The Cincinnati Reds have signed free agent infielder Colin Moran. C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic was the first to report that he was in the Reds clubhouse and had a locker set up. Moran signed a 1-year deal with the club and he will get $1M as first reported by Mark Sheldon of Reds.com

After getting cups of coffee with the Houston Astros in 2016 and 2017 where he played in a combined 16 games, Colin Moran was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates in a 5-player deal that saw Gerrit Cole head to Houston. In his four seasons with the Pirates he played in 444 games and hit .269/.331/.419 with 71 doubles, 2 triples, 44 home runs, 124 walks, and 338 strikeouts.

The left-handed hitter has hit right-handed pitching much better than left-handed pitching throughout his career. He’s posted a .223/.284/.341 line against lefties over the past three seasons. Against righties he’s hit .277/.339/.447. That’s not exactly a stellar line, but it’s not bad, either. Just don’t put him in the lineup against left-handed pitchers.

The question of where he plays does come into question, though. The 29-year-old has mostly played first base over the last two seasons – only playing third base for a total of 36.0 innings since the start of 2020. He’s not going to be playing first base in Cincinnati. And at third base he’s probably not starting over Mike Moustakas or Donovan Solano. It’s possible he could be in the designated hitter mix – but again, only against right-handed pitching given his splits.

The move puts Cincinnati’s 40-man roster up to 39 players. It’s been a wild week so far as the team has been making trades and signings nearly every day since Sunday. After jettisoning Sonny Gray, Eugenio Suárez, Jesse Winker, and Amir Garrett the team has added Donovan Solano, Mike Minor, and now Colin Moran. One spot is still out there for the taking if a non-roster invitee to spring training wins a spot, but the team can also create another spot if needed by placing Tejay Antone on the 60-day injured list when it becomes available as he will miss the entire year after having Tommy John surgery.

68 Responses

  1. Bdh

    As I said in another thread I like this signing. I think he will hit really well as a DH in GABP.

    1 question though Doug

    Do you think this bumps Shogo off the MLB squad when the rosters get trimmed to 26?

    I’d assume 13 hitters and right now would go with

    1 – Stephenson
    2 – Backup catcher
    3 – Votto
    4 – India
    5 – Barrero
    6 – Moustakas
    7 – Fraley
    8 – Senzel
    9 – Naquin
    10 – Farmer
    11 – Aquino
    12 – Solano
    13 – Moran

    • TheCoastMan

      Shogo shouldn’t even be on a MLB roster. And, Senzel and Moose, unfortunately, probably won’t be on that list for long based on their injury histories.

    • west larry

      Don’t forget the PTBNL from Seattle. If the quality of that return is based on the performance of Winker and Suarez performance’s in earlt 2022 – maybe, they’ll both will be hot and we’ll get a really good player.

    • Votto4life

      I bet Jose Barrero starts the season in Louisville

      • Hotto4Votto

        That would be a criminally poor mishandling of a top prospect. He needs to start every day through June at the vet least. If he’s not cutting it then, make a different move.

    • Johnny Sofa

      When you put those 13 in writing, it’s worse than I imagined.

      • Votto4life

        If that list included Castellanos, Winker, Suarez and Tucker it wouldn’t look half bad. I am sick thinking about it. This off season has been a real travesty.

  2. TheCoastMan

    Nothing makes sense anymore. What’s up and what’s down is up for debate at this point.

    Hopefully, this is a sign that Castagreedy is going to do the right thing for Joey and either eat his salary and release him so he can join a contender to finish out his career or maybe trade him to a contender like Toronto for whatever he can get.

    • Jim t

      You think Ownership is going to release Joey and eat his 57 mil to let him go play for a contender? When did Joey say he wanted to go play somewhere else? I’d be stunned if Joey requested a trade.

    • Stock

      Why would a team release a player who hit 36 HR last year?

    • TheCoastMan

      No, I don’t think Castagreedy would trade, release or otherwise eat one single dime. What I’m saying is that Joey has been the epitome of the company man. Mentoring young players and spending his prime going through rebuilds without ever complaining about it.

