The Cincinnati Reds have come to agreements with outfielder Nick Senzel and pitcher Justin Dunn for the 2023 season. Both players would have been arbitration eligible this year had they not agreed to contracts with the Reds.

Update at 5:35pm ET

The Reds have also signed pitchers Luis Cessa, Lucas Sims, and Tejay Antone, as well as infielder Kevin Newman to contracts for the 2023 season and avoided arbitration with all of them.

Nick Senzel agreed to a deal for $1,950,000 according to Jon Heyman of MLB Network. Heyman also was the first to report that the Reds and Justin Dunn got a deal for 2023 agreed to for $900,000. MLB Trade Rumors had a projected arbitration salaries for Senzel at $2,200,000 and for Dunn at $1,100,000. While those are just estimations based off of past precedents, it does come out in favor of Cincinnati here with a $400,000 lower total between the projections and the actual contracts signed.

Mark Sheldon of Reds.com reports that Luis Cessa will get $2,650,000, while Lucas Sims will get $1,267,500, Tejay Antone will get $770,000, and Kevin Newman will get $2,662,000 for the upcoming season. The MLB Trade Rumors projections for those salaries was $7,500,000 between that group, with the actual salaries coming in at $6,964,500. Between all six of today’s signings the Reds came in nearly $1,000,000 below the projections.

The Reds now have zero arbitration cases to prepare for as they get ready for spring training.

Fangraphs releases their Reds top prospect list

Eric Longenhagen released his Cincinnati Reds Top 46 Prospects in the organization earlier this morning over at Fangraphs. There’s no surprise to see Elly De La Cruz at the top of the list. But after that we do start to see several surprises in how the guys rank in the top 10, as well as several players beyond that point.

Among the top 20 prospects in the organization, half of them were not in the organization a year ago. Nine of those players were acquired via trades and one player – Cam Collier – was drafted this past summer.

37 Responses

  1. Daytonnati

    Looks like Senzel is taking the “bird in hand”.

  2. Jedi Joey

    Maybe this is finally the year that Senzel stays healthy and shines? I would be happy with healthy and solid numbers.

    • Colorado Red

      Hope so, but all the injuries have taken there toll.
      Almost wonder if a change of scenery would help him and another bust.

      • JaxDan

        I was just thinking yesterday when I seen Jo Adell on MLB Network that Senzel straight up for Adell. Each player could use a change of scenery

  3. LDS

    Signed Luke Weaver, good bye Matt Reynolds.

    • Jedi Joey

      Luke Weaver is definitely a reclamation project. lol

    • Old-school

      I doubt they sign a 2 million reliever so pencil in Weaver as SP4. Cessa takes the early lead as SP5 with Overton and Dunn as depth. I think this means young guys Williamson and Stoudt are starting in AAA.

      • Harry Stoner

        The Reds website writes things like this, presumably without irony:

        “If Weaver joins the Reds’ rotation, he would offer a veteran presence to a young group that’s led by Nick Lodolo, Hunter Greene and Graham Ashcraft.”

        With a 4.79 ERA as a starter and 6.00+ as a reliever last year, just what does that “veteran presence” offer?

        “Remember young fella, don’t pitch the way I do…..”

        Which must have been the main lesson Minor imparted on the Young Turks last season.

        Bears repeating, I suppose.

      • Melvin

        “If Weaver joins the Reds’ rotation, he would offer a veteran presence to a young group that’s led by Nick Lodolo, Hunter Greene and Graham Ashcraft.”

        Yeah. Moose offered a “veteran presence” too. haha

      • David

        “Veteran Presence”.

        Somewhere, George Grande is smiling.

        What a dumb cliche’, if ever there was one.

        Skip Schumacher, the Reds turn their lonely eyes to you.

    • Harry Stoner

      The Hello Newman signing likely got Reynolds packing his bags.

      Nothing against the guy but glad to see him moved along.

      Someone here mentioned that some of Krall’s moves were “Bell-proofing” the roster perhaps removing the options for his constant lineup and position juggling.

      If Reynolds had only taken some reps at catcher and as an “innings nibbler” he might have held onto his job.

