth the risk for a player with Senzel’s talent. The reality is that the Reds are only risking about $300K as they can release Senzel during spring training, too. The injury history is troubling although amazingly none of his injuries seem to be related to each other. I’m definitely concerned about their cumulative effect on his body.

        I’m less concerned about his performance. When fully healthy, he’s been okay and should still have room to grow/improve. He’s the same guy who had top shelf talent and ceiling a few years ago. Well worth the the relatively small financial risk.

    • Steve Schoenbaechler

      My whole point when I specified I would consider not tendering Senzel was you can’t trust he will get injured or not. I mean, so many times, we’ve had him in a starting role, and he ends up getting injured, putting the team in a worse position. How often is a team going to keep allowing this to happen?

      I could understand planning on him to be a bench player. But, I don’t plan on him starting at all. For that to happen, he would have to have an awesome ST for me to make him a starter.

  24. Tar Heel Red

    Why not? It is still part of the payroll, regardless of whether the player is active or not. Large market teams can just laugh this off, but small market teams cannot.

    • Jim Walker

      Guessing these back end payouts to Jr are primarily if not totally coming from an annuity type investment made when the contract was in force.

    • AllTheHype

      Present value of deferred money was included in past payrolls. Therefore, the present value of Griffey’s deferred money was already accounted for way back when. The Reds either did. or did not, put aside Griffey’s deferred payments back then but doesn’t matter, from an accounting perspective it was already addressed then.

    • Doug Gray

      I mean, yes, it counts towards the overall spending the organization does. At no point in the last decade when discussing the Reds payroll do we ever bring up what Griffey and Arroyo were making in their deferred payments. It’s just now how we, or anyone discusses team payroll. We discuss it in terms of active players being paid.

      • Tar Heel Red

        While Griffey’s deferred payment may not officially count toward the ’22 payroll I guarantee the Bob C and the team bean counters are taking it into account. That means there is nearly $3.6M less available to apply toward resigning Castellanos or signing anyone else.

      • Doug Gray

        Great. Every team in baseball has payments just like that. It’s literally never talked about when we look at current payroll. Heck, people get all excited about “Bobby Bonilla day”. You ever hear of Brent Sutter day? He’s been getting more money than Bonilla, and for 20 years longer. Ever hear Braves fans talk about it with regards to their payroll? No. Because it’s just not how the public looks at the payroll. We don’t talk about how much Nick Krall or David Bell makes. Their salary means less money to go to Castellanos or signing anyone else, too. How much is Bob Castellini paying himself to be the CEO? That’s money not going to free agents. What about the money the parking attendant gets for the club owned parking lots and garages?

  25. CTscribe

    Doug, your well-written, painstakingly researched story is rooted in recent Reds history. What are a team’s chances of postseason accomplishment when it cannot bring back its core players? Money wins in baseball. The Yankees haven’t endured a losing season since 1992. That should tell us something. Pennants follow the money. As long as the rich teams control the game, teams like the Reds continue to be fodder for the fat-cats.

    • DX

      It’s not always the money. The Reds were 20th in payroll in 1990 when they won the World Series. The Astros were 15th in 2017. The Royals were 17th in 2015. It’s not always the money. I think the Rays do pretty well. The Yankees have spent a lot of money and haven’t seen a World Series for over a decade. Management is kinda important. The Reds didn’t produce any good MLB players for many years and it caught up to them

      • Doug Gray

        The Rays, for as good as they have been…. they had 4 straight losing seasons from 2014-2017, including a 68-win season in there.

    • greenmtred

      If money were the only factor, the Yankees would have won a bunch of championships, you’d think. Money is obviously very important, but there are good players who aren’t being paid a ton (by baseball standards).

      • Jim Walker

        On the other hand, look at the left coast. Starting in 2013, prior to this season, the Dodgers had won the NL West for 8 consecutive years. Over those 8 years, they advanced to the World Series 3 times and came away with 1 World Championship. In 4 of the 5 years in this span they did not go to the WS, the team which eliminated them in the playoffs went to the WS and twice won it.

  26. Michael B. Green

    Wonder what it would cost for CIN to re-sign Johnny Cueto? Perhaps a 1-year deal with a Year 2 club option? That might allow CIN to decline Miley’s option and perhaps trade Gray.