      And, no, he won’t complain this time either or request a trade because that’s who Joey is. What I’m saying is that Castagreedy should do the right thing and figure out a way to let give Joey a chance to win a ring in the last couple years of his career. I think the organization owes him that much. It’s really sad to see him have to finish his career on a team that is probably going to be battling the Pirates to the 100 loss mark.

    • BenchWarmer

      There’s no way Moran fits on a team that has both Joey and Moose on it. Since nobody is going to pay even a quarter on the dollar for Moose, and since Moran can’t really play 3b, my guess is that the Reds have a deal in place to get Joey to Toronto. Toronto might pay at least 50 cents on the dollar, which is a win for Joey, for the Reds (saves Bob roughly $25 million), and for the Blue Jays (who were involved with Freeman and Schwarber to add a left-handed bat at 1b or DH, so they’ve shown the positional desire and ability to finance it).

      Moran gives them a cheap ML replacement at 1b, and they can let Moose platoon with Solano at 3b and hope he increases his value to the 50 cents on the dollar ballpark for an eventual trade. The Minor deal might also be evidence for this, since if they know they’re saving $10-15 million a year by moving JV they can then backfill the rotation spots lost by letting Miley and Sonny go (at least they got a good prospect for Sonny). Would also support the ability to keep Castillo and Mahle, with the payroll down in the 75 million range no particular need to move them right now; they might even be extension candidates with JV (and Suarez) gone, and Shogo and Moose soon to follow.

  3. Hanawi

    Very confused by this signing. Seems like they need outfielders? Aquino and Shogo have gotten enough looks by now that I don’t think either are full-time players, even on the bench. And counting on Senzel and Naquin to stay healthy seems pretty optimistic.

    • SultanofSwaff

      For the money he’s getting this was a missed opportunity. Good pitcher.

  4. Votto4life

    The Reds have cornered the market on left handed hitters who can’t field.

      • Dewey Roberts

        They are remaking the team. Trim the best players. Sign journeyman replacements. Keep the payroll at the same level. It is the new way of starting over. And the Reds are showing how to do it.

      • VegasRed

        I like the idea of getting a veteran bat for depth and bench but he needed to be a RH hitter that can platoon at 3B and 1B against tough lefties. Another Solano. Unless senzel and Aquino come alive, or Barerro’s offense shows up, the reds still lose to lefties.

        Maybe this means Barerro gets a genuine opportunity.

    • Melvin

      ..and can’t hit lefties. Another head scratcher for me. They’ve got Lopez who’s ready to play unless something has changed I don’t know about. Will he ever get a chance? Youth movement? ha

      • Votto4life

        Albie Lopez is a perfect example of a player who should be benefiting from the Reds slashing payroll. Instead, they are trading their established players and replacing them with aging veterans who are not as good and who are more expensive than if they just went with a youth movement.

        The Reds are going to end up with a less talented roster without the benefit of saving money. Bizarre.

      • Melvin

        …and wasting money. Most of the time when they do finally spend some $ they blow it. I just have to smile and not let them mess with me. lol smh

      • Melvin

        David Bell loves it though. Those are his kind of players. 🙂 Kind of reminds him of himself I guess.

    • Old Big Ed

      I don’t get this signing, either.

      They already have Moustakas and Votto in the slot for LH hitters who can’t run, can’t field, can’t hit lefties. They don’t have enough ABs for Moustakas already, so they sign a skinnier version of him. And they apparently intend to use Schrock and Alejo Lopez (a switch-hitter) in Louisville, despite their both figuring to out-hit, out-field and out-run Moustakas

      They are glutted with weak LH-hitting outfielders, too. None of the trio of Akiyama, Friedl and Fraley have shown that they can hit MLB pitching, although they all have decent wheels. They aren’t keeping all three, but Friedl seems the best of them, and is most likely not to be kept. Plus, Naquin can’t hit lefties, either.

      Meanwhile, they have about 3 guys on the team who can hit LH pitching.

  5. CI3J

    Realistically, as things stand now, how many games do you think this Reds team is going to win with a bunch of old, slow, situational hitters?

    I think 70 wins is about the ceiling.

    Is there anyone who actually thinks this Reds team could somehow compete?

