The Cincinnati Reds went from pushing their moped down the road to flooring it in their slightly used 2019 Volkswagon Jetta on Thursday. An hour or so after the team announced that they had signed outfielder Wil Myers to a 1-year deal with an option for 2024, they made another set of moves. This time they announced the signing of catcher Curt Casali for 2023 and an option for the 2024 season. His deal is for $3.25M, which includes a base salary of $2.5M and a $750,000 buyout if his option for 2024 isn’t agreed upon according to Mark Sheldon of Reds.com. To create room on the 40-man roster for him the team designated Mike Moustakas for assignment.

Let’s start with designating Mike Moustakas for assignment. It means that the end of Moustakas as a Red is upon us. After signing with the Reds prior to the 2020 season on a 4-year deal, Moustakas struggled to stay healthy and on the field. And perhaps related to that, he struggled to produce when he was on the field.

Moustakas hit .264/.325/.491 – good for a 114 OPS+ in the five seasons prior to joining the Reds. In his three seasons with Cincinnati he hit .216/.300/.383 – good for an OPS+ of just 80. That’s Billy Hamilton territory. With the move, the Reds will owe him $22M unless some team decides to claim him on waivers (the odds of this happening are about the same as you defeating Tyson Fury tonight and becoming the heavyweight champion of the world).

Now let’s talk about the signing of Curt Casali. He played with the Reds from 2018-2020 before signing with the Giants in 2021. Last season he played with both the Giants and the Mariners. After hitting .260/.345/.440 with Cincinnati in his three seasons he’s managed to hit just .207/.315/.342 since leaving. That’s an 83 OPS+, or basically the tiniest bit better than what Mike Moustakas hit while in Cincinnati.

Of course there’s a big difference between Mike Moustakas hitting that as a subpar defender/designated hitter, and a quality defensive catcher hitting that. Still, you would like to see a little more offense than that – even if it is coming from a catcher.

But what the Casali signing does is perhaps give a boost to Cincinnati’s offense in an indirect way. The Reds have Tyler Stephenson, Luke Maile, and Casali now on the 40-man roster and it seems like all three will be on the active roster if healthy. That would allow manager David Bell all kinds of flexibility in playing Stephenson at both first base or designated hitter on days where he’s not catching. Teams try to avoid that in most cases when they only have two catchers on the active roster just in case an injury occurs behind the plate. Getting more of Stephenson’s bat in the lineup almost assuredly will help out an offense that struggled in so many ways during 2022.

With Casali’s contract added to the books, the Reds payroll now sits at roughly $83M. And that also seems to be where it’s likely to stay, or at least it appears that way according to what general manager Nick Krall said to C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic.

142 Responses

  1. ryan

    22 million to go away, the money wasting is obscene

    • wkuchad

      When Moose was signed, most here liked the signing, but hated the fourth year added to his contract.

      The whole contract ended up being a big bust, but man that fourth year added looks oh so bad now.

      • earmbrister

        Bad contracts happen to even the best of teams. The important thing is to take your medicine and cut your losses.

        3M wasn’t going to help the next good Reds team so he needed to go.

      • JayTheRed

        I hated they signed Moose. I was scared when he became a free agent that the Reds would go for him. Something told me in my head, no don’t sign Moose. Sure, enough they did and not they are paying for it.

  2. DaveCT

    I love watching Casals catch. He’s really still behind the plate, and I think as another larger guy, he can mentor Tyler for the next few years. Thankfully the Moose rut is over.

    • MK

      Not sure Tyler needs much mentoring as he has been in and around the big leagues for over 2 years.

      • 2020ball

        Youre right, but it cant hurt either. Casali is an excellent defender for his size.

  3. TJ

    Never, never, never thought this would happen. In my mind I thought they would let him gain some possible value by the all-star break, if not, release him then. The Red’s front office knows more than any of us. So they are either thinking that some our youngsters are able to make the leap to the big leagues or they will find cheap veteran fill ins until 2024. I would like to see one veteran starter if not two signed.

  4. J

    By adding Casali/Myers and dropping Moose, the Reds have added about $10 million and almost 50 pounds.

  5. Michael B. Green

    Guessing this means that Stephenson could see some DH or 1B time in 2023.

  6. SultanofSwaff

    Mr. Steer, your table is ready.

    • Kevin Patrick

      He will definitely be in the mix at third. I don’t care what the Reds say, I’ll be surprised if you don’t see Senzel take several reps at third early in spring training. The likelihood of him staying there will depend upon how well other outfielders play. If Steer outhits Senzel, Newman, Barrero, Reynolds and Lopez, I like the future Reds quite a bit. I think it possible though were Senzel outhits Steer and Solak outhits Senzel. Who would you rather have in center? Senzel or Solak? What if Fairchild or Barrero tear up spring training and look serviceable in center?

    • MuddyCleats

      Really don’t understand the anointing of Steer; I’d prefer he earn it like anyone else.

      • Old-school

        Steer had a great minor league season in 2022 and worked his way onto MLB’s top 100 prospect list and Krall liked him as a focal piece for Mahle.

        2022 stats Milb:
        106 G- with 71 at (2) AAA stops
        427 Ab
        .274/.364/.515/.879

        He had 55 xtra base hits with 30 doubles, 2 triples and 23 home runs.

        Hes got positional versatility as a 3b and 2b and the reds are committed to India at 2b this year again. Dont know anyone has “anointed” him but the Reds have said hes going to get a long look at 3b and why not in 2023?

