Last week it was reported in the Cincinnati Enquirer that the Reds had discussions of contract extensions with some of their players. President of baseball operations Nick Krall did not mention any specific names that the club has had these conversations with. The only player we can be certain that it wasn’t is Hunter Greene. And that’s because he signed a contract extension earlier this year and is now locked up through at least 2028, and potentially 2029 as the Reds hold an option for that season.

Much of Cincinnati’s team is young and still early in their careers. Signing players that fall into that category has some potential positives and some negatives. On the positive front, the club can lock in talent for what they hope is less than market value and give them cost certainty as they build a roster in the future. Knowing how much money certain players will be making can help a team figure out moves both at the current time as well as figure out what they can do in the future when it comes to adding additional players and the salaries that come with it.

One of the downsides there is that sometimes you wind up with a guaranteed contract to a player who simply isn’t performing and while it’s not likely a big chunk of money that the team will be “eating” due to the fact that it’s not a free agent contract but rather one that buys out pre-free agency years and maybe a year or two of free agency, it’s still leaving open the potential of “dead money” on the payroll. Scott Kingery signed an extension with the Phillies in spring training of 2018 that guaranteed him $23,000,000 through the 2023 season. He spent the full 2018 and 2019 seasons with the Phillies. Since then he’s played in 52 games in the big leagues and has had just one hit for them since 2021 began.

Unlike the Reds young players, Kingery had never played a big league game before he signed his deal. Cincinnati’s young core of players have at least some big league experience that the team can look at to help them better gauge what they can do, but in 2019 Kingery had a solid big league season, putting up a .788 OPS for with Phillies with 34 doubles and 19 home runs. His numbers fell off of a cliff after that despite what historically should have been his prime seasons.

There’s some risk and reward in play for the team. But there’s also some risk and reward for the player. Taking a deal now likely means delaying free agency. It also means that if the player becomes a star that they will almost assuredly be taking less money than they would have gotten in arbitration. The flip side there is that if they don’t become a star, injuries pile up, or things just don’t work out – they still get that guaranteed money for a little bit.

Davey Johnson, Lou Piniella up for the Hall of Fame in 2024

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum announced the eight men who are being considered by the Contemporary Baseball Era Committee for the class of 2024. All eight are non-players (or at least as it related to being placed in the Hall of Fame). Two of them managed the Cincinnati Reds: Lou Piniella and Davey Johnson.

After managing the New York Yankees from 1986-1988, Lou Piniella took over the Cincinnati Reds in 1990. You could say that things went well for him as he managed the club to a World Series championship, winning the division with a 91-71 record before defeating the Pirates in the National League Championship Series and then steamrolling the Oakland Athletics in a 4-game sweep in the World Series.

The next year saw the Reds fall off in a big way, going 74-88. Piniella and Cincinnati would rebound in 1992, but their 90-72 record still left them eight games back of Atlanta and in an era before the wild card, it meant that the second best record in the division and third best record in the league kept you at home in October. Piniella and the Reds parted ways after the season and he headed off to Seattle where he managed for the next decade before taking over in Tampa Bay for three seasons, and then in Chicago for four more years before retiring.

Davey Johnson joined the Reds in 1993 – they year after Piniella left – but he wasn’t the manager for the entire season. After a 20-24 start, Tony Perez was fired and Johnson then took over. He and the team went 53-65 the rest of that season. In 1994 he managed the team to a 66-48 record and had them in 1st place, but the labor dispute between the players and owners led to a lockout and the season ended in August.

Johnson returned in 1995 with Cincinnati and in a 144-game season that got a late start due to the lockout that began the year prior, the Reds went 85-59 and finished in 1st place. Cincinnati would sweep the Los Angeles Dodgers in the division series, but they then ran into Atlanta and got swept in the National League Championship Series. Johnson didn’t manage the Reds beyond that season and is the most recent manager for the club to win a playoff series.

After leaving Cincinnati, Johnson managed the Baltimore Orioles in 1996 and 1997, winning 88 games in his first season and then 98 games in his second. Those were the only two seasons he spent with Baltimore before taking over the Dodgers in 1999 and 2000. He then didn’t manage for a decade before taking over the Nationals as their third manager of the season in 2011 and sticking around for two seasons after that – including winning 98 games and the division in 2012.