    Yes, I know there’s still a lot of offseason left to sign players, but this really seems to be what they meant about “aligning payroll to resources”, so there is absolutely no reason to expect them to suddenly sign a real impact player.

    • VegasRed

      I absolutely believe Castillo will be moved this season. And why not since the reds won’t extend him. But yes, say hello again to 90+ loss seasons (plural). Sigh.

    • Bdh

      Realistically I’d guess in the 75 range. Ceiling can still be around .500

      The rotation is still solid and there’s enough young talent in the lineup that if they take their next steps in development they could actually look pretty good.

      The fact that the DH will stop David Bell’s awful double switching cannot be overlooked either. Probably gained a couple more wins from that rule change. Heck we were really only getting Winker for 6 innings a game

      • LDS

        We hope it stops DB’s double switches. I still won’t be surprised to see the Reds use Castillo to dump the Moose contract and Mahle to dump Shogo with prospect returns like we have seen thus far.

      • Votto4life

        I think Fangraph had them at 77 yesterday before today’s blockbuster signing. So I guess now they stand at 77.1 wins?

      • Votto4life

        LDS I can see the Reds trading Castillo to dump Moose’s contract. I wouldn’t like it but I can see them doing that. But surely to God they wouldn’t give Mahle away to get rid of the $7,000,000 owed to Shogo. Would they?

        After spending $8 million on Minor?

        Please tell me they wouldn’t do that?

      • CI3J

        What “young talent” in the lineup?

        There’s India, there’s Stephenson, and…. That’s it.

        Barrero is never going to get a chance to play as long as Kyle Farmer is on the team.

        Senzel is turning 27 this season, and he’s too fragile to be relied upon.

        So what is this other “young talent” you’re referring to?

    • TheCoastMan

      I’m going to say between 65 to 70, but check this out — when one professional team in a city does well, other teams in that city also tend to do well. Not always the case, but quite often.

      So…. Based on the Bengals, could this team actually do better than we think?

    • Old Big Ed

      The amazing thing is that they should be a lot more athletic this year than last year. I know David Bell’s manager-speak is saying that Farmer is the shortstop, but that isn’t really going to happen. Barrero is tons more explosive than Farmer.

      Now that Suarez is gone, all of their other options there are more athletic, aside from Moustakas. Alas, Bell may play Moose anyway, even though the video from the batting cage showed Moose with a Ralph Kramden-like gut. And Senzel, assuming he plays, is faster than any outfielder that they had last year. And whoever replaces Winker in left field will almost by definition be faster and better defensively than Winker is.

      So, they OUGHT to have better athletes at short, third, left and center this year.

  6. SultanofSwaff

    Good signing…. Lord knows he likes to hit it GABP. I’ll gladly take a .790 ops versus right-handed pitching out of the DH spot….. I wonder if he can be winker level adequate defensively in left field.

  7. Eddie

    I like this a lot. I hope Aquino gets cut he sucks not worthy to be in lineup

    • LDS

      Maybe though I wonder if they let him go back to his funky old stance whether he’d start hitting again.

      • MBS

        I never understood why he switched. Maybe he was more susceptible to the sliders. He seems like a player that needs the right batting coach.

    • Jimbo44CN

      Cmon, get real. Whos better besides Naquin, Moran? Give me a break.

    • Jack

      Aquino is an outfielder, Moran is a subpar infielder. This won’t affect him.

  8. AllTheHype

    Against RHPs, Moran probably gives Joey a day off from the field on some days, and same @ 3B for Moose.

  9. MBS

    I was hoping Senzel was going back to 3B, but with Moran in the mix, you got to think the Reds are planning on moving Moose to 3B, as Moran is a 1B/DH. Also Moose has his platoon mate in Solano on the hot corner. Senzel seems a lock stay in the OF, just wondering is Farmer a starter, and Barrero an OF.

    • Votto4life

      Sounds like Moran is pretty sketchy at 3B. Probably not that great at 1B either. Maybe they can work him at a SS. It worked out well with Geno.

    • Kevin Patrick

      If there is no shift, I would think the Reds have to go with Barrero.

      • Old Big Ed

        Bell is wacky, but even he would put the much more mobile Barrero at short and Farmer at third under that plan.