    Not sure it would help CIN but Cueto seems to rub off on every team he plays for and players tend to end their careers where they started. Perhaps he could pull his best El Tiante?

  27. burtgummer01

    Ok I’m gonna make a trade prediction.
    Moose will be traded but Castillo will be going with him,Moneybags Bob would pocket a *&%^ load of money and that’s all he wants

  28. Old-school

    Bobby nightengale has in depth long article with Jesse Winker.
    Jesse isnt happy with how things ended and will work his tail off to stay healthy. David Bell lots of quotes on how important Winker is and how much hes improved.

    Nightingale throws in a quote from Corbin Burnes on how good Winker is and how Reds are a different team with Winker. September kind of proved that but sounds like all the Winker haters are going to get there wish to keep bashing him . Hes not going anywhere.

    • Allthehype

      Winker is a phenomenal platoon bat. If he learns to hit LHP, he will be REALLY good. As it stands now though, he is a huge liability on those days batting 2nd against LHS, though it is really not his fault. He doesn’t fill out the lineup card.

      • Old-school

        September didnt go so well without Winker in the lineup

        Not sure which Reds outfielders hit Lefties with Castellanos leaving .

        Good luck with Shogo and Aquino.
        Everyone loves to hate on Senzel but hes 5 years younger on 31 yo never healthy Naquin who cant hit lefties either.

      • AllTheHype

        I agree. Winker was missed in Sept and it made a huge diff. He mashes against 74.29% of the pitchers the Reds face, The other 25.71% is sorely mismanaged by the club, both the front office for not supplying better options and the manager for putting players in suboptimal batting positions.
        Castellanos is needed badly and I hope there is a way to do it. But I have a hard time stomaching a 33-34 y/o Castellanos making 22-24M per at the end of that contract.
        Reds need to find some RH bats somewhere this offseason.

      • greenmtred

        Out of curiosity, who should have taken Winker’s place in the lineup on days the Reds faced lefties? Winker missed Sept., so somebody else was taking his place then, and I don’t recall that the team had any notable success against lefthanded pitchers. Was somebody sitting on the bench who mashes lefthanders at the MLB level?

      • AllTheHype

        @ greenmtred , probably wasn’t a better option than Winker on most days against LHP, that’s on FO. But that’s not my main point. My main complaint is he just shouldn’t have been 2nd in the lineup against LHS with that pitiful careeer slash of .188/.305/.295 which was even worse in 2021. It kills the lineup. But we re-upped with that manager so we get more of the same.

      • Jim Walker

        This was the year Winker should have shown progress versus LH pitching if he was ever going to do so. There was no pressure he was going to be platooned. He was literally one of the very best hitters in all MLB versus RH pitching yet it did not happen for him versus LH pitching.

        If the team wasn’t so markedly bad versus LH pitching, perhaps it would be OK to leave well enough alone and keep sending Winker out to face LH pitching every time the situation occurred. However with the team needing to improve offensively versus LH pitching, corner OF spots are a prime location to find and use a RH bat.

      • AllTheHype

        precisely Jim. Maybe Winker will “find it” against LHP, but this should have been the year and it wasn’t. He’s a phenomenal platoon bat, but that’s it. A smart FO would have a bench that would enable WInker to sit against LHP, and if he does get a start, a smart manager would not have him 2nd against LHP. Reds have neither.

      • greenmtred

        Fair enough, ATH. But your point now begs another question: Who should have batted 2nd in place of Winker? Also, for what it’s worth, batting order, when it’s analyzed, seems not to have great significance.

      • AllTheHype

        batting order is insignificant? So if you flipped an order upside down, the offense would perform just as well? I’ve heard a lot of things, but never that.

      • greenmtred

        Probably wouldn’t perform just as well, no, depending upon the particular players. What I’ve read indicates that having the best hitters bat higher in the order helps some, but the minutiae of order construction doesn’t make a ton of difference. For one thing, after the first time through the order, the guy batting lead off might not bat lead off again, and so on. Doug could probably elucidate here. But my other question? Who should have batted 2nd against lefties?

      • old-school

        @GMR- Ill take a shot at that. One of the beat writers had the Reds record as like 15-20 over .500 when India/Winker/Castellanos hit 1/2/3.