If anyone receives 75% of the vote or more they will be enshrined into the Hall of Fame. The results will be announced on December 3rd at 7:30pm ET on MLB Network.

114 Responses

  1. doofus

    Are the Reds actually evaluating potential extensions or just yapping to make it look like BC will spend some money; therefore, hoping to enhance preseason ticket sales? Call me skeptical.

    • Votto4life

      I agree Doofus. I have read that the Reds sell most of their season tickets (other than corporate) around Christmas. So, I take it, if the Reds are going to spend money, it will happen in the next two months.

  2. doofus

    If true, I would imagine McLain and Abbott would be at the front of the line with EDLC and perhaps Marte also in the discussion.

  3. RedBB

    Ashcraft, Ashcraft, Ashcraft. He is the only pitcher last year who gave us reliable innings and also pitched well.

    • Doc

      Abbott, Abbott, Abbott might disagree with your statement about Ashcraft.

      • RedBB

        I like Abbott but his innings or lack of innings really caught up to him this year. It will likely catch up to him next year as well.

        Ashcraft despite missing time in the middle of the year and end of the year and having a several start disastrous stretch still ended up in the top 15 in QS’s in the NL. His QS rate was 58%. Abbott was net at #37 with a rate of 43%

      • Doc

        The only two criteria you listed in your original post were gave us reliable innings and pitched well. Statistics can be used any way one wants to use them, and they can be selectively chosen to make one’s point. Abbott was reliable, and he led Ashcraft in wins and ERA. Abbott did not spend time on the IL, something which Ashcraft did twice, I believe. Ashcraft also had a horrible stretch before the IL.

        I like Ashcraft a lot, but when your criteria were reliable innings and pitched well, Abbott compares very well. The Reds would have been nowhere close tomthe playoffs with two games left had it not been for Abbott, who saved this team at a critical part of the season when it could have all gone down the toilet.

    • Brian

      It’s probably good that they didn’t lock up India and Stephenson when everyone wanted to. How much does a team actually save by not letting a player go to arbitration? Is that savings worth the 4 or 5 years of risk of flopping? A few of these guys look like pretty sure things but lingering injuries can always come in to play too and we all know who is representing several of these guys. His demands might not make the risk of buying out arbitration worth it. I do like that the Reds are at least having conversations though.

      • John J

        I agree. Its definetly a massive risk. But even if you like something with marte or elly u will still pay a good amount. Probably higher then acuna and if injuries happen or say elly only becomes averagish then it could pan out as just okay or bad for a side.

        India is averagish at best. I think Ty steve is okay probably will bounce back but as of now averagish overall.

        I would look into Ashcraft, Elly, Marte, McLain, CES, Abbott, probably phillips.

        Benson and Steer are under control after 30 already but im sure you can work something like an extra year or two with a salary average of something lower then 7million.

        I think elly and marte would take 9 years with 12 million average MAYBE?

        Mclain at 2b but SS player maybe 8 yr/ 65mil

        Idk whoever you lock up for an extra year or more will help the team, I like this group and I think they will thrive TOGETHER.

      • Brian

        I honestly think that the most sure hitter of the group is CES. Marte and McLain are probably the most well rounded. I wouldn’t extend Elly, I’m probably in the minority there. He’s the best athlete of the group but he seems reckless as a base runner and the least advanced as a hitter. He definitely could grow more into his hype though. I’m guess that Boras has more sway with his players than most agents and he has a reputation of playing hardball with negotiations.

      • doofus

        I would call Stephenson and India sub-averaging.

      • doofus

        “…having conversations,” aka flapping their gums, it is what the FO and ownership does best.

        I will be onboard when they actually DO something.

      • greenmtred

        Well, they nearly completely remade the roster with rookies and went from being a 100-loss team last year to an over-.500 club this year. Seems like something.

      • doofus

        @GreenMt I am talking about doing something in the off-season.

    • Kevin H

      Hunter Greene and Abbott as well. Ashcraft pitched well, however did struggle for a stretch

  4. LDS

    We’ll see. So far, all we’ve seen is more insiders promoted. That’s where the profits have gone so far. And of course, Krall slobbering over Bell and the coaches. Other teams care about winning and clean out the losers in the offseason. Not the Reds.