  7. Kevin Patrick

    The Reds must really want to find a way to get Stephenson in the lineup every day. The right handed side of the lineup just got significantly better. Even if all this is just a smokescreen to distract from not having enough talent, consider me disoriented. Dare I have hope?

  8. wkuchad

    Very happy with both of today’s additions and the deletion. Though I really hope the Reds aren’t done. It would be a mistake not to sign a reliable veteran starting pitcher for this season.

    • 2020ball

      At least a reliable starting pitcher…

      • JayTheRed

        Oh, innings eaters where are you … Oh we probably will sign one just before spring training. Time to trade a prospect for Cash and a lottery pick.

  9. Optimist

    The “have to get creative” statement is, of course, troubling and wholly expected. I still foresee some spring pickups from other teams DFAs/waivers, and I suppose it doesn’t preclude a series of MiLB invites/1m signings.

    It does seem to preclude any more $5m+ signings – so no Cueto, nor other MLB starters. So the staff is the 3 rookies and 8-10 of the others scattered amongst the recovering returnees, and MiLB prospects.

    • wkuchad

      Krall plays his cards so close to the vest, that statement ‘could’ be meaningless. At least that’s my hope.

      • JayTheRed

        Maybe a 3-way trade where Cincinnati gets Cash

  10. Rut

    Well kids, there you go — Christmas came early this year!

    • wkuchad

      Last time that happened was the Eric Milton signing. I’m going to shut up now. 🙂

      • JB

        Milton and Moustakas. Must be the letter M.

      • PTBNL

        Miley was pretty good for us, but we got rid of him for………..Minor

      • earmbrister

        PTBNL, if only we had kept Miley. His 38 IP would’ve made all the difference …

      • earmbrister

        The Reds had a front row seat for Miley’s September of 2021. 18IP, with 17 ER. I don’t know what that ERA would be (my calculator displays “TILT” on the calculation), but it ain’t good.

        The coaches and FO certainly see and know more than we do as fans. They don’t always get it right, but they get it right more than we do.

        Now, there are only a few people who know whether the left shoulder and left elbow injuries of 2022 were rearing their ugly head late in 2021. However, it would stand to reason that the Reds tried to trade him before releasing him. FWIW, he’s a currently a free agent. Chances are someone will give him a shot if he’s moderately healthy, but it shouldn’t be the Reds.

  11. Harry Stoner

    The decision to DFA Moose 2+ months after the season raises some questions.

    We’ve seen little videos of JV working out, swinging a bat.

    You think there would be some shots of Moose at the salad bar, doing roadwork, whatever, if he intended to head this off by demonstrating his resolve to return in shape, ready to play.

    Maybe he has but I haven’t seen anything.

    Will be interesting to see how he responds. If he responds. Earning $22M for sitting around isn’t a bad gig in and of itself.

    Someone will likely toss him a line for ST.

    No regrets here. Only disappointment that it didn’t work out better.

    Good to be gone.

    That’s a lot of do-re-mi to swallow for the Reds so a begrudging hats off to the Bull for having the huevos to do so.

    It’s going to feel like some clear air around Arizona with Votto back, Myers on board, Casali around again.

    Greene and Lodolo and Ashcraft pitching to CC. Looking forward to seeing how that works out.

    • Jim Walker

      Getting Casali back is correcting the incorrect choice they made after the 2020 season to let him go. He was always the guy to mentor Stephenson and bring along the young starters.

      • MK

        So Jim you think it was better to keep Casali and not have either Tucker or Tyler do the catching that season

      • 2020ball

        Tucker was a fine mentor IMO, and very likely the better overall catcher of the two.

      • Jim Walker

        @MK and 2020>> As I said in a comment below, during the 2020 season, Casali had pulled abreast of Barnhart, at the least, for the #1 catcher’s spot. So Yes, I think the Reds should have bitten the bullet a year earlier on Barnhart’s contract in the off season between 2020-21 and kept Casali instead, especially since Stephenson was in the wings awaiting his shot.

        The Reds were never going to pay Barnhart the $7.5m due him for 2022. Given that, they should have done what they needed to do to get TB’s contract off the books and retained Casali after the 2020 season.

        It would likely have cost them some prospect capital against TB’s 2021 salary and the $550K buyout against his option for 2022. Instead, they kicked the can down the road a year on Barnhart’s contract and ended up in the mess they were in last year for a competent backup for Stephenson when the money saved on Barnhart for 2021-22 could have gone most the way to locking in Casali for 2-3 years.

        We can disagree but I think Casali proved in his work with Gray, Bauer and Castillo in 2020 that he was more attuned to working with high ceiling pitchers than Barnhart as those 3 pitchers seemed to do their best work with CC.

      • MK

        I forgot the Gold Glove Casali got the year he moved ahead of Tucker.

      • Jim Walker

        @MK> In the COVID abbreviated 2020m season, Barnhart made 36 defensive appearances at catcher. Casali made 29. Total innings were 272 for Barnhart, 212 for Casali.

        In the month of September when the Reds got their act together to get into the postseason, they split time almost evenly. Barnhart made 12 starts, Casli 11 with Barnhart registering 4 more plate appearances than Casali in September.

        For the season Barnhart had 110 plate appearances to Casali’s 93. Barnhart’s OPS+ was 75. Casali’s was 123.

