The Cincinnati Reds are reportedly open to trading right-handed pitcher Sonny Gray according to Buster Olney of ESPN. Olney is reporting, though, that both Luis Castillo and Tyler Mahle are off limits.

Rumors has persisted for each of the last two offseasons that the Reds were potentially shopping Sonny Gray. Last year it was out there most of the offseason but at the end of things the 2-time All-Star pitcher returned to the Reds and made 26 starts for Cincinnati in 2021. He threw 135.1 innings over those starts and posted a 1.22 WHIP and 4.19 ERA where he walked 50 batters and struck out 155 of them. His home run rate was the second worst of his career – only his home run rate in 2016 when he was still pitching for the Oakland Athletics.

Contractually, the Reds owe Sonny Gray $10,166,667 for the 2022 season. That is the last year that he has guaranteed money on his deal. However there is a $12,000,000 team option for the 2023 season when he will be 33-years-old. With where he’s been in the past – even the recent past – that feels like a good contract for teams out there. There’s no long-term commitment, the dollar amount is quite low for what you could get, and a one year deal could turn into a two year deal if the team wants it to.

Early in the offseason there were rumors that the Reds were at least listening to calls about Luis Castillo. That, of course, makes sense. You don’t know what someone is willing to offer until you pick up the phone when someone is calling. But it seems that Cincinnati wasn’t hearing anything remotely close to what they felt was the right price of acquisition. We didn’t hear any rumors about Tyler Mahle being potentially available, but if you had been wondering about that one, it seems that the Reds are going to be holding onto the 27-year-old.

56 Responses

  1. Redleg4life

    Well at least we keep 2 starters for next season.

    • Lockersocks79

      The Reds will add Greene and most likely Lodolo to the rotation next year. Personally I’d like to keep gray and have a rotation of:

      Castillo
      Gray
      Greene
      Mahle
      Lodolo

      The only question is what do the reds do about their bullpen. You’ll want a good pen to keep The rookies innings down and what good is a good rotation if the BP blows the game.

      • Daytonnati

        Won’t Lodolo and Greene be on an innings count? It would seem they need additional options.

      • rgslone

        I might be too old school, but to me it would be nice if Greene and Lodolo earned their spot before being placed in the starting rotation. It would also be better long-term for those two players. But, I understand your list – if you trade or give all your MLB starters away, what else can the Reds do but plug in undercooked pitchers?

  2. RedsGettingBetter

    I think a Sonny Gray trade should include Moustakas in the deal otherwise the return should be high…

    • Alan Horn

      I would rather have the RH OF. If we are stuck with Moose, he can DH or worse we can include a mid level minor league piece or two to get someone to take him. Having said that, that is the most bitter pill the Reds have to swallow.

  3. LDS

    It’s potentially good news. However, the question really is how much can we trust coming out of the Reds’ FO? Thus far this offseason, they’ve not done anything remotely positive. As many here have noted, it’s likely to be a quiet offseason for the Reds. So, if Castillo and Mahle are still on the roster come Opening Day, good deal. But until then, caution optimism will prevail. Let’s see them move Suarez and Moustakas and then maybe I’ll cut them some slack.

    • Alan Horn

      If they are able to move those 2(especially Moose), we will all have to eat a lot of crow.

      • Colorado Red

        The Reds will have to give up Greene to move Moose. No thank you.

      • JayTheRed

        I’m not ready to give up on Suarez quite yet. I’m still hopeful that he was starting to turn things around finally in September. I’m also curious to see how he comes into camp. If we can dump Moose’s contract, I am perfectly fine with that. Honestly, I was not really excited at all to have him I felt he was overrated.

      • LDS

        Suarez had a good September in 2020 also. September 2021 likely means nothing.

      • greenmtred

        I’m not so sure that two Septembers make a trend. 2020 was a strange and unsettling year for everybody, and the extent to which his injury affected him is not known to us. It would be hard to formulate an explanation for why a player would only hit well in September. Maybe he’ll prove you right, but it’s certainly very possible that he will carry the late-season success forward into the 2022.

  4. Alan Horn

    I am on board with that. If they trade a starter, it should be Gray. I would only trade him if we can get the RH OF we need. That should open up slots(with Miley’s release) for 2 of Greene, Lodolo or Ashcraft. Guiterrez would be my 5th starter. San Martin has an outside chance. They still would need to add a couple of pieces to the BP(mainly LH’ers). I hope we can trade Garrett, but who knows. Pitchers are strange creatures and he may bounce back.

    • JayTheRed

      I was reading that Toronto has a few too many pretty good OF’ers. I don’t know if we match up with them well, though they do need a 3rd Baseman I have heard.