    • MuddyCleats

      Agree on Senzel. Kid has proven he can’t stay healthy in the OF. Maybe LF would be better, but I’d put him at 3B and have Moose DH. Moose looked terrible at 3B last season. He has two foot problems which will only b exacerbated by playing the field. Likewise, he is NOT the future at 3B nor are Solano or Moran.

    • old-school

      Nick krall said Senzel is a CF and Barrero a SS
      David Bell said Moose is going back to 3b

  10. Magnum 44

    He is probably better in Lf than he is at 3rd…Definitely a 1st baseman I know he has killed in GABP but geesh I am so sick of these signings I would rather them do nothing than what there doing.

  11. DataDumpster

    Seems like a decent pickup but hard to fathom where he fits on the team. Needs at outfield, relief pitching, and the good baserunners and gloves that Krall talked about haven’t showed yet. However, with him and Solano there is an opening to unload Moose. If the PTBNL actually materializes as a useful trade chip, perhaps Krall has another move left to tie this mess together. Better watch out, the Cubbies picked up the reliever we should have retained and are quietly getting the bullpen arms we haven’t pursued. Fourth place is starting to come into view.

    • Votto4life

      The Cubs also signed Seiya Suzuki as well. They had the emergence of a nice core late last season. They have probably already surpassed the Reds.

  12. Votto4life

    Oddly, the move the Reds have made this week that has bothered me the most is acquiring Mike Minor. Why would you waste $8 million dollars on him?

    Slashing payroll and giving your young players a chance to play I understand. I don’t necessarily like it, but it’s a strategy.

    But why waste $8 million on a veteran pitcher who is going to take away innings from your young guys? That dough could have got them a couple nice bullpen pieces. If you want someone to eat innings on the cheap, just give Amir Garrett another shot at starting or spend a couple million dollars on someone to eat innings.

    Why in the world would you make Mike Minor your fourth highest paid player?

    Same, to a lesser degree, with the Solano and Moran signing. Not bad players to have if you need one or two bench pieces. But why spend $ on them when most you not going to compete? Again, you’re just taking at bats away from your young players.

    It’s as if the Red’s front office’s plan is to trade fan favorites and replace with aging veterans.

    It’s like a bizarro world where you are doing your best to tick off your customers.

    • LDS

      I don’t know but I get the feeling that Greene is being viewed as the 2nd coming of Chapman and destined for the bullpen.

      • TheCoastMan

        Greene might throw 100MPH, but as we saw in AAA, those guys can hit that stuff if it is flat. It might play in the low minors, but in the show, you better have some movement on that heater. If he can’t do that, then he could very well be the next coming of Chapman.

        I agree, though, let those young guys get the experience. I’m pretty sure that the FO thinks we are going to be a competitive team and that is why they picked up Minor. I guess we’ll see soon enough.

    • SteveLV

      Pretty much sums up my thoughts. I’ve been a proponent of actually try to win now or do everything necessary to try to win in 2024+. It doesn’t do any good to keep Gray, Castillo, Mahle, etc. on mediocre teams, blow the value of their contracts over the next two years, and end up with nothing. So, while I didn’t think they got good value in the first trades, I could at least see a direction. The Minor thing is just depressing.

    • Hanawi

      Reds have just refused to go with a youth movement. Don’t forget that one of the two young stars they have is India, who they all but gave up on by signing Moustakas to play 2B. Only injury gave him a shot and then he ended up winning ROY.

    • Redsvol

      posted this on another thread but I think it applies here too;

      I think they are looking at the fact that ~1500 innings need to be pitched this year. A typical bullpen will need to carry 400 of those, in a bad year 500.
      Which starters are going to carry those 1000 innings? Here is a stab at it.
      Castillo – ~180
      Mahle ~ 180
      Gutierrez ~140
      Greene ~120
      Minor ~180
      So there is 800 innings covered by the starters – and that is assuming very good health by the veterans and load management of the youngsters. You’ve still got ~200 innings the starters need to cover.

      Are we going to have perfect health? – No. So you’ve got at least ~200 innings (and probably more) for Lodolo, Dunn, AshCraft and others to fill. There are plenty of innings for the youngsters to soak up and develop with. We need a couple veterans who have a track record of carrying some innings.