        The Gold Glove is based on defense. There is nothing in the criteria which relates to handling pitchers, an area where Casali excels.

    • 2020ball

      “The decision to DFA Moose 2+ months after the season raises some questions.”

      Not really, what reason was there to DFA him before needing the 40-man spot? I’m actually surprised they didnt give him the chance to prove some people wrong, its a sunk cost after all. I’m fine with the move of course, but really don’t understand why everyone thinks they should have done it sooner. Only reason to do that is to put a smile on a few crying fans faces, there was no benefit to the organization itself.

      • Harry Stoner

        Well….if you actually read the questions that I raised they had nothing to do with trading Moustakas…but to do with why Moustakis didn’t appear to do anything to make the Reds think otherwise.

        The 2-1/2 months I mentioned had to do with how long Moose had the opportunity to demonstrate he wan’t to stick around.

        My post had nothing to do with supposing the Reds should have done it sooner.

        Reading for comprehension is what they call it.

      • Optimist

        I wonder if the timing reflects they couldn’t get a bad contract swap done with the Mets for McCann, who was just traded late yesterday. I prefer Casali, but there are only so many bad contract swaps available it’s best to see if one pops up.

      • 2020ball

        Saying Moose did nothing to try and stay with the org is speculation at best for me. He’s always been a heavy body type, which probably shoulda been a red flag to his health at the end of this contract. But I dont think he was out of shape necessarily, fans always make a lot of that sort of noise about larger players but I think its overblown speculation or grasping for things to gripe about a guy.

      • 2020ball

        As for comprehension: fair enough maybe I misread, but my points stand either way.

  12. JB

    It would be a success If the only move the Reds made all season was DFAing Moose. Milton and Moose. Two of the worst signings. I’m so happy he is gone. Our win total for next year probably just went up because Moose was let go. I’ll get the baseball package now that he is gone.

    • PTBNL

      Minor wasn’t a signing. He was a trade for Amir Garrett with the Royals That shows you just how much they thought of Garrett.

  13. citizen54

    Shogo $21MM, -.3 fWAR
    Castellanos $30MM. 3.8 fWAR
    Moustakas $60MM, -.5 fWAR
    Miley $14MM, 3.1 fWAR

    Only decent signing was Miley. If Castellanos didn’t opt out he would be around $50MM, 3 fWAR. Not sure I’d want these signings on my resume.

    • 2020ball

      Reds I think only paid Castellanos around 20MM, and I think Miley actually made like 16MM with his buyout included in his 15MM guarantee. My numbers could be off. Why you think Castellanos wasnt a good signing baffles me, NL silver slugger his second year and they didnt have to commit to his decline years.

      • citizen54

        Castellanos was a bad signing. He was bad in 2020 and 2022. Giving Castellanos a player option was dumb becuase if he was any good he would only be on the Reds for 2 years and if he sucked he would have joined Moustakas in being unmovable $16MM deadweight for until the end of 2023. The Reds were fortunate he had a career year in 2021 or he wouldn’t have opted out. Now he is the Phillies problem.

      • Greenfield Red

        Citizen… Had they not agreed to the optouts, NC would not have signed here unless the Reds offered him way more than anyone else did. I don’t see how that can be seen any other way. Cincinnati is currently not a team many players want to be on if there are other choices… any other choices.

    • 2020ball

      3.8 fwar sounds great to me for 20MM, I think that was an excellent move for those two years. Plus they secured a pick from his QO. I think that contract was quite shrewd, remember who your favorite team is, those kind of players are not easy to attract and they found a way to do it. Was he worth something long-term? Clearly that seems risky now, so how the Reds approached it seems like a clear win to me.

    • Tom Reeves

      These are the reasons the Reds are smart to stay away from high priced free agents. They’re almost never worth it and tie up financial resources for years.

      Of course we can complain that ownership won’t spend money but they did spent money and it turned into a huge waste.

  14. Mark Moore

    Still slightly in shock with this announcement. I hope 4M can find himself and play up to a decent level, but if he doesn’t, his wallet shouldn’t wear thin.

    • Jim Walker

      Well at least as long as he doesn’t sit on his wallet for extended periods,

      • earmbrister

        Yeah, wearing my wallet in my back pocket ruined my back. Too many credit card receipts, not too much cash.

  15. DataDumpster

    The moves made today were very well done given where the team is. Flexibility in the catcher/DH positions to mentor along any of a dozen Red’s pitchers who have a reasonable chance to find a spot on the 26 man and the minimum requirement for an OF fulfilled. This is your team; Krall has done well, the owners have decent options in 2024 no matter what happens, and David Bell has got a lot to prove. Team should be very competitive internally (which is good) but not so sure externally.

  16. LDS

    We should have all been suspicious when he commented on the fact that he finally had the “security” he was looking for. Little did we know that meant he could become a slob and put nothing into his game.

  17. Michael B. Green

    Other than a flurry of minor league signings with invites to S/T, I think the offensive side of the 40MR is set. Don’t think we’ll see Senzel get dealt for a high risk/high reward pitcher given Senzel’s surgery.

    Second division offense but plenty of opportunities for our young players to break out. Votto, Myers and Casali become the locker room vets.

    Come 2024, there is nobody blocking in young prospect. This is the window where players getting opportunities and either sink or swim.

  18. DW

    Celebration time!!! I hope the best for Moose, but so glad to see this painful saga come to an end.