    • Melvin

      The Padres gave their manager permission to talk with other teams as I understand it. Maybe we’re being selfish. Big Bob should give David Bell permission too. 😉

    • Kevin H

      Kinda like Baltimore did with their manager Brandon Hyde after losing 100 games a few years… oh wait… Hyde managed the Orioles to the playoffs.

      • greenmtred

        It’s remarkable what players can do.

  5. MBS

    There is no one I’d give an extension to today. Anyone that I’d want to extend has 6 years of control left. It’s a bit early to pull that trigger imo. Lets wait until the end of 24, and see if some of these kids can replicate, or better themselves before we sign them.

    • Bob Purkey

      MBS: Couldn’t agree more. Ridiculous to talk extension with these guys with a !/2 year in the league. They need to prove it a bit more before you talk about giving these contracts to all these young guys,

    • VaRedsFan

      @MBS…This is the most correct answer

    • Old Big Ed

      The problem with that, MBS, is that if a team waits for a player to post big numbers, then the player will refuse the long-term deal and “bet on himself” in free agency as soon as he can. The Red Sox passed on extending Mookie Betts, and ended up trading him (and a bad David Price contract) for Alex Verdugo, when it became apparent that Betts would become a free agent.

      Also, extending one or more of these guys now does not bind the player to the Reds forever, absent a no-trade clause. He could still be traded, and (to the point), the acquiring team would have cost certainty in making the acquisition. Can you imagine the haul that the Braves would get for Acuna or Olsen, for example?

      These are business decisions that have potential risks and rewards, regardless of whether they pull the trigger on an extension. If they don’t extend EDLC and he hits .310 and goes 40/40 next season, then it will be too late to extend him and they will have to trade him after 4 or 5 more seasons. If they do extend him, and he doesn’t corral his talent, then they will have overpaid. I actually believe that the conservative (less risky) business decision is to offer a few extensions now to the younger position players

      EDLC is also in the interesting position of having assigned 10% of his future earnings to investors in the Dominican who fronted him some $$ a couple of years ago. The Reds could make a payment to those investors, in exchange for releasing EDLC from that commitment.

      I am also one the world’s leading fans of Noelvi Marte, whom I believe to be The Natural. So, I would invest in him right now if I owned the team.

      • MBS

        I didn’t say big numbers, but signing a guy with 6 years of control to an extension seems premature. Why do you need 8 years of control over a player that you don’t know what he’s actually capable of?

        You were skeptical of signing “expensive” FA’s on our other back and forth, but here you’re not skeptical of signing unproven players. I’d rather pay more for a known commodity, than betting that an unknown commodity will payoff.

        At the end of 24 we’ll know a lot more about the guys we have, and who we should invest in. My gut is McLain, Abbott, and EDLC, but we can’t extend everyone, so waiting to see a bit more seems to be prudent.

  6. SultanofSwaff

    Marte, EDLC, McClain, Steer, CES. That’s probably your top 5 in the lineup for the next Reds playoff game imo. Along with Friedl and Benson, that’s the position player core. You don’t have to squint to see 2 or 3 of them putting up multiple 4+ WAR seasons in the near future.
    On the pitching side it’s more complicated—if they’re confident Derek Johnson’s philosophy will continue to bear fruit, then you’re probably better off going year to year, but it’s high stakes poker. Then again, if Greene is deserving of an extension, then you’d have to certainly entertain Abbott (2.7 WAR, even with 6 ERA in both August and September), and Williamson (1.8 WAR, 3.97 ERA in 2nd half, best WHIP among starters).

    Clearly payroll isn’t an issue now or in the next 2 seasons, but after that a good number of players could start making real money. The front office would be smart to at least try to find some cost certainty before then.

  7. Jerry

    I am in agreement with MBS, let’s wait a year and see if the young ones improvement warrants an extension. Some probably will improve their status, but who knows?

    • Doc

      Remember Suarez. Even after a couple of years, he tanked, resulting in a trade. Yes, after the trade he hit some HR, but he still was not the hitter he was earlier with the Reds.

