The non-tender date is just about two months away, taking place right before the start of the winter meetings in December. But we’re going to try and get through this series before the end of the playoffs here at Redleg Nation because the organization will need to trim their roster down to 40 once the playoffs are over and the 60-day injured list goes away. Cincinnati currently has 11 players on the 60-day injured list and only one of them could be a free agent – Justin Wilson, who has a team option. Because of that situation, and the general lack of free agents on the active roster (just three), Cincinnati is going to have to designated or outright release plenty of players well ahead of the non-tender deadline or even the late-November Rule 5 protection date to get down to 40 players on the roster.

Today we’re going to take a look at the non-catcher position players on the 40-man roster and look at why the team would consider keeping them or letting them become a free agent in one manner or another (DFA/release or a non-tender). We won’t be looking at every player on the roster because some guys simply aren’t worth discussing – the team isn’t going to be considering this kind of situation for Joey Votto or Jonathan India or Tyler Stephenson.

Mike Moustakas

The Reds don’t dip their toes in free agency for solid players very often, but prior to the 2020 season they did just that when they signed Nick Castellanos and Mike Moustakas. In terms of free agent contracts in the current times we live in, neither was actually a large contract, but given that Cincinnati has never actually played in free agency in the last two decades it felt like they were spending a bunch of money.

For Moustakas and the Reds, things haven’t gone well. After being solid in 2020 in 44 games it’s been injuries and (probably somewhat related) a complete lack of offensive production in the last two seasons. Moustakas has played in just 140 combined games and he’s put up a .646 OPS in that span. 2023 will be his final year under contract. The money is already spent whether he’s going to be on the team or not. Given his production, injuries, and the direction of the team (looking to go younger, figure out who can truly be a part of the future), letting him go would make some sense.

The flip side to that would be that when he’s been healthy in his career, he’s been a solid hitter. And with the National League now having the designated hitter role you don’t have to worry as much about his declining defense. On a team that is likely going to lean young it’s also possible that Moustakas brings some leadership and “veteran that can also provide an example, communicate well with the young players” kind of thing to the table. That’s something the organization knows more about that any of us, and may or may not be a factor.

Matt Reynolds

If there’s a spot that needs to be played on the field then the odds are good that Matt Reynolds can play it. He saw action at every position on the field for Cincinnati in 2022 except catcher. Reynolds even pitched in two games. He provides a whole lot of defensive flexibility off of the bench and teams value that.

The other side of that coin, though, is that Reynolds struggles to hit. During the season with Cincinnati he hit .246/.320/.332 in his 92 games played. Coming off of the bench to hit isn’t something he can be counted on for. He doesn’t make contact – he struck out 29% of the time he stepped to the plate – and he doesn’t hit for any power at all. Reynolds also isn’t very fast, so his usefulness as a pinch runner isn’t really there, either.

He profiles as a guy who should be easily available on a minor league deal every year – a good amount of defensive versatility, but someone who can’t hit. These are guys you tend to try and keep in Triple-A and call up if and when a need arises.

Aristides Aquino

The early memories of Aristides Aquino were incredible. He hit .320 with 14 home runs in August of 2019. He was setting records for home runs hit to start a career and Cincinnati was on cloud nine watching it unfold. But once the calendar flipped to September so did the script. Since September 1st of 2019, Aquino has has .192/.266/.376 in 646 plate appearances.

Where Aristides Aquino has stood out is in the field. He’s a solid defender, but his arm stands out much like his power did back in August of 2019. It’s game changing. The value of his arm is undeniable and depending on which version of WAR you may want to subscribe to (if any of them), his defense has been worth 1.5-2.0 wins.

There’s an argument to be made that his defensive value is enough to warrant keeping him around. I’m going to argue the other side of that. Aristides Aquino simply can’t hit enough to play regularly. And he’s going to be 29-years-old next season, so the chances that he’s going to figure that out aren’t good at all. If the large majority of a players value is “he has an incredible arm” and that guy isn’t a pitcher, then there’s not a lot of good reason to keep him on the big league roster. That’s not a player you want to see on the field every day, and if he’s not on the field every day then the value of that arm isn’t useful.

Allan Cerda

The player on this list that is the player most don’t have a lot of recognition of, Allan Cerda is a minor leaguer who was just added to the 40-man roster last November in order to protect him from the Rule 5 draft (one that due to the lockout never wound up happening). He split his time this season between High-A Dayton and Double-A Chattanooga. The 22-year-old hit .208/.360/.444 between the two stops.

There are some good things in his profile. He’s a very good defender in center and has a good arm that will allow him to play all three outfield positions with no issues at all. He’s also got some pop in his bat – he hit 22 doubles and 24 home runs this past season. Cerda also gets on base thanks to plenty of walks – he had 84 of them this year.

