On Wednesday afternoon the Cincinnati Reds traded left-handed reliever Amir Garrett to the Kansas City Royals in exchange for left-handed starter Mike Minor and $500,000 in cash.
It was a tough season for both left-handers in 2021. Amir Garrett was coming off of the 2019 and 2020 seasons where he pitched in 90 games out of the Reds bullpen and posted a 3.03 ERA that spanned 74.1 innings and included 104 strikeouts and just 11 home runs allowed. But in 2021 things went backwards for the big lefty as his control waned, walking 29 batters in 47.2 innings and saw his home run rate skyrocket as he gave up nine of them. The end result was his ERA jumping up to 6.04 on the season for Cincinnati.
For Mike Minor it’s been a tough past two seasons. The left-handed starting pitcher was quite good from 2017-2019, making 60 starts (all in 2018 and 2019) and 65 relief appearances (all in 2017). In that span he threw 443.0 innings with 420 strikeouts, a 3.62 ERA, a 136 ERA+, and a WHIP of 1.16. But the now 34-year-old struggled big time in both 2020 and 2021. He split his time in Texas and Oakland in 2020, making 11 starts and one relief appearance. His ERA jumped up to 5.56 in his 56.1 innings with 20 walks, 11 homers allowed, and 62 strikeouts. In 2021 he made 28 starts with Kansas City and threw 158.2 innings with a 5.05 ERA while giving up 26 home runs, 41 walks, and he struck out 149 batters.
From the Reds side of things they are picking up Mike Minor on a 1-year deal worth $10M, but the Royals are covering $500,000 of that. He is also due $13M in 2023 or there’s a mutual option with a $1M buyout.
Mike Minor makes just about as much money as Wade Miley or Sonny Gray was making. And he’s been a much worse pitcher than either of them over the last few seasons. The moves were all separate, but when looked at together it certainly leaves one scratching their head trying to figure out exactly what happened here. Even from a financial standpoint the savings of moving Garrett’s contract – he’s in arbitration – it doesn’t make much sense. The savings is merely a couple million and you are swapping out Miley or Gray for someone who is in their mid-30’s and has performed significantly worse than either of those two pitchers.