      • Old Big Ed

        Yes, but even with signing Suarez early, they were able to trade him (with a collapsing Winker) for Bandon Williamson, Connor Phillips and Jake Fraley.

        Signing these new guys early to favorable contracts does not foreclose a later trade of their contracts. There are many more outcomes that are between the player either being a superstar or a bust. If they just become good solid MLB players, their extended contracts still have value down the road.

        The Castellinis and their partners stand to make a lot more money, either in cash flow or in a future sale of the franchise, if the Reds are winning and the turnstiles are spinning. Contrary to popular belief, the Reds are not more valuable over the long run with sparse crowds and low TV ratings. The smart business decision is to make offer long-term deals with the younger players, especially the position players.

  8. Tom Reeves

    The Reds have to do whatever they can to add 1-2 ACE-Level SPs and 2-4 Closer-Quality RPs to the team. With the young pitchers, someone of them can remain in AAA until needed. That way the Reds have both the pitching talent and depth necessary to winZ. Reds should legit spent $100m-$120m on pitching.

    • Greenfield Red

      It’s not my money, but what do you think 1-2 Ace level sp and 2-4 closer quality rp would cost the Reds and for how many years would they have to pay them? What you are talking about is probably North of half a billion dollars over the next 5 to 7 years. I don’t see the Reds doing that.

      I can see 1 good sp (Sonny or Giolito type) on a 4/120 or maybe a 3/105 and 2 good relievers at 2/20 or 3/25. Maybe replace the starter with a good right handed outfielder.

      That adds about 50 mil per year, but only for a short period of time. They could also incentivize by including annual opt outs… to hopefully control the price a little.

      It should be possible with 40 mil coming off this year, and attendance headed up… and ownership knows they have to or there will be a revolt from the few of us who believe there is a plan… myself included.

      Should make the Reds WS contenders.

      • BK

        I would target Yamamoto and Matsui. Several JPL pitchers have done well in the major, and Yamamoto’s stats are among the best of those who have successfully transitioned. Also, he’s just 25 years old. That said, he’s the only player I would recommend the Reds making a $150M to $200M commitment to. I see him as an elite talent, and an elite talent is worth the risk. After a spartan payroll, strong attendance, and collecting all of the RSN money in 2023, the Reds should have the cash to cover the $25M to $30M posting fee. In short, if they want the best, this is the year to get him.

        Matsui falls into the category of those you mentioned above. I would pivot to pitchers in that category if Yamamoto prefers to pitch in a large market.

      • SultanofSwaff

        Agreed BK. If we miss on Yamamoto or Matsui, then I’d pivot to building the best bullpen I can.

      • greenmtred

        I liked Sonny when he was with the Reds, but he’s turning 34 in a few weeks. Not sure a multi-year contract makes sense. I don’t really know who these available”ace caliber” starting pitchers are. My impression is that they are infrequently traded. Might luck into a reliable starter or two–for a big price–but my guess is that the Reds are going young with the pitching staff just as they are with the position players.

      • BK

        Gray or Snell are the other two starters I would target beyond Yamamoto. Otherwise, someone like Giolito on a shorter-term contract might also work for a starter–his second half and frankly last two years make him a good candidate for a shorter-term deal, like Bellinger took last year.

      • VaRedsFan

        I’m not giving any pitcher 150-200 million…American, Japanese, or otherwise. They get hurt too often. Small markets can’t give out contracts like that.

      • BK

        @VA, I don’t think a team can concede elite talent to the rest of the league and hope to win a championship. I agree the Reds need to avoid handing out multiple long-term contracts, but they can afford one or two. Moreover, I will assert that they have the cash to frontload the contract in a way that minimizes the long-term risk. That’s the benefit of the austerity we endured over the last two season.

      • Tom Reeves

        Agree BK – the austerity allows the Reds to do shorter higher priced contracts and not tie up cash for years. They might be out bid and if that happens, it happens. But 1-2 SP and 2-4 RP would be my targets.

        A big reason not to tie up cash in long term contracts is because the Reds will need to do this a couple more times during this windows.

        In the alternative, sticking with our current starters and beefing up the bullpen is an option.

