As you likely know by now, the Major League Baseball owners have locked out the players. That has halted roster moves around the game when it comes to players in the players association (this means anyone who is currently on a 40-man roster, as well as any free agent who was on a 40-man roster when the season ended and then became a free agent). Teams can still sign players to contracts if they were not on a 40-man roster when the season ended and they are signing a minor league contract. Trades involving 40-man roster players are also prohibited.

But can teams still talk to players on the market? Can they talk to other teams about trades? The simple answer is no. Major League Baseball’s commissioners office, according to Kevin Goldstein of Fangraphs, has been pretty serious about that.

They’re not allowed to, and the messaging from MLB to teams about not having such discussions has been . . . pretty serious. I don’t think talks are down to zero, but I do think they are dramatically reduced.

Discussing trades certainly gets interesting. It’s one thing to say you can’t contact players or agents. But you are still able to contact other teams because you can still talk about trades of minor league players. While those trades do tend to be rare – a minor leaguer for a minor leaguer – they do happen every so often. If teams were going to have conversations about a potential deal, they could “hide” that conversation behind the idea that they were discussing a minor league trade and then just kind of lay the ground work for a bigger deal when the lockout comes to an end.

Reds Linkage

Cincinnati Prospect Coverage

Shameless plug, but hey – we’ve all got bills to pay, right? Over at we are now up to the Reds top 15 prospects having full season reviews, scouting reports, and for the hitters we’ve got spray charts with average and slugging percentage breakdowns. If you’re interested in why TJ Friedl is referred to by me as The Bunt King, or why Elly De La Cruz is the biggest rising prospect in all of minor league baseball – we’ve got you covered in their write ups.

Reds trade value

Over at The Athletic, C. Trent Rosecrans looked at the trade value of players on the Reds 40-man roster. The player who comes in with the least amount of trade value may, or may not be a surprise to you. You can see the full list here (if you have a subscription to The Athletic).

31 Responses

  1. Jim Walker

    I guessed the least tradable correctly before I looked. Whether folks agree or not, it shouldn’t be a surprise since the guy is closer to 50 than 25 years old and has >$50m guaranteed still outstanding on his contract.

    It is those 3 guys right ahead of him on the list that are the issue. All 3 position players underachieving contracts they certainly were not expected to underachieve on.

    • MK

      Has a no trade clause in his contract which he says he won’t give up and what do you offer a guy who gets 20+ million a year to change his mind? Can’t so it makes him the least tradeable along with the stuff you mentioned Jim.

  2. Justin

    I’m surprised teams aren’t turning to minor league trades to fill roster holes. I’m guessing somewhere, someone has a OF prospect rotting away in AAA. That’s probably true of most positions that aren’t Pitching.

    • Justin

      It just occurred to me that most would be on the 40 man by then.

    • Doug Gray

      Generally speaking, if there’s an actual prospect in AAA “rotting away”, they are on the 40-man roster even if they aren’t being used, and thus can’t be traded.

  3. Rednat

    will this give the Reds a better chance in keeping Castelanos ?

    • Doug Gray

      Not unless, as Brandon Phillips once asked, did Castellini invent a new vegetable (or was it a fruit?) in the time between now and the lockout ends.

  4. old-school

    The interesting thing about the C Trent article is he indicated the Reds were still in cost cutting mode and implied another high priced player would be traded. He posited that one way to get rid of the Moose contract would be to a team that would accept the contract in exchange for getting Gray also and not having to give up prospect capital to acquire Gray. Because Gray is not part of the medium term future and a high risk for injury and decline, I would not be averse to trading him to a major market team with Moose to unload $58 million in payroll the next 2 years, if that money is re-directed to targeting holes in the roster and getting younger.

    He also had captioned Barrero as #9 Red with the most trade value by saying the Reds believe he is the SS of the future and will be able to hit and the Reds are very high on him.

    Nick Senzel at #18 is a sad state of affairs. This was a guy who’s stock was as high as anyone’s a few years back. But, the Indians gave up on Tyler Naquin and he had a pretty good year and looks to be a solid OF option from the left side at least.

    • Alan Horn

      I would give Gray away to get rid of Moose. What a terrible case of incompetence signing Moose for that amount of money at his age. One bad signing or trade like that one puts teams like the Reds at a severe disadvantage for the life of the contract and sometimes beyond. Financially, the Reds aren’t in a position to make a bust move like that one. At least Votto has given some decent return on his contract for most years.

      • Doc

        And therein lay the rub. Who among us were lamenting the Moose contract the day it was done? Who among us were lamenting the Bailey contract the day it was done?

        If we all lived in the perfect world one assumes, and management knew Moose would bottom out due to health issues among others, or Bailey would no longer be Bailey within a couple of years, of course the Reds would not have made the deal. If we all knew Puig and the pitcher would have flamed out, the Reds would not have made the trade. And yet, many are clamoring for the Reds to rinse and repeat, with many of the names being bandied about for significant dollars being considerably more likely to be dying embers rather than dyn-o-mite.

        I remain in the build from within and keep the pipelines full of replacement players. Invest in scouting excellence and development, rather than huge contracts that saddle a club for years with either an underperforming player, or a goner. I believe it is easier to recover from one bad draft pick and a 7 figure signing bonus than it is from one bad 9 figure contract to an underperformed, unless they can figure out how to get away from guaranteeing contracts.