        Against righties an order of India/Winker/Castellanos/Votto is arguably the best top 4 top of the order in baseball. Getting those 4 guys 18-20 at bats is crucial in lineup construction and absolutely matters. Cant go back to Dusty or Price lineups with best hitters in rbi spots of 4/5/6 and low on base guys at 1/2. To your point about minutia, yeah, does it matter if Barnhart bats 7th vs 8th or Suarez at 6 v 7, probably not.

        As for lefty pitchers, a line up of India/Farmer/Castellanos/Stephenson would be very good , with Votto 5 during the 2nd half of 2021.

        Assuming Bell/Krall are playing Suarez, he can hit 6th and Winker 7th.

        A healthy Senzel is an oxymoron but he would change the calculus in 2022. Lopez in theory was an option many times and Stephenson, an elite bat against lefties many times didnt even play. Miley personal catcher barnhart started 28 games even if the opposing pitcher was a lefty too.

        Next year I would hope Senzel and Barrero and India and Stephenson and a good Suarez and another RH bat are answers to the lefty connundrum.

  29. Steve Schoenbaechler

    Of course, it’s easy to say trades, but remember, that’s easier said than done. We need to find a team who has what we want “and” is willing to let go of what they have for what we are offering. You don’t get diamonds for rocks.

    I believe the Reds should do what they can do extend Nick C. It still probably won’t work. But, I believe the Reds should still try. If Nick C leaves, the Plan B’s, I believe, would be: 1) Tyler taking over that spot, getting him immediate training on it, or 2) FA/trade.

    I like the idea of locking up Winker and Mahle. I want to see one more season of India and Tyler. I could also understand extending Miley.

    If I extend Gray, it’s for low base high incentives. Sorry, too much injury there.

    The same with Senzel. You just can’t plan on him starting. Not to leave out, I believe we have a glut in the OF right now, anyhow. I see Senzel at best being a bench player, probably for just the IF.

    I’m happy with Naquin in CF. Can we do better?

    Ditto with Farmer at SS.

    If Tyler does replace Nick C, we keep Tucker. If Tyler doesn’t replace Nick C, we either let Tucker go or there’s our trade chip in Tyler if we make any trades. Tyler or Tucker. I mean, I don’t believe Tucker has done anything to lose any playing time. And, I don’t believe Tyler did anything not to warrant more playing time. Something has to happen here.

    All of our concern should be the bullpen. However, my concern with that is. . .it’s awful easy to overpay on the bullpen, overpay for little use. I’ve always felt the bullpen is a crapshoot. You roll the dice and hope you get 7. Maybe the sabers can get out there and work on who we should be picking up and not.

    I give Castillo one more season. No improvement, then we trade him off. I liked how Vlad and Tony looked. Let’s see how they do in a second year up here, if they stay up here.

  30. Hotto4Votto

    Just spitballing here: But taking the scenario where Nick opts out, Barnhart is bought out and Garrett is non-tendered, and the payroll is roughly $115m.
    Now…I know it should be a no-brainer that Miley is retained at $10m. And yes if he has another season like this one that provides incredible value. But, do we really trust Miley to repeat his performance? Looking back over the past 6 seasons, he’s been really good for 3 and below average for 3. In 2016/17 he had an ERA+ of 77. In 2020 he only pitched 14 innings as he struggled with health. Of the three good seasons, one he only pitched 80 innings (for MIL), and in both HOU and CIN he kind of fell apart in September. With the tight budget restraints the Reds are bound to have, do you make a $10m bet that we’ll get the “good” Miley? Or do you roll with a young up and comer like Santillan, Greene, or Lodolo? If you don’t pick up Miley’s option, and pay the $1m buyout the budget sits at $106m.
    I may be inclined to non-tender Hoffman as well, as I think his production could be replaced for league minimum (minor league FA/prospect coming up like Diehl, Hendrix, Kuhnel, O’Brien etc). That would take the budget down closer to $105m.
    With that money saved the Reds could go out and sign Marte (who asked for $50m/4yr extension), possibly try to resign Givens, and find a backup C that may give you more than Kolozsvary can, and still be around last years budget.

    • Doug Gray

      Since Wade Miley learned to throw the cutter, he’s been very, very good – except for his 14 innings in 2020 when he was injured.

      So yeah, I’d expect him to still be pretty good. Repeat his performance? No, probably not. Still be above-average and worth every penny of his contract? Without a doubt.