      • BK

        A bit over $1.3M. In Japan, instead of dollar stores, they have 500 yen stores.

    • redfanorbust

      Basically agree Tom Reeves, maybe a solid #2/#3 (#1 really going to cost ya and if he goes down team like the Reds are in big trouble) and I would throw in a legitimate 25-30+ HR everyday outfielder in there as well either by trade or FA (if there is one available). Not having a big bopper in GABP is a waste of space (or lack there of)! Reds can add 80-100 million a year and be at or a little above league average in team salaries.
      Contract extensions are fine for all the reasons stated however wait till after this year, see how players perform and see how the team jells with the hopefully/better have SERIOUS FA signings.

    • MBS

      If I had control of the checkbook, I’d go.

      SP1 Snell 5Y*$25M, SU/C Kimbrel 3Y*$8M
      SU/C Chapman 2Y*$7M, CF Bellinger 5Y*$22.5M
      DH Soler 4Y*$14M

      That’s $76.5M added to an around a $30M roster. Even doing all of that we’d still be bottom 1/3rd in the league in payroll. If the team really wanted to go for it, they could probably go up to the 2023 league average payroll of $165M, but I’d settle for my $106M roster.

      • Greenfield Red

        MBS… I don’t disagree with your wishlist. It would be awesome to add all that talent, but it’s about 365 mil extra spent in the next 2 to 5 years. I doubt they do that much, but I think 200 to 225 mil spent on FA during that timeframe should be in the budget and can get 2 or 3 impact guys for the time period you are looking at.

        You and I have disagreed on a number of issues in the past, but I now see our vision coming more together going forward.

      • MBS

        @Greenfield, what fun would this site be if we all agreed all the time.

        $165M was the average payroll in 23, and those averages go up every year. Lets just use a 10% increase in cost per season over the next 5 seasons to make room for arb increases.

        Y 1 106.5
        Y 2 117.15
        Y 3 128.86
        Y 4 141.75
        Y 5 155.92

        That’s 650.18M over 5 years. If league averages stayed static at 165 over 5 years that’s 825M. The Reds would still be 175M total under league average over those 5 seasons, or 35M under per season on average.

        Shooting for just under average payroll shouldn’t be a dream scenario.

      • Greenfield Red

        Other thing MBS, I can see them adding 2-3 via FA this year and another 1 or 2 next year. It should be an exciting time. They can win the WS in the next 3 to 5 years.

      • VaRedsFan

        Absolutely not on Kimbrel….he’s a blown lead waiting to happen.
        Chapman is not much better, but AC > Kimbrel.
        Wouldn’t mind Soler…but not for 4 years.
        Full go on the other 2.

      • Redsvol

        I don’t see Nick Krall having the budget or the personal interest in adding 100-200$m free agent staring pitchers. Personally I think it’s too big a risk and likely unnecessary.

        If you look at the playoffs their are teams that have avoided this and still developed a heck of a team.
        – rangers – relied on Jon gray, Andrew Heaney Martin Perez for big chunk of season. Added Montgomery at deadline for prospects. This ensures they were getting a top performing pitcher with health for the playoff push.
        – diamondbacks – developed their own in gallen and Kelly. Rely heavily on bullpen and young, fast offense. Brought in best available closer at the trade deadline for prospects.
        – astros – rely on home grown starting pitching talent. Pay for offensive players. Rely heavily on young bullpen arms. Brought in verlander at trade deadline to add to already formidable pitching.
        – Phillies – mix of home grown (Nola, Suarez) and free agent staters. When their pitchers reached free agency they let them go (eflin). Rely on offensive star power obviously and paid handsomely for it. But they also rely on a dynamic bullpen.

        I’d like to see reds add 1-2 mid tier starters and spend bulk of $ on 2-3 bullpen arms. Bullpen arms are risky but also shorter contacts. Greene and lodolo need to take next steps. Also need to add 1 proven outfielder which will be $. Gurriel or Hernandez.

      • MBS

        Highest payrolls in MLB

        4 Rangers (251M)
        5 Phillies (245M)
        7 Houston (237)

        21 Arizona (119M)

        I’m only asking the Reds to be like Arizona, give or take a bit. Thanks for making my point.