  19. Alex Reds

    Wouldn’t the rule 5 pick the Reds traded away be better offensively at C than Casali and save $2.5M?
    Blake Sabol in AAA in 2022: .296/.426/.543/.969.

    • 2020ball

      and play a much easier defensive position? Not sure what point youre trying to make.

    • 2020ball

      Any idea who you’d cut for Sabol? or had you thought that far?

    • Jim Walker

      Casali was brought back to complete the job of mentoring Stephenson and also help the young starting pitchers strengthen their footing in MLB.

      In 2020 he had at the least pulled abreast of Barnhart for the #1 catcher’s spot and seemed to be the preferred catcher of the likes of Gray, Bauer, and Castillo.

      In that 2020 season, Casali had an OPS line of .366/.500/.866, good for an OPS+ of 123. The Reds hope he can play to that level back in GABP as his home park but would probably be satisfied if he matches his career OPS+ of 91.

      • Harry Stoner

        I’m on board with considering the “Casali Affair” one of the bigger recent strategic misplays by the organization.

        I think the deal suggests that both sides feel the same way now.

        I, too, am excited to see the Young Turks work with Casali.

        But what would be a better story of CC and Overton locking in and giving the Reds 20 quality starts?

      • Jim Walker

        #Harry>> Going back to that off season between 2020-21 and looking at what transpired at the nontender deadline, here’s my take.

        Recall that Casali and Farmer, who at that time was seen as only a 3rd catcher, 1B, 3b off the bench guy, were both nontenedered. Very quickly after the deadline, Casali signed an MLB contract with the Giants. Farmer immediately signed a MiLB contract with the Reds.

        I suspect the Reds had been trying to get Casali to sign an MiLB contract to keep him on ice with the Reds. Farmer’s MiLB deal was supposedly for $175K. They were probably offering Casali substantially more for MiLB with an escalator that would have put him at $1m or slightly more at MLB and likely a walk away option if he wasn’t on the MLB team by 6 weeks to 2 months into the season.

        This would have given the Reds through spring training to try and do something with Barnhart’s contract.

    • MK

      The juggernaut Pirates a team who lost their starting catcher Roberto Perez to Free Agency and had just one minor league catcher on their 40-man did not think enough of Sabol to protect him. That doesn’t fill me with confidence as a big help. The fact that the Pirates and Giants looked at him as an outfielder who could catch isn’t that great either.

  20. docproc

    Good riddance, Moose.
    Thanks for biting the bullet, Reds.

  21. 2020ball

    Great signing. I had no problem with seeing how Moose was in camp before designating him, but no complaints for this route; he was very clearly on the fence to be DFA’d before opening day. More importantly they bring in an excellent back-up, Casali is deserving of a starting role on a lot of teams. Excellent pairing for TS, now if only they’d make a mid-tier signing and try and actually win this year.

  22. Roger Garrett

    Whats not to like?Never thought for a minute they would pay Moose to go away and never thought they would sign anybody else.Casali and Myers are good additions for sure.Sure hope they extend some guys this year which would even further gives us some hope as we head to 2024.

  23. William

    Very happy with the moves today. Moose is a nice guy, but he had to go. Casali is my favorite move of the three. He will be good with the young pitchers. Good day for the Reds!

  24. redfanorbust

    Horray! Been clamoring for Moose to be DFA’d since beginning of last year. That money has been dead money for a long time now and Reds management knew it. I don’t begrudge the front office for signing him. They were trying to go for it that year and Moustakas was sought after by many teams. I remember the Reds having to overpay to get him but most fans were glad he was signed. Just bad luck for Reds he was always hurt and produced very little. Now as mentioned in the article younger guys with better production get their rightful chance. Also happy with getting Myers. Decent get and could have a nice year in the friendly confines of GABP. ESPECIALLY very happy to see they got Casali! Getting a third catcher opens up Stephenson getting more time at 1B and DH. The more time our best hitter stays away from catching duties the better I feel. IMHO it’s a win, win, win for the Reds.

  25. Redsvol

    Love the move to bring Casali back and – as JW stated above – right the wrong of letting him go. He is absolutely a better defensive catcher than Tucker. At one point Tucker was the better overall package due to his offense but his offense has disappeared.

    Not so sure about the Will Myers deal. Did we need him? Would rather see the young guys get those at bats but maybe CES, McGarry and TJ Hopkins aren’t ready.

    Glad to see Moose go but shocked they didn’t try to keep him thru spring and attempt to recoup something. Says Krall didn’t care to see his face anymore.

    • Harry Stoner

      You might be right on that.

      Some Krall v Moose antagonism?

      Clearly the “he’s on the roster…” comment wasn’t a slip of the tongue.

      They didn’t have to DFA Moose to take on Myers.

      Sure, new managers want to shed the contracts of their predecessors. I’ve seen it often enough in my line of work.

      Shedding the Moose and his salary now while holding on to Kuhnel and Gibaut speaks volumes about Krall’s lack of faith in Moustakis turning it around.

      • David

        My sense of reading between the lines, is that Moustakas had a negative impact in the dugout and the clubhouse. I think he had a lousy work ethic. He was out of shape and didn’t appear to be doing much to improve his conditioning. After 2021, I expected him to show up in Spring Training (2022), being fit and shedding some pounds. Neither happened.

        I think Kuhnel is still young (27 years old) and they think he still could get better. Sometimes it takes a season or so in the Majors to really refine your stuff and location, and get an idea of what works and what doesn’t. Maybe.
        These +30 year old relievers are NOT going to find better location and stuff.