      • JayTheRed

        Yes, each of Krall’s moves this offseason seems to be making it so he can’t play farmer. Can’t play Renolds. and so on.

        I mentioned earlier in the offseason that it seemed just like Moneyball when the GM traded away or released players, he didn’t want the Manager to play.

  4. Melvin

    Surprised to see Steer at #2. I like him especially his approach at the plate but didn’t know others did that much.

    • Michael

      I also like Steer’s approach at the plate and I think he would be well suited to be a #2 hitter behind India just in front of Stephenson and Votto.

  5. JB

    Bob saved a million dollars today. Golden Corral tonight!!

    • Doc

      Contracts signed ahead of arbitration almost always fall somewhere between the team’s filing number and the player’s filing number, or their projected numbers. Bob didn’t save anything since these contracts are right where they would be expected to fall.

      In fact, one could argue that Bob spent extra since the Reds have done pretty well in arbitration cases, as I recall. Had they gone to arbitration and had the Reds won the majority of them, these contracts could just as easily have been lower than what was signed for. So an argument could be made that Bob opened the checkbook and spent extra.

      • Redsvol

        Yes, and what kind of arbitration argument can be made by any player that played a part of the disastrous 2022 Reds MLB season.

        Nick’s agent – “my client deserves a raise”
        Nick Krall – “Nick played in only 110 games last season on a team that lost 100 games”
        Agent – “which was a personal best for my client”
        Krall – “Nick was the 27th ranked center fielder in 2022 with an OPS of .602”
        Agent – “my player was a first round draft pick and former top 20 prospect”
        Krall – “he has a career over 1000 at bats at an ops of .660 and is constantly injured”.
        Agent – “my client is ready to break out”
        Arbitrator – “your client stinks but this is baseball and everyone gets a raise, so we award a doubling of your salary from $1.25 to $2.5Million for 2023…next”.

      • LDS

        Yep, baseball sure isn’t like the real world. Senzel, who is never healthy, who was outproduced by Aquino despite 50% more PAs, and had a negative WAR last year (and for his career), got a $700k raise. How does that make sense? He should have been traded or waived.

      • Doug Gray

        Well, it’s sure not like the real world in that you can be the best player alive and make the league minimum, too.

      • David

        Waived? As in “wave bye-bye”?

        With the highest of hopes, Nick Senzel was a #1 draft pick. Yet, he once again he fell into the notorious “Nick” trap of Reds’ draftees.

        I personally fear for the fate of Nick Lodolo, but maybe he breaks the curse.

      • Old-school

        @LDS- you’ve made the point multiple times about Aquino outproducing Senzel in far less at bats. I forfeited my title as president of the Nick Senzel Fan club last May and have no intention of reclaiming it. However, offensively, they were both poor with Senzel showing zero power and posting a wRC+of 66. Aquino was worse with a wRC+of 63. Thats like arguing who was a better hitter Jose Peraza or Tucker Barnhart.

        Aquino’s game changing defense is what elevated his fWAR and rightly so. His cannon and defense were a sight to behold. But, lets not confuse offense and defense.

      • LDS

        I agree @old_school, the underlying point of my comments is that everyone screams analytics, but then ignores what the numbers actually say and then make subjective decisions. Objectively and by the numbers, the Reds are not promising. And everyone hanging their hats on 2024 and beyond, based primarily on the number of prospects, is equally subjective. I don’t have the numbers, though I’m sure Doug or someone here does, but most prospects don’t pan out as expected – Senzel for example was the #2 pick overall and was once rated the #5 prospect in all of baseball. How’d that work out? The theory of becoming a competitive team, based on prospects alone, is suspect at best.

      • Jim Walker

        @LDS (and others)> here is a link to Fangraphs latest rating of Reds prospect.
        https://blogs.fangraphs.com/cincinnati-reds-top-46-prospects-2023/

        The key column is the FV (future value rating). There is a link in the article to a more complete explanation of the FV number. In brief, basically 50 is an average everyday MLB player. Higher is better Lower not as good.

        EDLC is tops or Reds prospects at 60 (All Star level). The next 4 guys are 50. The next 5 are 45+ or 45 (low end regular/ platoon player) to fill out the top 10. CES who many folks are very excited about comes in at 40+ (bench player quality), good for #11 on the list.