      I would have preferred they found a veteran free agent instead of Minor but I also don’t think we’re going to get a decent veteran for less than 5 million$ (Rangers spent $4M on Martin Perez who is worse). I wouldn’t be surprised if they added another veteran in free agency to absorb some more innings because we aren’t going to have perfect health, they’ll have to be careful with a shortened spring training, and the youngsters haven’t experienced the stress of pitching in the big leagues before and will have to be load-managed carefully to avoid devastating injuries. Definitely a development year.

      And don’t forget, someone (Castillo, Mahle, Minor) is getting traded at the trade deadline if they are having an awesome year – so probably even more innings to absorb after July.

      • Votto4life

        Thanks Redsvol, that makes sense. I guess they got Minor for around $5 million when you consider the offset from AG’s contract.

  13. Alex

    At this point, trying to figure him into some context of the current roster seems fruitless. The idea that the “top end” of this rotation sticks around feels dubious at best, naive at worst. The notion that a couple of those pitchers get traded to get rid of a couple more contracts feels more plausible. Ole Moran could fit right into a 100 loss team at 1b soon enough.
    Instead of hunting for a world series, big Bob is on the march to a $70 million payroll! And he’s gonna win at all cost!!!!! Hahaha

    • Hanawi

      This signing and the Solano signing seem like signs that they are trying to get someone to take the Moustakas contract. And I think the only way for that to happen is to tie him to Mahle or Castillo.

      • Votto4life

        You mean Mike Minor is Luis Castillo’s replacement and Moran replaces Moose?

        It would explain things I guess. But why would Nick Krall go out of his way to say that neither Castillo or Mahle are being traded? I realize it wouldn’t be the first time he has mislead the public, but it would be such a blatant lie.

        It would make sense though.

      • Redsvol

        last year this team was rolling out Mike Freeman, Aquino, Heineman, and Asdrubal Cabrera as pinch hitters. I think it makes perfect sense to bring in Solano and Moran for bench depth and pinch hitting. Young guys typically do horrible as pinch hitters.

  14. Hotto4Votto

    Well last season he’s exactly at 0.0 WAR, (0.1 for career) which means he’s exactly replacement level. Wonder if negotiations occurred during the lock-out and they thought he’d make a good scab? But then the Reds traded half their team and figured they needed him anyway.

  15. Old Big Ed

    I actually don’t think that the Reds will affix the Moustakas contract to a trade of Castillo or Mahle.

    Krall has been clear that they will not give up a good prospect, just to get rid of the Moustakas contract. Making a team take on Moose’s bad contract in exchange for Castillo or Mahle would deeply lessen the very strong prospect haul that they could get for either one of them. So, palming off the Moustakas contract on a trade partner for Castillo would be the functional equivalent of giving up prospects in exchange for taking the bad contract. The Reds could then evaluate a trade of Castillo/Mahle solely in terms of the prospects offered.

    Instead, I think that the front office has decided to eat the Moustakas and Akiyama contracts. The Reds will at least give Moose a chance in April and May to prove that he can still hit. He had plantar fasciitis last year, and (trust me on this) it is impossible to play MLB with that injury, or really to get any exercise at all. I always thought that Moose had a simple swing that should age well, and so far I’ve been wrong, but there is at least a chance with two healthy feet that he can contribute offensively. If so, they can likely find somebody near the deadline to take on a bit of his contract.

    I think management’s goal is to (1) finish 2023 with zero long-term contracts, or perhaps only an extension of Mahle and/or India, and with a lot of MLB-ready players like Jay Allen, Elly De La Cruz and Rece Hinds; and (2) sell the team in the 2023-24 off-season, when its future cash flow should be very strong and the franchise would be at peak value. The ownership group will make a lot more money by selling the franchise at its peak value, than it would by saving a few million by ditching Moose now.

    • TR

      I hope you’re right. It would be a shame to give up outstanding pitching to get rid of a bad contract. It’s good the DH comes to the NL this year since it’s a place for Moustakas, at least against righthanded pitching. And, it will lift the gloom a little if Senzel is healthy and he can return to his natural position in the infield.