      • RedsMonk65

        As far as starting pitchers go, two words:

        Jordan Montgomery.

        Effective and affordable.

      • Old Big Ed

        A. You would likely lose the bidding war for every one of those guys.

        B. You are not accounting for the amounts that would need to be paid to the younger players in 2025 and beyond.

        C. If you watched Kimbrel in the NLCS, you wouldn’t sign him for minimum wage in the Mozambique League.

        There are flaws to all of these guys. Chapman is an odd duck, and he isn’t the pitcher he once was. Soler has had one good year in the last 3; Bellinger was excellent last year but was putrid the prior 3 years. Snell recorded something like 10 outs all season past the 6th inning. Soler is heading into his age 32 season. Bellinger will be playing at age 28; he had a 4.4 bWAR last year and would replace Friedl, who had a 3.8 bWAR at an eighth of the cost.

        Hope is not a strategy for prospects, but it is also not a strategy for older players. This is exactly why the Mets and Yankees fell on their face this season — the 2018 All-Star team was not competitive in 2023.

        The Reds have the greatest luxury in modern baseball, which is youth. The modern game is much faster than it was even 10 years ago, and (outside a few unicorns like Freddie Freeman), only young hitters have the eyesight and reflexes to excel now. The Yankees, etc. cannot buy youth, and that is why they don’t win anymore.

        I’m all for picking up a couple of rotation guys and bullpen arms, and maybe an outfielder, but none of the available free agents jump out at me as a good long-term signing. Maybe the Japanese and Korean guys would work, but I don’t know if Cincinnati is as attractive to them as (say) Seattle would be.

      • MBS

        @Old Big,

        A, Why? We have a 30 some odd M payroll, we can outspend teams if we wanted to.

        B Yes I have, “Lets just use a 10% increase in cost per season over the next 5 seasons to make room for arb increases.

        Y 1 106.5
        Y 2 117.15
        Y 3 128.86
        Y 4 141.75
        Y 5 155.92”

        C, Pick another setup/closer of your choice. I will say he had a 3.26 ERA with 23 S out of 28 SVO. Diaz can’t go out there 3 or 4 nights in a row. We wore him down, and it showed in the 2nd half. Spending money on guys like Chapman, and Kimbrel, gives our bullpen secondary options, Diaz is the primary option.

        It’s not about the names I’ve listed, there are other players we can acquire. It’s about not being satisfied with inaction, or mediocre appeasements.

        I agree with you on 1 thing, We are fortunate to have the youth that we do. I don’t think that’s enough to win a world series, and if that’s not the goal, then why the heck do we watch.

        No one ever cheers “we’re #6, we’re #6”

      • Optimist

        My end-of-season, cut and paste hot-stove comment:

        “3 obvious, oft repeated goals for the off season –
        1 – get a good to great starter (Sonny?!?!), likely only via FA.?
        2 – get a proven MLB power-hitting outfielder (may be available via trade)?
        3 – get a new managing partner”

        Yes, they need relievers as well, but aside the highest $ closers, those are not budget busters, and extremely variable year to year.

  9. Datdudejs

    I definitely wouldn’t extend any of the young pitchers, they all have shown some injury history and pitchers you just never know.

    Position player wise, I think mclain is the only one I’d be comfortable extending. He’s the only one that feels “safe” that his approach and hitting tool will be there long term. No way on Elly, and strand. I don’t think it would surprise anyone if they never figures out the strikeouts. Marte still too early to tell, Friedl/India/Stephenson have all battled injuries. Fraley doesn’t hit lefties. Steer and benson are hot/cold too much.

    This team is incredibly talented, and I hope they all figure it out, but there is definitely question marks everywhere you look.

    • TR

      There’s question marks on probably all of the 30 ML teams. I’ll root for the Reds every game spring, summer and fall. As a lifetime fan it couldn’t be any other way.

    • Mario

      Datdude, agree on a lot of what you said here. I am high on McLain, he’s probably my sole extension candidate as well but can’t expect an almost .900 OPS from him. Elly and CES are always going to be high strikeout guys and that’s ok in my book as long as they are drawing some walks and the power production is there. Steer is so consistent, gotta think extension with him also. Rumor has it Seattle is interested in him. No kidding, who wouldn’t be interested in him. No way I would trade him for Kirby or Gilbert although they are both good starting pitchers.