  5. DataDumpster

    I sincerely doubt that this “reporter” and the previous “no trade of Castillo” guy know anything we don’t. My prediction is one of the three will be dealt with whatever trade is judged to be the best value. Could involve a partial write down of sunk cost Moose or a decent low WAR outfielder (most pressing need amongst many). Krall and Bell have to convincingly sell it. Still wanting to hear who are those players we have in the system or available for trade that offer good baserunning skill, speed and defense (since this need has finally been recognized).

  6. AllTheHype

    I don’t see Sonny Gray as having much surplus value, if any. Desclafani just signed for 3/36 in the open market, and is younger and had a better year. Gray is paid almost the same AAV over 2 years, with the second being a club option, which does have add value since it is on the club side.

    Fans will be disappointed, but trading Gray will largely be a salary dump with not much value in return.

    • old-school

      I dont see a ton of value with Gray( not getting a top 100 prospect in MLB ) but he could bring back a good AA pitching prospect who might profile as #3/4 starter someday plus a major league ready bullpen piece. They wont get that elite young OF. I dont see him making 30 starts or throwing 180 innings and being the dominant pitcher he was. He labored regularly in 2021 throwing 90+ pitches to get thru 5 innings and had 3 stints on the IL, albeit with minor things. Get younger, get rid of his salary and pick up some solid near ready pitching prospects. Hes been a great competitor and fun to watch but time to move forward.

      • AllTheHype

        5’10” 32 yo SPs that lose a tick on their FB rarely bounce back and return to previous form. The probabilities are well against him at this point. THe way I see it, he’s not likely to outperform a replacement, be it Gutierrez/Santillan/Greene.

        A trade for anything that can be considered value is probably not a bad move if it saves $$ for investment in other areas of the roster.

    • DataDumpster

      Agree, Gray has very little surplus value. That’s why I can’t believe they would tell this reporter that Gray is the only pitcher they would consider trading. That would be too self-defeating and foolish for even this organization. They can spare a good starting pitcher to shore up some other needs. With the decisions they have already made, this is what opportunity looks like.

      • Colorado Red

        well, looking at a site that provides surplus value. Sonny has a lot of it.

    • ClayMC

      Let’s not forget that DeSclafani pitched in an entirely different environment, one that’s much more pitcher-friendly than Gray’s. He may be younger, but I’d take Gray’s 3.25 xERA, 3.66 xFIP, 18.3% K-BB%, and 32% hard hit rate over Disco’s 3.95 / 3.95 / 16.3% / 38% any day.

  7. west larry

    I think the front office is right (i never thought I’d say that). They should keep both Mahle and Castillo and try to trade Gray in conjunction with Moose-they’d get almost nothing in return, or trade Gray for a outfield prospect and salary relief.

  8. AJ from Hamilton

    Assuming the Reds can find a trade partner for Gray, I’m less concerned with what they get back than with what they do with the money they save. I think Reds fans would be encouraged to see extensions for at least two of Castillo, Mahle, and Winker. They also need to consider the lower end of the free agent market for an outfielder, bullpen help, and probably a #4-5 type starting pitcher. You do not want to go into the season with three rookies (counting VG) in the rotation. It’s still possible for them to cut costs, add value, extend a few guys, and possibly even contend. I realize this is unbridled optimism, but what else (besides perhaps the Bengals) do we have to be optimistic about these days? As much as most of us are disheartened by Reds’ ownership, surely they must realize they need to give fans some hope for 2022 or the risk losing even more in terms of attendance and viewership.

    • SultanofSwaff

      Good point—using the saved money to extend core players is what makes the trade palatable.

      Of course if the team were owned by someone who cared about winning over profits, Gray wouldn’t be up for sale.

    • AllTheHype

      If any of those three are extension candidates, it may be Castillo. Certainly not Mahle or Winker for me. Mahle doesn’t have the repertoire/command to pitch to contact, and any decline of his stuff into his 30s could be bad news. Winker is a righty masher/platoon bat with an injury history that hurts the team immensely against LHP. I wouldn’t want to pay what he will surely be seeking.

      Better extension candidates are India and Stephenson, while they are cheap to extend.

      • old-school

        I agree on Castillo. He’s in his prime, throws an easy 98 with a special change up. Mahle is interesting. His home/away splits are real. Is he more valuable to a team with a cavernous park than the Reds? Does it make sense to pay a guy whose ERA is over 5 at home yet he’s Cy Young on the road? Mahle with 16 starts a year in the Giants home park would be dominant.

      • Rod Andrews

        Disagree. Mahle is likely the ace of this staff from now forward, plus he’s younger than Castillo.

      • Melvin

        I agree about not extending Winker. That would be very unwise. He’s had several injuries just swinging the bat. I know some are not going to like this at all but he should be traded now while he still has value.

      • Earmbrister

        Disagree on Winker. It’s not a coincidence that the Reds September swoon occurred when Winker was hurt. His injuries are not likely to be chronic. The guy destroys RH pitching and is a key top of the lineup bat.