But there are some real concerns in his profile, too. While he is young, he’s struggled to make contact and that led to him hitting .198 after getting to Double-A. He did lower his strikeout rate once he got to Double-A, but he still struck out 30% of the time he was in the batters box this year with the Lookouts.

The argument to keep him on the roster is that he’s young, has some tools and skills that could be useful in the future, has options remaining, and that he could continue to improve. The other side of that argument is that he’s a guy who  just spent half of a season in Double-A and hit .198 with a bunch of strikeouts and with a career .233 average is there much reason to believe there’s more than a bench player if things get better with this profile?

Nick Senzel

In his rookie season, Nick Senzel was solid as he hit .256/.315/.427 with 14 stolen bases. Since then he’s struggled to remain healthy (and likely connected) and has hit just .229/.295/.314 in 169 games while stealing just 12 bases in 23 attempts.

Much like Aquino, Senzel isn’t getting any younger. He’ll turn 28-years-old next season before the All-Star break. Unlike Aquino, he can put the bat on the ball. He can also play center and as well as some spots on the infield. But also unlike Aquino, he’s hit for next to no power since 2019 with eight home runs in his last 169 games played.

The argument for keeping Senzel around is that he can run well, can play multiple positions defensively well, and there’s a chance that some of that offensive upside he showed in the minors before all of the injuries began to hit could still be tapped into. If he can find a little bit more power the peripherals support a solid player. Given how hard he was hitting the ball late in the season after making a swing change in early-September it could be worth exploring what happens next season for a bit (11 of his 51 batted balls with an exit velo of 100+ came in the final three weeks of his season).

The other side of that argument is that he’s hit like a Triple-A player for three seasons running now and is entering arbitration and will get a raise of some kind for the 2023 season. Are a few weeks of hitting the ball hard but without much results (he hit .167 in those final three weeks) worth another shot after such a long period of struggle?

What happens?

It’s unlikely that every one of these guys gets removed from the 40-man roster this offseason, but the turnover here is likely to be quite high. I’d venture to guess at least two of the players here aren’t on the 40-man roster with Cincinnati on December 15th. The two biggest choices are likely with Mike Moustakas due to the money owed and Nick Senzel given that he’s basically been the starting center fielder when healthy over the last four seasons.

This authors take: Senzel, Moustakas, and Cerda will remain on the 40-man roster.

To see the other positional non-tender write ups you can click right here.

91 Responses

  1. KYpodman

    Cerda – No
    Moose – 50/50
    Senzel – yes (he gets one more year)
    Aquino – No

    • Redsvol

      I agree with this. No one is going to keep feeds on a major league roster all year, so why should we. He’s a nice Propect but he is far from major league ready.

      • Doug Gray

        No one has to keep him on the big league roster all year. If he’s non-tendered they just claim him and keep him on the 40-man and use his two remaining option years.

  2. Hotto4Votto

    I keep Cerda and Senzel out of that group.
    For Cerda the average and K’s are absolutely a concern for Cerda but he just does so many other things well. If he can keep cutting down that K-rate (a thing a lot of Cincinnati prospects need to do) he’ll be a intriguing player because he gets on base, has speed, has defensive value, and hits the ball hard when he connects. Between two levels he still put up over an .800 OPS for the season. That’s too enticing to give up on, considering he’s young and lost a year of development in 2020.

    For Senzel, I’m keeping him due to his ability to play all over the field and with the hope he’ll tap into some sort offense, as he showed throughout the minors. It’s nearly a toss up between he and Aquino, but I feel Aquino’s had more opportunity and hasn’t delivered at the plate.

    • Melvin

      Senzel will most likely cost more and you know how much that means to Big Bob & Son. Not defending Aquino’s lack of consistency but I’m not sure it’s accurate to say he’s had more opportunity than Senzel.

  3. scotly50

    Aquino was DFA’ed, went through the process, and was right back on the Reds and in the starting lineup. The DFA that won’t go away.

  4. CFD3000

    Unless you just have an extra 40 man spot open, there’s no reason to keep any of these players. They’re just not very good. And my understanding is there’s a roster crunch, so I’d say no on all these guys. But if there is space, I’d keep Cerda first based on his ceiling and youth, and Aquino second based on his defense / arm and flashes of power. But I’d send him (and Barrero) to AAA and not call them up until they drop their strikeout rates to league average or below. And please can we end the Moustakas experiment?

    But that said, I suspect you’re right Doug – only Reynolds and AA will be gone, and maybe not even Aquino. Sigh…

    • Stock

      Barrero and Aquino are both out of options.

      • CFD3000

        I realize Aquino would have to clear waivers for that to happen, but is Barrero really out of options? He might even still qualify as a rookie in 2023!

      • Jim Walker

        I don’t think Barrero is out of options. He has one season on option remaining per Fangraphs.