      • Hotto4Votto

        Good point on the cutter. Plus working with DJ seems to work for him. There’s still the issue of seemingly wearing down at the end of the season. There’s also weighing spending $10m on Miley, vs spending it elsewhere where the Reds may not have as ready replacements (young pitchers vs young outfielders).

      • Doug Gray

        The odds that the Reds can get better value on $10M than Wade Miley in free agency is almost non-existent. He was one of the best pitchers in the National League last season.

      • Hotto4Votto

        Yes, that’s true, it would be tough to find similar value. Marte had a great season at 4.7 bWAR, but Miley topped him with 6.0 bWAR. Still, if the estimates are close to true, and Marte wants something in the $12.5m/season ballpark, I think there’s room for a discussion. As noted above, the Reds really don’t have a young OF ready to replace Castellanos’ production, but they do have young pitching prospects that should be ready to step into the rotation, be it Santillan, Greene, or Lodolo. And while realizing that nothing happens in a vacuum, for the sake of the discussion, the question is Miley at $10m plus Aquino/Friedl/Shrock/etc in RF a better option than Marte at $12.5m plus Santillan/Greene/Lodolo in the rotation?
        At the end of the day, if it were up to me, I’d keep Miley and sign Marte. But this is the Reds we’re talking about, and in trying to find a way to clear some payroll, this is a fairly easy way to do it, while having good odds that you can identify a solid in-house replacement for his spot.
        In an ideal world, trade Moose or Akiyama to clear that room, but that’s going to come with eating some salary, taking on a bad contract, or attaching other assets to sweeten the pot.

      • Indy Red Man

        Doug,

        You were right on Miley and I was wrong, but I’m hard-headed and I’m going to try again.

        A. He sucked in September and thats nothing new for him. Its kind of important that a pitcher performs in Sept/Oct

        B. When you throw 89 and you lose it then you REALLY lose it. Example: Dallas Keuchel. LaDrunka didn’t even put him on their playoff roster

        C. The Reds aren’t winning a title in 2022 and Miley will be beyond old after that so why not deal him for young talent.

        Now if they keep Nick then forgot all that and I’d like to have him back in 2022.

    • Michael B. Green

      Good analysis, Hotto4Votto.

      Based on what you stated, I assume that CF goes to Marte and RF goes to a combination of Naquin and Senzel. That’s actually not bad.

      Marte helps with speed and RH pop.

      • Hotto4Votto

        Yeah I think he could still play CF, especially in GABP. Senzel/Naquin in RF would probably work fairly well. I think Marte is the Reds best bet on the FA market to replace Castellanos in the lineup. Probably for a bit cheaper, but the Reds have to be comfortable with the years he’ll want.

  31. Old-school

    Miley is a good topic. In a normal year, I would agree with Indy and say hes 35, throws 89 and oft injured and when he falls, he will fall fast. Spend 10 mil elsewhere.
    But, I dont think the season will start in late march and that changes a lot. Miley might be a bargain for 4 months and $6 million with a labor stoppage until Memorial Day.

    For the same reason , Byron Buxton isnt re-signing as a FA in 2023 with the twins and his price on the trade market goes way down in a 4 month season.

    Trade for Buxton and sign Miley and try to make the playoffs again in a modified 2020 reboot of a shortened season in 2022 with the DH again. Elly De La Cruz can be my new CF in 2023 with Jose Barrero at SS and use 2022 as a transition year with old vets and soon to be free agents as fillers.

    The Rockies just re-signed my guy CJ Cron to a 2 year extension. He was a big part of the solution to the Reds lefty pitching problems and would mitigate the loss of Castellanos big time and could have been had in July of 2021 on the cheap. Oh well, Aquino is still controlled and a cheap lottery ticket.

  32. Tom Reeves

    I’d support extending Castellanos to a 5 to 6 year year around $17m-$20m a year. This would be about the same for the 2022-2023 seasons for the Reds. If he likes Cincinnati, this might be a great deal all around. It gets a crappy at the end for the Reds but I think it helps open a 3-4 year window for playoff quality baseball. If I’m the Reds, I’m offering this and doing what I can get him stay.

    I’m that case, I also pick up options on Miley and I ask Tucker to negotiate a three year deal at a little bit lower price per season.

    Then I use every penny I have to shore up the bullpen.