  9. Klugo

    If your gonna tank, then tank. Do it right. That’s what has gotten us to this point in the first place. Indecisiveness. Fence straddling. While the Braves and Padres are hitting a real window.
    This organization doesn’t know if they want to be the Braves or be the Cardinals.

    • Tim

      I don’t think the Reds need to tank. I am very optimistic about the next 2-3 years. With Castillo and Mahle, followed by Gutierrez, Greene, and a platoon of #5 starters, that equates to a solid core of pitchers. Plug Santillan into the bullpen, Lucas Sims hopefully will have another good year left, and find some better options than Garret. Now with India and Stephenson we have youth, and adding Barrero as possibly a CF option we have better defense in the OF than we’ve had for two seasons. Bring Senzel back to the IF and platoon him, or trade him. I also think Suarez will be the comeback player of the year in 2022 – which would be huge surprise for all of the negative Nancies who want him out of town. The only real hole to fill is replacing Castellanos production…and I doubt it will come from Votto.

      • LeRoy

        I agree with Suarez being a lot better hitter than a year ago. His HR numbers were decent but contact was infrequent. I’ve always believed his should injury wasn’t completely healed or that he had unintentionally changed his approach because of the way the shoulder felt. At the very least work with him in Spring Training and hope he gets off to a good start. I think he will hit 40 to 45 home runs, bat about .260 and drive in 90 or more runs next season. Good fortunes to you Geno!

  10. old-school

    Rays and Franco 11/182 million.

    Reds need to get younger and commit 100% to those prospects and players they’ve spent high draft picks and International signing money to acquire. That’s the only way forward.

    They need a plan that washes out the old vet money after 2023 while building a nucleus of young talent ready to win and committing to it. No new money to players over 30.

    #alignthecorein24

    • AllTheHype

      Reds should be looking at locking up India and Stephenson thru their age 31 seasons now, then let them walk after that. Get their best years locked up with cost certainty.

      Not 11 years like the supremely talented Franco got, but more in line with what the Rays did with Longoria early in his career. Rays are kings at locking up their talented youth very early in their careers. They’ve won almost every one of those contracts.

  11. Jim Walker

    It is silly season. After creating (or at the least being the victim of) the fiasco about all their established starting pitchers being available, the Reds FO had to do something to chill the talk. And apparently they have.

    If nothing else, they have probably stemmed a flood of nuisance calls giving them room to listen to and consider reasonable offers which serve their needs financially and talent wise.

    They were probably never going to trade all 3 guys anyway. Hanging the available sign on Gray may help them set the market on all three; and, allow them to choose which to trade for the most suitable return. Only the Reds brain trust knows the balance of talent and finances which comprises what it is. Stay tuned.

    • VegasRed

      Lol “brain trust”

      I can’t say I’ve seen any supporting evidence….

  12. Steve Schoenbaechler

    I’d listen for anyone. Now, what do they have to give back? Do we need that? Do we have a plan B if we make the trade?

    It’s easy to listen. To pull the trigger? Several more pieces need to fall for that.

  13. LDS

    Mike Petriello’s tweet on the number of 2019 Reds on the SF Giants is hilarious. Eventually, maybe someone will admit that the problem with the Reds isn’t the players.

    • DataDumpster

      Of course that was David Bell’s first season with the Reds after having served as the Giants player development director. Hmm!

  14. Old Big Ed

    I agree that Gray’s contract has no excess value and that a trade would be a salary dump for little in return. I love Gray’s makeup and competitiveness, but I can see where they would think he may not have much left in the tank.

    I predict that they will find a scrap-heap guy as 5th starter and pay him $1.5 million with incentives, and use Greene, Sanmartin, Santillan, Lodolo (later on) and a few others as 3rd and 4th starters. I suppose that it is possible to re-sign Lorenzen with the understanding that he would start or could opt out.

    This could also be the year that the Reds start regularly using “openers.”

  15. Danny Boy

    What is legit asking price? I prospect in the 75-100 range and a lotto ticket in the top 30 of an organization?

  16. MBS

    If they aren’t going to spend, then the have to become a lot smarter. Anyone who can bring back value should be open for trade talks.

  17. TR

    Reds considering trading Sonny Gray. Seems like a repeat from last offseason. If so, try to package at least one of the impossible contracts they’re saddled with.

  18. Votto4life

    Well, it is the holiday season…don’t want to discourage 2022 season ticket buyers…color me skeptical.

  19. MK

    Gray has definitely not been as dominate as he was in his All Star season. Last year even saw some injury time missed. It is certainly better to trade a year early rather than a year late. So I wouldn’t see it as a salary dump but a quality sound baseball move. There should be some takers out there and if they could somehow say if you want Gray you must take Suarez or Moustskas as well include a solid prospect and low range prospect it would be a quality baseball and financially positive move.