        Cross checking with Cot’s Contracts, Barrero’s contract was “selected” in August of 2020. This transaction added him to the 40 man roster and the active roster without use of an option. He remained on the active roster through the remainder of 2020. Thus no option was used in 2020.

        He was subsequently optioned in 2021, his first option used. The fact he was sent back down in 2021 and then subsequently recalled later in 2021 does not use a 2nd option. A single option is good for multiple recalls and send downs within a given season.

        He was optioned again in 2022, his second option used.

  5. Stock

    I think these 28 players will be protected.

    Antone, Arimas Garcia, Ashcraft, Barrero, Cessa, Cruz, Diaz, Dunn, Farmer, Fraley, Friedl, Greene, Gutierrez, Hoffman, India, Kuhnel, Lodolo, Lopez, Overton, Sanmartin, Santillan, Senzel, Siani, Sims, Steer, Stephenson, Votto, Warren

    Four upcoming prospects need to be added to the 40 man roster.

    Elly De La Cruz, Noelvi Marte, Brandon Williamson, Levi Stoudt

    2-4 spots should be reserved for FA or rule 5 players.

    That leaves 4-6 spots for these players:

    Aquino, Buck Farmer, Cerda, Chuckie Robinson, Dowdy, Durante, Espinal, Fairchild, Gibaut, Hendrix, Kolo, Moreta, Moustakas, Reynolds

    I think Cerda, Moreta and Moustakas get spots. I also lean to Chuckie Robinson and Fairchild. Gibaut is out of options so the Reds should try to sign him to a minor league contract.

    The bullpen is really pretty loaded next year:

    Antone, Warren, Cruz, Diaz, Sanmartin, Santillan, Sims are 7 solid pieces

    Add in the following 5, some of which may take the last 2 spots in the rotation:

    Dunn, Gutierrez, Hoffman, Cessa, Overton

    For this reason it does not make sense to keep Gibaut, Hendrix and several other RP on the 40 man because they are out of options are simply not good enough to compete for a spot in the bullpen.

    • Stock

      One more addition. I think the Reds may protect Vellojin.

      • Doug Gray

        I bet they’ll protect Richardson, Karcher, and one of Hopkins/Ivan Johnson, too.

    • Tar Heel Red

      I disagree with protecting several on your list. Gutierrez will be out all of ’23 while recovering from Tommy John and Warren just had elbow ligament surgery. No other team is going to claim them. Garcia and Kuhnel should be cut loose for underperformance and can be easily replaced. Senzel is a harder call, but ultimately he could be non-tendered. Even when healthy, which is not that often, his performance is unproductive.
      I would keep Buck Farmer and Gibault. Fairchild will probably be kept, if for no other reason than he is an OF’er. I wouldn’t keep him, but we are talking about the “new and less-improved Reds.”

  6. MBS

    I guess it really depends on if the Reds will spend money, or not. If they spend, I’d clear all 5 to make room on the roster.

    If they decide not to spend, I’d keep Senzel, and Moustakas. I’m not worried about Cerda being taken in the rule 5 draft. Aquino isn’t good enough to keep a roster spot. Reynolds is a no brainer to drop.

  7. doofus

    If you will allow me folks to make an unrelated comment. After the Phillies took a 3-2 lead over the Cards in the top of the 9th last Thursday, the camera panned to the stands showing a mass exodus of Cardinal fans scurrying for the exits. My first thought, was why are the home team’s fans leaving a playoff game whose outcome was still to be determined?

    I repeatedly hear announcers proclaim how great Cardinal fans are. Did Thursday reveal the truth?

    • TR

      I didn’t see the mass exodus of Card fans. They drew 3 Million 320 thousand this season. Since Anheuser-Busch bought the Cardinals in 1952 from Fred Saigh, who eventually served prison time for tax evasion, the Cards have been a consistently competitive team.

    • Rednat

      IN general i think cardinal fans are spoiled brats. if things are not going their way they leave. i will say st. louis and Cincinnati is often compared as comparable market sizes but there are differences which give St. louis an advantage. first St. louis is a larger city population wise , not by much, but by about 20k i think. now this may not make a huge difference because like the reds i am sure the cardinals don’t draw a lot from people in the city limits.

      secondly i think cardinal nation is a little better off financially then reds nation. the cardinals are basically a farming and industrial team in the midwest where a lot of reds nation is in coal mining, Appalachian country which is financially depressed. this may at least be a factor. even when the reds are really good. they can never draw quite as much as st. louis it seems

  8. old-school

    No projections on Cerda in 2024+ but hes not an MLB player now and I cant see how a team would draft him and commit to playing him at the MLB level after hitting .198 in AA with a 31% K rate.

    Braves do it again
    Extend rookie pitcher strider 6 years $75 million.