      • Old Big Ed

        I think that Myers became the 40th guy on the 40-man, so to sign Casali they had to make a corresponding cut.

  26. Bdh

    Maybe the Mets will eat the majority of the Carrasco contract they’re trying to move like they did with McCann. That would be a way for the reds to add a vet pitcher to the staff.

    • Redsvol

      Absolutely, ditto! I’d ask them to throw in Brett Baty too and we will send them Matt McClain and take on 1/2 his salary.

  27. Melvin

    “With the move, the Reds will owe him $22M unless some team decides to claim him on waivers (the odds of this happening are about the same as you defeating Tyson Fury tonight and becoming the heavyweight champion of the world)”.

    I’s say that’s about right. I’m not fighting tonight. 😉

    • Old Big Ed

      Once nobody claims him, he can sign with whatever team will have him, and that team pays him $700k (or whatever the minimum is) of the $22 million. So, the Reds at least get a participation trophy out of Moose.

  28. MBS

    Trevor Bauer just got reinstated to play ball again. MLBTR said LAD are not likely to keep him around. Is it crazy to think the Reds trade for Bauer, LA covers his salary for his last remaining year, and we give them a couple of lottery ticket guys?

    • David

      That would be interesting. Trevor Bauer as the “fifth” starter?

      Not likely, but it COULD happen.

    • Colorado Red

      Based on the current situations Bauer is poison.
      Based on what Bob did with Chapman, I do not expect that to happen.
      He may be in pinstripes, but not with the Reds

    • Old Big Ed

      The Dodgers will either DFA him or outright release him, and I don’t see why Bauer would be in any different position than Moustakas — he could sign wherever he wants, and the signing team pays him the minimum of about $700k. I could certainly be wrong, but I think that is how it goes.

      • MBS

        @OBE, There is a difference between Bauer and Moustakas situation, demand. Other clubs could very well be interested in Bauer at 700K, why wouldn’t they. A trade eliminates the completion on the open market for a league minimum player that could slot into the front half of any rotation.

        If Krall is looking for way to add to this team that’s “Creative” as he said, this is that way.

      • Old Big Ed

        Correct, but given the context, there aren’t going to be a lot of teams even interested in Bauer, especially if the team has to trade a prospect for him.

        It’s going to need to be a team with the outlook of the old Al Davis Oakland Raiders, because they didn’t at all mind having rogues on the team. Bobby Petrino would have taken Bauer, if it were college football.

        Matt Bush found his way back, so maybe somebody will take Bauer on.

    • Doug Gray

      I will set this website on fire if the Reds bring that guy back.

      I will be beyond shocked if he ever throws a pitch in the big leagues again.

      • MBS

        lol, Doug figuring out how to set a website on fire.

      • David

        Well, I do think Bauer will pitch for someone in the majors…again. I very seriously doubt it will ever be with the Reds.
        To many risks and downsides to this. The Reds’ have a ton of young talent to develop, and Bauer would be subtraction by addition.
        Johnny Cueto, alternatively, would be a great guy to have around as a fifth starter, but I doubt he would come back to the Reds, as they presently are. I think he wants to end his career with a team that might have a chance of winning…getting into the playoffs, at least. Johnny has ..maybe…two seasons left in his arm.

      • Melvin

        “I will set this website on fire if the Reds bring that guy back”.

        I might want to see that just out of curiosity. 🙂

      • Old-school

        Reds had the worst PR year the franchise has have ever had in 2022, from PC’s comments, to the awful start, to the trading of popular players, to Pham’s behavior and finally 100 losses.

        Krall is slowly started to rebuild the next iteration of this team and maybe has a little positive traction. There is no way this ownership group risks the PR debacle or clubhouse distractions that would be Trevor Bauer. If they do, I will take up fishing….and I hate fishing.

      • MBS

        @Old, I’m not going to deny there could be PR issues with bringing back Bauer. The other option is to spend money to improve the team, and that’s even less likely. Frankly the willingness to be mediocre, or worse is infuriating. A sub 100M payroll is even worse than Phil C’s comments last year.

        Bob and Co have brainwashed the fan base into accepting their place in the pecking order of things. We’re a small market so we can’t… etc…

        Meanwhile other similar sized or smaller markets have found ways to spend, San Diego, St Louis, and Milwaukee. We are following the Pittsburgh model, claim poor, sell off everything of value. If Doug would allow bad language there would be a lot in this rant. Instead I’ll just say, Sell the team Scrooge Castellini.

      • TR

        But Bauer is listed as the Red’s only Cy Young award winner.

      • Redsvol

        I totally agree with your first statement Doug. But I absolutely believe Bauer will pitch again in the MLB soon.

        As we’ve seen this off-season, there are 5 owners who care nothing about maintaining a partner relationship with their fellow baseball ownership; I predict 1 of these owners brings him onboard sometime in 2023;
        – Steve Cohen (Mets)
        – John Middleton (Phillies)
        – Ray Davis (Rangers)
        – Jim Crane (Astros)
        Arte Moreno (angels)

      • Redsvol

        Forgot, 1 more;
        – Peter Seidler (Padres)

      • Michael

        I think he definitely plays again. Players with much larger warts have played again. Greg Hardy and Micheal Vick are prime examples in the NFL.

      • Optimist

        Trevor Bauer is 3 years older than Addison Russell. Remember him?