  20. Schottzie

    By all accounts, the Reds were in “sell” mode until the city hosted a global soccer event—call me cynical, but perhaps they saw a reality where the Reds could be the 3rd most interesting sports draw in town (maybe 4th if you count UC). If nothing else, this org has shown a stronger desire to be relevant than to win. They’ve also shown a proclivity to try to please the fanbase, largely at their own peril, so I don’t believe it’s implausible they became hesitant to rebuild when the fans started calling them out for their cheap decisions.

    Conspiracies aside, if you keep your two best starting pitchers who were good enough to get you to 3rd place you need to build around them. They won’t do that as they’re already letting go of their best hitter and their young players are 2-3 years away by most expert accounts from really being impact players at the professional level.

    This move falls in line with the Reds recent track record which has netted them no playoff wins in a decande. Thus it seems more likely that two years from now, Castillo will be let go for another draft pick, Mahle will succumb to a similar fate or get traded for either lesser value or non-tendered and we’ll be right back where we are now with a solid but not spectacular farm system and no money to spend.

    I hope I’m wrong.

  21. Eddie

    Suarez barely bat a .202 this year in 2020 odd season he was in .170 to 198 rang. Only good year he truly had was 2019 bc all the home runs. Suarez contract for his ify defense at shortstop n 3rd base with the errors he made makes it questionable. I don’t have much faith in him after two low end years coming off 2019 which was a monster hitter who thought be new face of franchise tbh. Moose n Suarez must be traded or something.

    Moose injury last year with his age makes it questionable for teams to take him if anything teams would risk with Suarez bc of that and Lil cheaper than Moose. I love the reds but hard to keep high energy n hope when we rebuild so much with this owner. I wish we had owner and minority of the team who wants to win for the fan base,players, city but mostly for votto goal before he retire. Everyone want votto go bc contract but if it wasn’t for his incredible turnaround when NC n Winker out we wouldn’t have so much wins. I feel votto Tyler and India even winker gives us fans good hope for 2022.

  22. Hotto4Votto

    Trading Gray for a good return is all well and good. But it doesn’t really move the needle for either next year or the future. The Reds need to be decisive about their direction. Right now they are directionless. Are they trying to compete? Waiving Miley, trading Barnhart for a bucket of balls, and trading Gray and not signing/trading for replacements doesn’t indicate they are. Are they trying to re-tool and stock up for 2024 when the majority of their contracts are finished and their young core has some experience under their belts? Well it doesn’t seem like they’re trying to do that either. If so they could have held onto Miley until a trade materialized, and continue shopping Castillo for a haul. Right now it feels they’re only competing with the Cubs and Pirates to stay out of the cellar. If you’re going to trade Gray and release Miley, and severely weaken your rotation, might as well go all in with Castillo too.

    • redfanorbust

      Hey Hotto,
      I agree with your post. What has happened so far does not make a lot of sense as far as a particular direction. Hope by spring training it should be/will be clear. Trading Gray seems like they are banking on Green or Lodolo to take his place. That’s a big gamble.

  23. Kevin H

    Lolodo barely pitched last season. He need at least half a year at Triple AAA. Greene struggled somewhat and Ashcraft pitched in double A. I do hope they keep Gray gotta have 3 solid starters..

    • Alan Horn

      Last year’s team wasn’t a strategic error. Absent all the injuries, they would have been in the thick of things. I agree Greene and Lodolo likely aren’t ready just yet. Looks like they are going to throw Greene into the fire anyway.

      • redfanorbust

        Hi Alan. I agree. It also would have helped if Suarez and Castillo had not mysteriously forgotten how to hit and pitch for 3/4 of the year. Yes also agree about Greene and Lodolo. That is why they have Gray on the block.

  24. Red

    This may be what “getting younger” looks like.

  25. AllTheHype

    It’s sad that when the Reds are selling in a trade, they will only sell salary dump assets or walk year assets. I wish for once, the Reds would sell an asset at its peak value like the Rays do.

    Take the Chris Archer trade before the 18 season. The Rays netted Tyler Glasnow, Austin Meadows, and current uber prospect Shane Baz After an 80 win season, the Rays won 96 games in 19 and went to the WS in 20 followed by 100 wins.

    Chris Archer isn’t even as good as Castillo and also had 2 years of control left.

    The Reds passed on trade Suarez at his peak, despite strong interest. They did the same with Raisel Iglesias when he was at peak value.

    Moves like this are why the Rays are able to compete perennially but the Reds cannot. Will the Reds EVER be smart enough to manage their assets? It seems not.

    Now is the time to commit to ’23-24, not ’22.

  26. Melvin

    Winker is a prime candidate for what you’re talking about.