    • Doug Gray

      A team wouldn’t have to draft him, necessarily. If he were non-tendered or DFA’d a team could simply claim him on waivers and then just keep him and continue to use his remaining two option seasons all while paying him 40-man roster money (which until he’s in the big leagues is under $100,000 a year).

      • BK

        This is the downside of adding a good, but not great High-A prospect to the 40-man roster. If they had left him unprotected, another team would have had to roster him all year on their 26-man to keep him. Now, they can simply claim him and option him to the minors.

  9. LDS

    Keep Senzel over Reynolds & Farmer. DFA Moose and hopes he opts for FA (unlikely). As lousy as Aquino has been, he did have better streaks this season than any of the others on the list, just not long enough, not that that says much. So, keep Senzel and give him one more year with a new hitting coach, then punt. One of the wild cards is the pitchers on the 60-day. I suspect some of the players that fans are counting on next season, e.g., Sims & Antone, may not have it any longer. Hopefully, the Reds have good data on their recovery. Some of them likely won’t recover sufficiently. Maybe the Reds will surprise us and go ahead and clean up the 40-man before the playoffs end. Won’t happen, but it would fuel another active RLN thread.

    • BK

      What do you mean by “DFA Moose and hopes he opts for FA (unlikely)”? He would certainly clear waivers unclaimed and become a free agent, with the Reds responsible for all remaining guaranteed dollars on his contract.

      • Old Big Ed

        Yeah, I think that the best they can hope for with Moustakas is that a team like the Royals would take him in a trade, while agreeing to take on just a little bit more than the minimum salary, and with the trade being for a non-prospect or else a player whose salary the Royals want to dump.

        I see zero reason to keep Moustakas. He is in the way in Cincinnati. With the DH in the NL, there is some team that needs a cheap LH bat and that may be willing to take on $1 million of that salary.

      • LDS

        I may be remembering incorrectly, but I thought someone here posted that if a player such as Moose clears waivers and then rejects the outright, thus electing FA, that player forfeits the remainder of his contract. Maybe I have it wrong, but that was the motivation for my comment. And the reason I noted it as unlikely because no one is going to pay him what the Reds are on the hook for.

      • BK

        It all comes down to how much the Reds believe Moose’s injuries have contributed to his hitting decline. While his track record is poor, the decision to retain or release him should be based on the team’s projections for his hitting in 2023.

      • BK

        @LDS, that’s not at all how it works. Moose is on a guaranteed contract and has sufficient service time to decline an outright assignment. Bottom-line: the Reds are paying his contract unless another team trades for him or claims him if he were put on waivers via the DFA process.

      • LDS

        Thanks @BK. Still an example of the sunk cost fallacy. Cut him loose. Showing up out of shape likely contributed to the injuries. Sadly, that isn’t considered a breach of contract in professional sports.

      • BK

        The problem is that it may not be an example of the sunk cost fallacy. While past performance informs projections, it’s not predictive. Case in point, Albert Pujols just posted 154 OPS+ and 2.0 bWAR after 5 consecutive seasons of below average performance. As I stated above, the decision should be made based on the Red’s projections of Moustakas performance for 2023. That is have injuries or other correctable areas caused his performance decline or has father time won out? We can speculate, but I don’t think any of us here has that level of insight and without that level of insight, it’s possible, even if unlikely, that Moustakas has positive value for 2023 and should be retained. If he does, his contract is NOT an example of the sunk cost fallacy.

    • Redsvol

      Moose is not going to forfeit the 22$ million dollars the reds owe him in 2023 and 2024. We can cut him, DFA him or send him to Siberia but he is getting that $22 million. And no one is giving 1 penny of that back in a trade. We would have to attach significant prospects to him to save any of that $.

  10. SultanofSwaff

    There doesn’t seem to be a logical argument for keeping Senzel when he should be behind Siani, Friedl, and Fairchild on the depth chart…..that is, if actual production matters more than draft position and sentimentality.

    Krall doesn’t intend to spend any money, so let’s double down on giving the young players a chance to prove that they can be a part of the solution, even if their ceiling is a backup. There’s value (and cost savings) in having these glue guys so you’re not wasting $ on scrap heap veterans every offseason… that should be going to extensions for your core players.

    • BK

      The argument for Senzel is that he made a hitting adjustment that demonstrated harder contact. Another argument is that he has options remaining and can work on his swing at AAA if he hasn’t shown dramatic improvement in ST.

    • AllTheHype

      Siani, Friedl, and Fairchild play infield positions?

  11. SultanofSwaff

    Braves locked up ANOTHER young player—Spencer Strider with a $75mil extension that buys out 1 free agent year.

    Ashcraft, Lodolo, and Greene are in his class. (I already know the answer, but) Will the Reds be smart enough to do the same?

    • Doug Gray

      I have to say that I really like Ashcraft, Lodolo, and Greene, but they are absolutely not in Spencer Strider’s class right now.