      • west larry

        Don’t burn the website down, just sprinkle some water and fertilizer on it, and grow it bigger. if Bauer takes some phycological tests to show he’s stable, and offers a sincere effort to not get involved with the behavior that got him suspended, someone will take a chance on him, and I hope that it’s the reds.

    • Joekr

      Love that idea. Trade Moose for Bauer helps both teams. Both player scheduled to make around $22M.
      Dodgers are close to the CBT, addin Bauer’s contract puts them within around $100,000 of it, but if they trade that contract for Moose’s they save around $11M since Moose’s carries an average value of only 11M, (due to part being a buyout on ’24 option).

      Reds won’t be on the hook for the entire $22M owed to Bauer because they can trade him at the deadline and only owe him what he makes between game #51 and the trade. Thay also end up with a prospect in that deal.

      To all the people thinking it would be a PR nightmare…they don’t care about PR, or winning for that matter. In “sonny boy” Phil’s own words “where you going to go?”

      • Doug Gray

        Of course they care about PR. It’s the only reason they traded Aroldis Chapman for next to nothing.

    • Eddiek957

      Wait for him to be released only owe him the mlb minimum. I must admit I have been spending a lot of my time thinking of the possibility. Don’t know how the people of the tri state area would look upon Bauer returning. Myself players are human prone to mistakes. He paid two years of his prime. Forgive don’t forget

  29. Hotto4Votto

    Love it. Both moves. Signing Casali and bring him back, and parting ways with Moose. It was time, he didn’t really have a place on this roster. Casali will be a leader in the clubhouse, help out with the young pitching staff, and hopefully keep Stephenson fresher and healthier.

    • David

      I think Stephenson catches maybe 80-90 games. Plays 1st some days, and plays DH other days. Gets around 500 AB’s, depending on how Wil Myers and Joey Votto do for 2023 (1st and DH, Myers might play some outfield, according to Bell). Casali catches maybe 40-50 games, Maile catches the rest.

      Casali is older now, and not sure how good a hitter he still is.

      • TR

        I’m glad Casali is back. He’s a good clubhouse guy and a possible future Red’s manager.

  30. LDS

    I wonder if adding a third catcher, freeing Stephenson to 1B/DH and signing Myers, is because Votto’s recovery isn’t going as well as they’d like? I’d still not be surprised to see Senzel change teams or moved back to 3rd. Giving Steer a full time shot at 3rd makes sense to some of us here, but it doesn’t feel like the Reds way. Regardless, with these signings, the team is still likely to lose around 100 games and finish, AT BEST, in 4th place. I can’t see them challenging St. Louis, Chicago, or Milwaukee. Maybe they can compete with Pittsburgh, but that’s unproven at this point. Still, we can all be pleased that Moustakas is gone. But, a total payroll around $80-85m isn’t competitive.

  31. Old-school

    Casali fell off hitting second half last year but hes here to help the pitchers and be a positive veteran influence. This interview in late spring 2022 is food for thought. Perhaps the Reds can transition Casali into the dugout or front office in 2024. One can hope. Great signing and love what he says about bad characters in the clubhouse and how he is intrigued with roster construction and how that’s done and has picked the brains of GM’s.

    Krall rightly determined that Moose was not part of the future and clearly wanted Votto, Casali, and Myers as elder statesmen in the dugout and clubhouse.

    https://www.knbr.com/2022/06/03/mash-now-exec-later-why-veteran-curt-casalis-baseball-future-is-bright/

  32. RedsfanPA

    Very happy Curt Casali is back with the Reds. He will benefit our young pitchers in so many ways. I can’t wait to see his impact on their continuing development. His veteran leadership will be invaluable for all the young players on this team.
    Also happy to welcome Will Myers to the Reds. Another veteran I think will bring positive vibes to the clubhouse and leadership on the field.
    These 2 moves might actually motivate me to make the 5 hour trip to GABP this upcoming season.
    I wish Moose the best, but it was past time for him to go.

  33. Michael B. Green

    I’d say with Stephenson, Casali and Maile at the MLB level, and Chuckie Robinson and Jhonny Pereda at the AAA level, we essentially have our big league catchers and related depth for 2023.

    It will be interesting to see if James Free starts at AA or AAA and if Mat Nelson starts at A+ or AA.

    The rest of AA is likely to include Eric Yang and Daniel Vellojin.

    I don’t think you can expect any of the AA guys to see time with the big league club in 2023. Robinson and Pereda could if there are injuries, making them nice insurance.

    With Stephenson coming off an injury, that points to the need for 3 catchers and I think that was a major league executive decision to realize and act on that.

    I think we may see more of the “personal catcher” thing at the MLB level depending on how certain SP’s perform with certain catchers. That approach will also serve to rest all three during the season.

    I think 2024 is based on Nelson’s growth and Stephenson’s status. Having that option on Casali helps with that.

    I also think that if we see the Reds young pitchers and hitters establish themselves in 2023, and then CIN is in contention during, 2024, we could see CIN acquire someone like Travis d’Arnaud since he is a free agent in 2025.

  34. Scott C

    The best news was not the signing of Casali or Myers, the best news was DFA’ing of Moustakas.

  35. MK

    A lot of the smaller market teams talk about modeling themselves after the TB Ray management style. Three of the Rrds adds recently have spent time in the Rays developmental system(Mailed, Casali, and Myers.

    • Tom Diesman

      Jake Fraley is a Rays product as well.