      • old-school

        I was happy at the time for Bailey as he was a workhorse in his prime well short of age 30 coming off (2) no hitters with no injury history. Moose is a different animal. He was 32 and clearly past his prime years. Some folks wanted Zack Cozart extended at age 32 and $50 million to Scooter Gennett over age 30 so he didn’t walk in FA. Reds simply cant afford to sign guys after age 30 and into their mid 30’s. We know that’s when injuries are higher and decline advances rapidly. The Reds cant absorb that risk.

        I love Castellanos but the early word is he wants 7 years. No way.

        Its why I would trade Sonny Gray now and move forward with 23 yo Jose Barrero at SS over soon to be 32 year old Kyle Farmer at SS. Farmer is a nice depth piece. Middle infielders age horribly- Cozart/Andrelton Simmons/Jose Iglesias/Freddy Galvis, etc.

        Stay young and use veterans as final pieces – a bullpen arm here, a Wade Miley there, a backup catcher or power bat- especially with the DH coming.

      • JayTheRed

        Honestly, I hated both deals. I never thought Bailey was more than a good #3 pitcher in a rotation and as for Moose from the moment that offseason started. I was worried they would go after him, and I felt like his best days were past. Never really been a big moose fan..

  5. MK

    Got to believe there is some Agent/GM coincidental (right) crossings at Holiday Parties.

  6. Old Big Ed

    Hunter Greene’s contract rights would fetch a lot more than Sonny Gray’s would. And that is not a knock on Sonny Gray.

    Moose’s contract is no better than Votto’s. Votto produced 4.5 more bWAR than Moose did last year. Moose is simply unplayable now. If he were a free agent, he would be hard-pressed to get anything more than an invite to spring training.

    Votto is owed $57 million for the next two years, but it is at least possible that he will come back for the third year (2024) at much less than the $20 million owed if his $7 million option is exercised. Votto may produce 6 WAR in those 2 years, or 8 in 3 years. Depending on how you calculate it, he may have only 10-15 million in “dead” value — that is, salary above what he produces.

    Moose is owed $38 million for the next two years, and can be expected to produce at replacement level, if that. Can’t run, can’t hit, can’t throw, and has the range of a sloth; he makes Asdrubal Cabrera look like Clemente in his prime. Moose has an almost certain dead value of $30+ million. I have said in the past that he has a simple swing that ought to age fairly well, but I now highly doubt that he is anything other than dead money.

    • Alan Horn

      Agree with the whole last paragraph except Cabrera. He is yet another boat anchor at this stage of his career.

    • Jim Walker

      As a person who is fighting the same battle, let’s hope Moose learns to push himself away from the table sooner over the off season. That might be the best first step he could take to at least rehab into a viable DH and sometime 1B sub to give #19 a chance to rest his legs.

      • Jim Walker

        For the record, I managed to go +10Lbs over the last 3 weeks of November after being in a 5-7Lbs range for 6+ years. I’m now -4 to my recent peak. 😉

      • BK

        Congrats Jim … trimming down around Thanksgiving is quite an accomplishment–well done!

      • doofus

        Bo Derek was a 10. What is wrong with being a “10?”

    • BK

      I expect Moose to bounce back in 2022 with a full offseason to rehab. Marcel’s projection has him at .753 OPS for 2022 which should be right around league average. If healthy, he’ll likely do a little better over the season as historically his splits against LHP are not as drastic as several other Reds. His versatility will also help around the infield.

  7. Indy Red Man

    Idk about trades, but I saw recently where Puig signed with Korea for $1/mil

    100 games w/the Reds and he won games with his bat, arm, and legs. Yeah he’s a couple cans short of a 6-pack, but losing 90+ is boring (and unwatchable) and he isn’t boring. Legally idk? He’s no Bauer but he’s had some allegations. I also know Joe Mixon punched a woman in the face as hard as he could and he plays every Sunday. That was on video! Tony LaRussa has a fortune, but he’s so arrogant that he’d rather weave around drunk then call an Uber. I would’ve taken Puig back in a heartbeat!

    • Rednat

      yes, yes, yes!

      i have no idea why we traded him.

      5 tool guy, fan favorite. put butts in the seats.
      i would definitely be happy if he was our starting rt fielder next year. assuming Castelanos doesn’t sign

      • Doc

        Was there a guy named Bauer, who won a Cy Young, involved in that Puig trade? I don’t remember exactly, but maybe that is why we traded him.

      • TR

        Why not? He is a fan favorite and his time with the Reds provided some zing although he’s certainly not a consistent hitter.

    • Jim Walker

      I’m seeing the number of guys signing with Asian teams and wondering if these contracts have optouts or buyouts that could land the guys back in MLB once the lockout is settled.

      However, in the specific case of Puig, he needed a career reset regardless. Given the charisma he projects when he behaves himself and performs well, he could become a rage in Korea and end up with side gigs that would far exceed what MLB is ever going to pay him at age and with his background.

  8. MuddyCleats

    121 years ago today, the Reds acquired a future baseball legend for just $100. Then they promptly traded him away for practically nothing.

    It’s one of the greatest “what-ifs” in Cincinnati sports history.

    Sound familiar; Who was it ?

      • MuddyCleats

        Christy Mathewson fm what I read

    • Optimist

      Even better, it was a trade of a one HOF RH starter for another. How often has that happened. Of course the career timing left something to be desired.