      Strider had a 2.67 ERA with a 1.00 WHIP while striking out 202 batters with 45 walks and 7 home runs allowed in 131.2 innings pitched. None of the Reds pitchers are in that realm of incredible right now.

    • RedBB

      Strider comp is Luis Castillo right now. That being said I think the Braves overpaid for his last 2 arb years and only got 1 or 2 extra years of control for $22M each. Sure that’s a bargain if he turns out to be Max Scherzer but there is an awful lot of years and risk there. God forbid he ends up with TJ somewhere along the line….

  12. Optimist

    What is the trade value (+ or -) for each of these players. Recall that Suarez was a – and paired with Winker, the +, to unload his contract.

    Do any of the DFA/release candidates have a + trade value?

    • BK

      Senzel might net a marginal prospect if he were DFA. Most would clear waivers unclaimed.

      • Optimist

        That’s my fear – still think AA has value to one of the big $$ teams. He’s a version of Billy H., and I’m surprised Billy wasn’t picked up – both MLB-best in very limited skill sets.

    • JayTheRed

      Just a reminder Suarez had somewhat of a bounce back season this year.

  13. west larry

    Cerda yes. Moose, Senzel and AA no.

  14. Old Big Ed

    If they keep Senzel — and I’m neutral on that — I would try him back at third base. We keep hearing that Senzel is fast, but he doesn’t play fast and he doesn’t look fast. I understand that Statcast likes his speed, but maximum foot-speed is a rough measure of effective speed in baseball.

    Baseball speed has a huge element of quickness and acceleration to it, as opposed to raw speed. What matters for a baserunner is the ability to get up to top speed quickly, and to corner bases efficiently. I don’t see where Senzel accelerates fast enough to really use his speed. It might help him score from first on a double, but he is flat-out BAD at stealing bases, and I don’t perceive him as getting good jumps on balls to centerfield.

    So, if they bring him back, I would use Senzel at 3B.

    Such a decision would impact Kyle Farmer, who to me is also a non-tender candidate. Farmer has his talents — he’s very good against LH pitching; he has that ever-popular grit; and apparently he is a great teammate. However, Farmer is weak defensively and slower than John Sadak, plus he will cost $4 million next year. He might draw some trade interest, but he won’t bring back much in return. So, I think Senzel is the better option at 3B than.

    I never expected that with his MiLB performance through 2021 that Barrero would be an offensive disaster, but he is likely to get another 250 ABs next season to right himself. If he can’t hit, then they will turn not to Farmer but to McLain and EDLC to replace him.

    • AJ from Hamilton

      I don’t see the need to non tender Farmer–he has the kind of versatility and talent to interest several other teams in a trade. I’d like to see the Reds move him for a decent, MLB-ready prospect, probably either an outfielder or a relief pitcher. The Reds don’t need to keep him at the cost, but someone else will want to.

      I also think Senzel is more likely to be traded than DFAed, though the Reds can afford to give him a few months (preferably at 3rd or 2nd) to see if his value rises.

    • indydoug

      If you have either of those players as your starting #B, you’re not a serious contender, which they aren’t. Let Spencer Steer play there all year.

  15. Kevin H

    I am a fan of senzel and in my opinion he js still young as 28 isn’t old.

    In saying that if they do keep him, then he has to produce. Some have mentioned his past shoulder injury has affected him. Others ,myself included wonder If reds tinkering with his batting stance had anything to do with his lack of hitting/power.

    I whined toward end of season, but call me crazy they could compete next year if healthy and bullpen and some of the young players do well. Del la Cruz, McLain, Siani, Friedl, India, Steer, Stephenson, Fairchild.

    Pitching is key as I bet reds lost at least 10 games cause of bullpen woes.

  16. AMDG

    Honestly, if none of those guys were on the 2023 roster, it would be hardly noticed.

    Already 34, so it’s doubtful he suddenly bounces back from his previous 3 abysmal seasons. If he can’t hit or play defense, there seems to be little reason to keep him.

    Already cleared waivers once this year. Like Moose, has sufficiently shown over the past 3 seasons that he is a liability at the plate.

    A lite hitting utility prayer who will be 32 next year. He’s a replacable NRI.

    Over the past 3 seasons has hit 0.238 in AAA and 0.229 in the majors, with a paltry OPS+ of 64. He also seems to have a low baseball IQ. I’m not sure when year the Reds need to decide to move on, but he turns 28 next season.

    Probably keepable just from an upside perspective, until he proves he can’t hit (a la Senzel & Aquino).

  17. Votto4life

    I would keep Nick Senzel. He hasn’t set the world on fire, but I would give him another season to establish himself. In 2023, he will be one of the team’s leaders. Maybe he will strive in that role.