        Yes these are projections and are subject to be wrong. But they underscore the point that just having a large number of highly thought of prospects isn’t an automatic ticket to having a good team at some future point.

  6. DataDumpster

    Surprised that six players collectively left 10% on the table against the best arb estimate. Looks like the “The Bull” made his points and put the fear (likely true) that most of these guys wouldn’t draw much outside interest and have no guarantee that they won’t be DFA if other moves are made. I don’t know the underlying factors, but paying a guy a full year’ salary for only 1/3 or 1/2 of a season is getting ridiculous. No complaints here but Senzel in the least needs another team for his own good.

    • Jim Walker

      My suspicion is that Senzel may have been tendered in large part because they were already on the hook for a sizable rehab tab for him and didn’t want to pay that out only to have him sign an FA contract elsewhere. By retaining him there is at least a chance they’ll get some value in return either on the field or by trading him.

      But he signed before the deadline making the entire $1.9m guaranteed under the new CBA.

      We will see how this unfolds given that both the player and David Bell had indicated prior to his injury that his days as the primary CF were over; and come 2023 he would be a supersub type.

      • Doug Gray

        I think that Senzel and Bell both indicated that he could be a supersub type, but nothing I saw seemed to indicate his days as the primary CF were over. If he goes out and hits, he’s going to be the center fielder. If he goes out and does what he has been doing lately…. he’s probably not going to be around for very long in any kind of role.

      • Jim Walker

        From The Enquirer/ Cincy(.)com:
        Senzel also has started fielding ground balls in the infield over the last few weeks. The Reds are opening the door for Senzel to play more second and third base next season instead of center field.

        Senzel was open to making that change in a disappointing year for himself and for the Reds.

        “This year, I’m in a better mental space and accepting those challenges and the versatility I can bring,” Senzel said. “I just want to contribute and play well for the Reds. Whatever they ask for me to do, I’ll do it.”

        https://www.cincinnati.com/story/sports/mlb/reds/2022/09/13/nick-senzel-cincinnati-reds-center-fielder-2022-season/69491769007/

  7. Kevin H

    It’s funny Reds had 2 “veteran ” presence in Mahle and Castillo and traded them last year even though they were under team control. Same with Sonny Gray,

    Reds still have addressed the bullpen this year and have added 1 legit bat in Myers. Some on here suggest Bell is the issue, however seem to forget he lead the team to playoff and in contention for a wildcard the following year. Now cupboard is bare and some say Bell is at fault. I see it as a organization failure and that starts up top..

    The Bengals started spending money and a coach who started out poorly now has led his team to superbowl and now into playoffs again back to back afc north championship. Both teams in cincy one team willing to spend money and the other team says “we cant” while cashing thier billion dollar checks and laughing at fans

    • TR

      Let’s remember that the Bengals were recently in a rather depressed state similar to the current Reds. The Bengals have been revived with the acquisition of an outstanding quarterback and others. A similar thing could soon happen at GABP with the arrival of EDLC and a few more talented prospects.

      • Kevin H

        You missed the point.

        They shelled out money to build a defense. They paid money for 3 offense lineman. They paid money and brought in players. Something the reds say they can’t do. Both clubs in cincy. So….

      • TR

        Perhaps you’ve also missed the point. The Red’s ownership is not set in stone. Budget cutting is a good indicator of coming ownership change. The Red’s have spent money in the past; it could happen again.

  8. Old-school

    Fangraphs dropped Marte to #5 and suggested he was very bad in the AFL, probably because he was gassed from a long season. Mike Trout had a similar poor AFL. But, has there been any suggestion on Marte’s long term position and transition timing? He was playing 3b in the AFL and sounds like that didnt go well. How ‘bout RF ? Hes got a big frame and a big bat and if he can play SS in the low minors, Id think he could play RF too.

    At some point, these shortstops who wont play SS in MLB need to practice and get reps at their next position. AA would seem the time to transition for Marte. Give him all of ST and 130 games this year in the upper minors.

  9. Max BRAGG

    Senzel is just another OVERRATED player that GM has NO Idea what he is doing.