    • David

      I think the “Rays” management method depends on:
      1) excellent and accurate player evaluations, from the low minors up to the ML team
      2) budgetary discipline
      3) Excellent scouting and player evaluation of the players that they trade for.
      4) Very good minor league player development

      These things require smart guys (and gals) in the Front Office. Not sure how Cincinnati’s Front Office compares.

  36. GreatRedLegsFan

    Moustakas was the last player still in the roster from those major FA signings pre-2020 season ( Castellanos, Miley, Strop).

  37. CFD3000

    None of these three moves by themselves is a big difference maker for the 2023 Reds. But taken as a whole, jettisoning Moustakas, adding capable catching depth and positive clubhouse presence with Casali, and upgrading the outfield offense with Myers this is a significant improvement for next year. I’m optimistic.

    There are five additional potential significant health related upgrades even before possible development of prospects and/or addition of more, better players (primarily pitchers): a healthy Tyler Stephenson, a healthy Joey Votto, and a reinvigorated Jonathan India. If all three of those players are healthy and productive that will be a big upgrade for the offense. And for the bullpen, both Tejay Antone and Lucas Sims could be difference makers if they are healthy. I’m optimistic.

    From a player development perspective, improvement and maturation from Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, and Graham Ashcraft could establish a formidable top three in the rotation. And there is significant potential contribution in 2023 and definitely in 2024 from a number of prospects starting of course with Elly de La Cruz. I’m optimistic.

    On a “let’s not go backwards note” I will be stunned if the Reds pursue, let alone add, Trevor Bauer. I think that would be a huge step backward, especially with the message that sends to young future stars like Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo – he is not the mentor or role model they need. And of course it would mean the end of Redleg Nation as Doug Gray burns it down. Let’s. Just. Not.

    In all and assuming a reasonably healthy year, I expect the Reds to flirt with .500 (due in part to playing in a weak division), with an outside but not miniscule chance of a division or wild card playoff berth. And at the very least I expect noticeable improvement toward a genuinely competitive window from 2024-2026. I am optimistic.

    Merry Christmas to all of Redleg Nation!

    • David

      I think that is optimistic, but not unreasonably so.
      I think several younger players will arrive in 2023, besides Spencer Steer, who is already “here”. And Barrero, who might hit a lot better in 2023 than 2022.
      Mike Siani , a true centerfielder.
      Elly De La Cruz, who might actually become the super star that is anticipated. SS or CF?
      Christian Encarnacion-Strand (CES), because this guy seems for real; 1st base, 3rd base?
      Alex McGarry, big left handed 1st baseman
      Brandon Williamson, big left-handed starting pitcher.
      Joe Boyle, Levi Stoudt, Andrew Abbott, pitchers with high potential…..maybe get here in 2023. Maybe one of the three.
      I think Stuart Fairchild might get a chance to play some CF, depending on how well Senzel plays in Spring Training (who might also be that super-utility guy that Bell was talking about at the end of last season).
      And here’s hoping that Joey Votto recovers and plays and hits well at 1st base/DH.
      It could all fall together, and the 2023 season could be a season of lucky breaks and good luck for the Reds, as 2022 seemed all bad luck and bad breaks for the Reds.

  38. Mark Moore

    Interesting article by AP News today (their “The Explainer” column). I’m very quick to call BS on the “small market” whining, yet I know full well Cincinnati won’t ever spend to the level the mega-teams do. And I don’t want that either. What I do want is a competitive team with owners who at least attempt to put that team on the field. We’re not alone in our “market size” yet we seem to watch the ownership hide more than seek.

    Anyway, here’s the article link. Well worth the read in my book:
    https://apnews.com/article/mlb-sports-new-york-mets-los-angeles-angels-baseball-2018325d26b611e7c6545bfa5f469a81

    Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Blessed Kwanza, and a Festivus for the Rest of Us to all my friends here on RLN. Special thanks to Doug and crew for another great year hosting this site. Without you, where else would we go? 😀

    • Melvin

      “Without you, where else would we go”?

      Maybe to your house for one of your fine dinners that your always talking about, Mr. Concepcion. 🙂

      Merry Christmas to all here on RLN. 🙂

      • Mark Moore

        Melvin,

        You know I’d be happy to cook up a mess of grub for this group!

      • Old-school

        Merry christmas and Happy NY

        Cincy hit blizzard definition for 3 hours overnite

        That summer pizza oven sounds good.

  39. Jim t

    I’m wondering if the addition of Casali with Maile already on the 40 coupled with Votto’s injury and him being in last year of his contract means they maybe considering moving TS to 1st base.

    Can someone also help a old man but didn’t Stephenson also play left field a couple of times?

  40. MBS

    Speaking of not going backwards see below. We seem to be frogs in a pot of water, and Bob is just slowly turning up the heat, but we’re still feeling very comfortable.

    Payroll
    11: 80.8M
    12: 87.8M
    13: 106.8M
    14: 114.1M
    15: 115.3M
    16: 89.8M
    17: 95.3M
    18: 101.3M
    19: 126.6M
    20: *55.4M* covid year
    21: 122.2M
    22: 114M
    23: ? Not sure but it’s likely the lowest since 2011.

    • Harry Stoner

      FWIW, an online ‘inflation calculator’ puts 2011 $80M in today’s value at $105M.

  41. catcard202

    The ownership group finally realized that Moose was a sunken cost that they were going to end up paying anyway…The DFA to make room for more youth AB’s in 2023 is a good developmental move IMO.