  18. ryan

    Senzel in line for an arbitration based raise says a lot about the system

  19. Michael B. Green

    I see CIN inking Senzel but then trading him to a team that needs hitters with scouting pedigree in exchange for a pitcher that has failed to live up to the hype. Trevor Rogers for Nick Senzel.

  20. Michael B. Green

    Any rumors on the next new hitting coach?

    • MBS

      Who ever it is, he might be a day late and a dollar short on being able to help the crew mentioned in this article.

      I’m all for turning the page on the past position players. Stephenson, and India are the only 2 who should start on a good team. Fraley could work as a platoon on a good team if he keeps it up, but that’s not the same as an everyday guy. Friedl is maybe a 4th OF, but our team is so bad, that he’s actually our best option for starting at CF. Votto has to overcome a surgery, and father time to be good next year.

  21. Mark Moore

    In my “perfect world” we bid farewell to 3M as I just don’t see him getting into the kind of shape necessary to perform at the MLB level anymore. He’s just past his expiration date and we have a lot more guys who can do at least as good at a fraction of the cost.

    I think the AA experiment train has come to its final stop. The fact that he already cleared waivers once this season speaks volumes to me. Can a change of scenery and/or a new hitting coach help him change? I have no idea. But he doesn’t warrant a 40-man slot in my book.

    I’m still a Senzel fan. I think he’s been tweaked around by the organization plus he’s had the injury problems. I’m hoping he finds a groove with whoever our new hitting coach will be and ends up in LF or on the dirt more often than not. But that’s just me.

    Matt Reynolds … thanks and we hope you land on your feet somewhere. I’d keep Lopez before him on the 40-man.

    No real opinion on Cerda. It’s going to get tricky with the MiLB guys we need to protect. If we have to roll the dice on him, so be it.

    • Old Big Ed

      I suspect that AA may end up in Japan. He showed a streak in September, where he crouched a bit more, shortened his swing substantially and delivered some results. But it didn’t last.

      AA is a poor man’s Adam Dunn as a hitter. Both he and Dunn seemed to hit under the idea that long home runs were worth more than first-row home runs. Dunn was legitimately good as he was, but both would have been far better off if they had shortened their swings and struck out less.

      They may give AA one more chance, but I clearly understand the argument that he doesn’t deserve it.

      • Mark Moore

        I was thinking Japan for him some time ago. Of course, he’ll still have to deal with the breaking balls, but he’ll hit some monster shots and those fans love that.

  22. Oldtimer

    Of those five, I would only keep Senzel and MAYBE Moustakas.

  23. Rednat

    i guess I am not too bullish on young prospects now. Barrero, Steer, Friedl. these are all sentinel , harbinger players of the players coming up imo. good speed, good defense, not a lot of hitting prowess. WE have to rely on veterans for offense at this point and for the near future. we have to have good production from moose, Votto, Senzel, Farmer, Aquino, India and Stephenson if we will have any chance of winning many games next year and 2024. I hope they keep Solano and Reynolds around too. at least they make contact

  24. LDS

    Nightengale posted the arb estimates. They have Farmer at $5.9 million. Seems steep given his overall performance. If he were an average performer that started every day, then maybe. He was a 1.0 WAR player with a 90 OPS+ last season and 32 years old. Aquino, who frankly sucked most of the season, put up a 1.4 WAR in half the ABs. He’s about 3 years younger, far better defensively, and his arb salary is projected at $1.6 million, 70+% less than Farmer. Drury, Stephenson, and Aquino all had a higher WAR than Farmer despite playing far less. Fairchild in 99 PAs produced a .7 WAR for 6th place on the team (Solano came in at #5). Given this, I don’t see how Farmer is worth $5.9 million. Drury is already gone (younger and far cheaper than Farmer). Solano is a free agent. From the top 6, Stephenson and Fairchild are keepers. Aquino is borderline, though given his age, hope he clears waivers and hammers AAA pitching. Farmer, sorry I don’t see it.

    • Old Big Ed

      If Farmer were a free agent, I don’t think he would get close to $5.9 million, and that is why I also think he is a definite non-tender candidate.

      There is nothing to prevent the Reds (I don’t think) from non-tendering Farmer and then resigning him after he sees any offers. He would work as a platoon partner with Fraley in left field, but not at $5 million or close to it.

      I know people like Farmer, but he is impossibly slow, and he just is not a good defender, either with his range or with his arm. If there is one thing the Reds need, it is more athleticism.

      • LDS

        I’d rather they got rid of Fraley as well

      • BK

        Fraley was our second best hitter this year (behind only Stephenson) and will make the big league minimum. Yes he’s a platoon player, but on the strong side of the platoon (75 to 80 percent of all MLB plate appearances are against RHP). He’ll likely do even better next year with the end of the shift.

      • Melvin

        No matter how much they like/dislike Farmer the thing that keeps him off the roster next year will be his salary. Even if he becomes a backup catcher again they’re not going to spend that kind of money for that. We learned this from the Barnhart trade.

  25. west larry

    mlb rumors has projected Farmers arb as 5,9 million, As cheap as the reds are, will they pay that much for him?

    • LDS

      I hope not. They can replace a 1.0 WAR player more cheaply.

      • MBS

        I wouldn’t bring back Kyle Farmer if they are going to spend that money on another player, but if it’s just going into Bob’s pocket, I’d want to keep him.

      • LDS

        @MBS, on that we agree. I’m acting as if the Reds had a serious FO and owner. They don’t. If they did, they could use the $5.9 million more prudently.

      • Votto4life

        MBS, I agree with you. The prudent thing to do would be to let him go, but if it’s only to save Uncle Bob money, then by all means bring him back.

        I get the sense the Reds will bring Kyle Farmer back, only because they always tend to make
        bad decisions

    • MBS

      They have Buck Farmer’s at 1.4M. I thought he was a FA, but It seems as if we get another year with him! Diaz, SanMartin, B. Farmer and Cruz were bright spots in our 22 bullpen.

  26. Magnum 44

    It would send a message to the fan base if they would DFA Moustakas…..It won’t happen because this organization pays minimum wage in the PR department.

  27. DaveCT

    DFA Acquino, Moose, Reynolds.

    Replace Cerda on 40-man and keep Siani in his place.

    Non-render Farmer. And replace with EDLC (if required) or other high value asset.

  28. MBS

    It’s kinda on topic, but what do you guys think Drury will sign for?

    His numbers are not as good in San Diego. We might not spend 110M + like I feel they will, but I think Drury 3Y-18M gets it done.

    • west larry

      too much for this ownership group, if they need infielders, the front office will look for free agents @ 1 to 2 million.

    • BK

      Three years seems a little long for a guy who faded in the last third of his only good season in the last five years. That said, I don’t see Drury as a fit for the Reds … lots of right-handed infielders on the team (India, Steer, Barrero, and Senzel), or in the near-term pipeline (McLain, Encarnacion-Strand, and Marte).

      • MBS

        I really tried to see your points, but I just can’t.

        India – will play regardless
        Steer – most directly effected
        Barrero – he’s a SS, not effected
        Senzel – Legit DFA candidate

        The prospect you mentioned, if they can’t beat out some of the other players that are currently on the roster (100 loss team), then they don’t belong in the MLB, Drury is only 1 guy, he can’t start everywhere.

    • MadMike

      I did a quick skim and might have missed someone but there doesn’t seem to be much demand for 3B’s. Maybe Arizona, Milwaukee, Detroit? Maybe a better fit as a super-sub like he is in San Diego right now. Seems like he is destined for a short 1-2 year contract as BK suggests. $5-8M AAV, maybe? Just a WAG

  29. Grover

    Realistically they wouldn’t miss any of these. I can’t see them just dropping Moose and paying that money so they’ll pray for health and run him out there again. I think they could easily dfa both Cerda and Aquino and end up resigning them on minor league deals. If not then not a big loss. Senzel is toughest for me. Looking at his hitting profile the thing that stands out is that on the season he barreled the ball at a rate less than half the rate he did his rookie year and, probably related, his hard hit percentage was also much lower. The results weren’t there in a small sample size after the swing change but I’d see if the increase in hard contact works and keep him around 1 more year. He’s still cheap for a starting CF and there’s no immediate prospect pressing there.

  30. Old-school

    Farmer is a test case. Reds dont spend $6 million on arb eligible guys who arent part of the future. If they were, they would have already signed them. Then again, Nick Krall has created budget friendly certainly in 2024 with a big zero. Thats why Krall signed Mike Minor. He slashed payroll then had money to play with knowing no matter what, Minor was off the books now.

    Farmer could be money to play with for a 1 year deal with the expectation Votto, Moose, and Farmer are off the payroll in 2024. I could see a scenario where barrero goes to AAA, EDLC starts at AA and Farmer starts at SS as the vet. India and Steer and Senzel and smh…..Moose compete for reps at 2b/3b in ST. India ultimately wins a hitting job with position TBD.

    Krall can say no one has a job because he knows he s paying Farmer,Moose. And Votto one last time and if the young guys dont get it done…your opening day infield is Moose 3b, Farmer SS, India 2b, Votto 1b. Steer and Senzel are rotating in as Votto and Moose go to DH or bench against lefties and Krall lets injuries and performance dictate who gets what after the AS break, knowing the 3 vets have everything to start the year…..and nothing at the end of the year.

    • Votto4life

      I can see the Reds brining Kyle Farmer back next year mostly because well, they are the Reds and they tend to make bad decisions. But realistically, what would Kyle Farmer bring to the team?