    It’s not the Reds could count on him performing well enough to find a trade partner at the break willing to take that contract. It was better to just write him off & move forward w/ finding the future.

  42. MBS

    Probably the most obviously trading partners made a big deal today, the Jays traded Moreno, and Gurriel for Varsho from Arizona. I wanted to see the Reds trade with both teams surplus, but they were better suited to meet the other teams needs.

    • 2020ball

      Strange trade, D-backs have a good chance to come out ahead of that one if Moreno hits even a little.

  43. William

    I agree with Mr. Gray. Do not bring back Bauer. Cincinnati does not need the bad PR that would certainly come with Bauer back in a Reds uniform.

  44. Rednat

    Merry Christmas to RLN!
    2023 will be a sentimental year for sure. The end of the “Joey Votto” era and on to the “ rays way” era.

    So far so good I suppose. We have traded established players for prospects. We have signed and “ flipped “ established veterans for prospects.

    These are solid checker moves. Now onto the chess moves of trading theses acquired prospects for even more prospects. This is where I question if the reds management can really pull this off. We tend to hold on to young prospects like prize positions!

    Already I have heard on this site that EDLC is untouchable! Why? I think for this experiment to work all trade options must be on the table at all times. I hope this strategy works and we can have a good team in a few years but I certainly do have my doubts

  45. LGR

    Should be looking at bringing a innings eater in that could also help mold the young guys. Should be able to get Kluber for relatively cheap. Cole Hamels could mentor Lodolo. Cueto would probably be more expensive considering he actually had a pretty good 22, but decent thought. Would sell tickets for his first few starts probably. God I would love Bauer back for 24 when things “could” look up competitively in a weaker division.

    • Bill J

      Angels looking at Kluber, Pads looking at Cueto.

  46. Greenfield Red

    From 2011 – 2022 how many World Series did they win? Pennants? Division Series? Playoff games? The anwers are 0 – 0 – 0 – 2. Throwing money and trading for major league ready talent did not work. Throwing good money at 2023 will not work. 40 mil is already wasted on a last place team. They have added Myers and Casali. Both could be traded for more young talent in August.

    Time to think of 2024 and beyond. Faster, younger, and more talented is the way to go. For the last 6 months Krall has been spot on. Gotta stay this course.

    Merry Christmas RLN.

    • Greenfield Red

      My above post was meant as a response to MBS above.

    • MBS

      I’m not quite sure it I understand your point. Are you saying that not spending money is better? Is not fielding a competitive team better?

      If the Reds can afford $120M as an annual budget, and they end up saving $50M this year, that $50M isn’t going to raise payroll into the future. The budget will remain at $120M. Bob will not say “Mr Krall we saved $50M so over the next 5 season you can raise the payroll to $130M”. That money is gone from a fans perspective, it’s just going into the wallets of the ownership group.

      It’s good to know that so many are worried about the owners profit margin than watching competitive baseball. This fan base is like a battered spouse, you actually start to thing it what you deserve. Where else are you going to go?

      • Jim Walker

        +1000. Singing the small market blues goes right along with believing the $20-40m “saved” in 2023 are somehow going to incrementally be added into salaries over the next how many years ahead. The money will be distributed to owners instead.

      • Greenfield Red

        MBS… I’m only responding to your post in which you are trying to point out how cheap ownership is currently. They did spend money in the last 10 years and it got them exactly 2 playoff game victories. And, everybodies “Greatest Reds Hitter in History whose massive contract has been so great for the Reds” has been a non factor in the playoffs.

        You can take that back another 10 years to Griffey. They spent the money and got zip for it.

        The big point of my post? It’s time for a new plan. They are on it. They have to stick with it, or it will fail too. I wouldn’t spend a dime on 2023 that I did ‘t hope to trade for prospects in late July

      • MBS

        @Green, I am with you on misspending, just not, not spending. For me a contract over 15% of the budget is a bad idea. That leaves me at 18M AAV or less on deals (120M Budget), and there have been many players that fit that mold that the Reds didn’t pursue.

        I am also good with following a plan, but I don’t believe that not spending is a part of it. I feel like this is more of a money grab, than a vital part of a future plan.

        This will take time, but I want to see extensions offered to our young players that fit the team needs. I’d like them to offer guys after their 2nd season, (6Y x 10M) which would extend team control, and cost certainty for an additional 2 years. I’d make that offer to Stephenson, and India before spring.

        I do think the future of the team is the youth movement, but I also want to watch good competitive baseball now.

  47. BK

    @Jim and MBS, I really enjoy both of your posts. That said, I disagree … history simply doesn’t support your conclusions. However, if the Reds are using 2023 to cover COVID losses (my theory), it may look like they’ve done as you said when we see a payroll for 2024.

  48. Greenfield Red

    MBS… if our only disagreement is on 2023 spending, then we don’t have much of a disagreement.

    I like to two signings they made ( Casali and Myers). If either have a good 1st half they can be traded for another Hector or Victor Acosta type. They have a lot of that type of guy now. The more the better.

    Trades like the one for the Rule 5 Catcher make me scratch my head. The chances of a 26 year old AA pitcher making a MLB impact have to be incredibly small. I would have insisted on some 17 or 18 y.o.with a higher ceiling (like Hector or Carlos Sanchez). If the Giants won’t for over a guy like that, there was no reason to help them.

    Place. Happy New Year