      I think there is a very good chance that this team hits rock bottom next year. I think this team could lose 105+ games in 2023. First of all, they won’t have Luis Castillo, Tyler Mahle, Brandon Drury and Donovan Solano on the roster in 2023 and as another poster commented, the other day, with a balance schedule the Reds won’t play the Pirates 19 times next season.

      So, with that being said, the Reds should replace Kyle Farmer with a player earning league minimum.

    • votto4life

      Yeah, even comparing and contrasting this group is really a waste of time. None of them would have a roster spot on a half-way decent team.

      I would probably keep Nick Senzel and hope
      he is a late bloomer. But, If the Reds end up cutting Nick Senzel that’s OK too.

      • TR

        Agreed. Evaluating the current roster is like going around in circles. I’m resigned to sorting in 2023 and more of the same from management with the possibility of a surprise or two emerging next season. Give Senzel another year. Imo he belongs in the infield. He’s not crossed the age 30 bridge yet.

  31. Kevin Patrick

    I think its great this forum is here for this kind of speculation. I’m just going to be a big party pooper and suggest all the roster decisions will be based upon health and money. The Reds will always find a way to get a bit of my money, but I have to wonder how much pressure there will be to improve the team when season tickets go on sale. I think the biggest risk is losing Barrero ala Didi Gregorius. He hasn’t really shown a reason to stay…and I expect the Reds to sell low. I think it likely that Kyle Farmer finds greener pastures where he can help. I just wish I knew the answer of what made the most financial sense regarding Moustakas. If Moose came to spring training not looking really sharp, I might be inclined to release him then. But if he came back looking like a machine, it would certainly be worth the money to keep him around to flip or play. But most of these decisions will be made looking at what the doctors say. The kind of players you would want to keep would dramatically change if say Antone and Sims et al are still half a season away. Out of the infielders and outfielders from above though…the only one I would keep would be Aristides Aquino. I know he can field really really well…and there are moments when he seems so close to putting it together. But if an amazing free agent deal fell into my lap, I would have little loyalty.

    • Votto4life

      Nick Krall said something to the effect that the Reds will be younger at the end of next season. I read that to say, Mike Moustakas will start the season with the Reds, but they will release him at some point during the season. The same could said of Votto, I suppose, but I do believe Votto will be on the team for a full season in 2023 (baring injury)

  32. Michael B. Green

    One player that is a possible fit is Dixon Machado. Played great D at SS at AAA last year and hit a bit too. If you ink him to a minor league deal with an invite to ST, I think he signs as if Barrero struggles, there is an opportunity to earn some MLB money. Since Alejo Lopez still has an option he could start at AAA and Machado could either make the MLB team or come up by a certain date.

    Most importantly, he will not block McCain, De la Cruz, or Marte as they work to try to make their MLB debuts during the 2023 season.

    Machado would basically serve as the 2023 version of Matt Reynolds.

    CIN has a tough decision to make this winter on Moustakas. CIN has very little LH power but who are we fooling? This team will not compete in 2023. If he comes back, I truly hope his body holds up so that he can become productive again. He needs to lose at least 10 pounds and see if that helps his leg and feet injuries.

    • Melvin

      I understand your points but considering the roster crunch coming up there is very small risk letting Moustakas go in my view. I don’t have much respect for someone who signs a large contract and doesn’t keep his body in shape but seemingly instead the opposite. Votto is the model to go by in that regard.

  33. Redsvol

    I think Farmer is roughly a 2.5$m player. If he makes 3.5$m because he is a leader I could see that. But if he doesn’t agree to what he is worth I’d say non-tender him and sign Matt Reynolds’s for less $ and get roughly the same production and better defense from him.

    Ship has sailed on aquino.
    Cerda is a low level Prospect that shouldn’t need protecting in the 40 man roster.

    Moose – keep him and see how he looks in spring. If it appears he hasn’t attempted to turn things around then Adios.

    Senzel – I really see no reason to keep him. Injuries have ravaged him and I think it’s taken his love for the game away. His arm is no longer strong so infield defense probably won’t be average. Any at bats he takes likely stunt the development of Steer, McLain, Fairchild, siani and encarnaciin-strand. Maybe keep him until trade deadline?

  34. Redsvol

    On a side note, Rays, athletics and national have some interesting arbitration-eligible players they will likely want rid of due to $.

    Perhaps Robles, Diaz and Laureano could be had for little. Diaz would be interesting in great American ballpark. We need some power badly.

  35. Reddawg2012

    I’m way down on Senzel, but unless the Reds are going to sign a decent free agent OF (they won’t), or they have an OF in AAA who is about to break though in the big leagues (they don’t), it seems like they might as well give Senzel one more season.

  36. William

    Senzel definitely gets another season. I think he might finally have a good season with that new swing. If so, he will probably be traded next off season for a good prospect. I doubt he will be part of the next competitive Reds team, but it is not impossible.