  10. Optimist

    I wonder if another angle is the player’s financial status. Some of these guys (EDLC?) may have been such low $$$ draft picks/international signings that they may be willing to take a nice payment for the first year of free agency. The opposite of the Kingery deal – in that case the Phillies thought they were buying an extra year of at least a league average player, if not much better, and at the going price.

    The Reds may be able to offer considerably less to several players, spreading the risk and cost – say an outlay of $30-40M to 4 or 5 of them. In effect, paying a 1st round draft pick price for players who have performed at that level to get them into their 1st season of MLB.

    Compare and contrast with the 2 large extensions they signed in the past 10-15 years – Joey and Homer.

    • Jim Walker

      When Eugenio Suárez signed his deal with the Reds ($66m guaranteed 2018-24+$2m buyout against $15m for 2025) there was much feeling that the situation in his home country of Venezuela was a driver in his desire to do the deal.

      • Optimist

        I recall that – and that was a pretty good deal all around. I’m just proposing a single year added to various 1st year/rookies – buying out what would be a first year of free agency. It would still let them all hit free agency in their 20s, so if they perform well they’d still be very sought after for longer terms.

        The player incentive is simply a healthy multi-million $ single year contract for those who didn’t get such an initial deal. The team incentive is a low total figure, only a single year budget exposure, and the confidence that more than one of them will be valuable in that extra year.

        Meanwhile, sign a high price FA SP, and sign or trade for a high price OF.

        The budget is available for all of these.

  11. Beaufort Red

    I’d only offer McClain. I’d even hold back on Abbott simply because he showed signs of fading the end of the season. It may be because if his innings pitched. But if we’re able to secure some veteran starters who knows where the pieces will land.

    • Old Big Ed

      I would prefer McLain. McClain hasn’t shown anything yet.

  12. SultanofSwaff

    Kinda crazy how ‘low’ the salaries are in MLB for the best players. Minimum is $720k (NFL is $740k, NBA is $1.1mil). At the upper end though Scherzer is tops at $43mil, whereas in the NFL it’s $80mil for Lamar Jackson. (Hold your hats) In the NBA LeBron is gonna pull in $117mil this year.

    Total revenues:
    MLB+NBA–approximately $10 billion
    NFL–$18.6 billion

    Approximate % of revenue going to players salaries among all three: 50%

    Just food for thought.

    • Doc

      NBA and NFL do not have to maintain a farm system.

      • David

        Actually, the NBA maintains the “D” League (Developmental League) for drafted players to develop more (along with signed free agents). Guys do emerge from the “D” League in the NBA from time to time.
        The NBA contract agreement with the players is VASTLY different from the ML Player’s Association agreement. The NBA players are Guaranteed to get 67% of the gate, distributed as payroll, and there is also a salary cap. Teams are constantly juggling players and payroll to work guys under the salary cap.
        And the NBA subsidizes the WNBA, because they would not even break even on their own.

      • BK

        Just to add a bit to David … the NBA’s farm system is the “G League.” Each team has up to three players on two-way contracts, akin to minor leaguers on the 40-man roster. Teams can sign as many as six players to their preseason roster and pay out up to $75K bonuses if they spend at least 60 days on the G League roster during the season–sorta like MiLB free agents.

      • Old Big Ed

        The G League isn’t really comparable to the Minor Leagues in baseball. It is useful for developing a team’s 9th man, and occasionally someone a lot better. The NBA’s real minor league is Division I basketball and the European leagues. With NIL money, the NBA even gets the college boosters to pay the players while the NBA can evaluate them.

        The issue is that the young players in the NBA get big, big $$$ as early as age 19 or 20, and the NFL at age 21 or 22, whereas baseball’s structure is such that even the best players don’t make any real money until they are at least 24 or so. The developing exception is the early extensions, like we are talking about here for the Reds’ core of young players. Kyler Murray was taken second in the MLB draft, but opted out to play in the NFL and get a much earlier jackpot.

  13. LDS

    Try to lock them in after NEXT season. India was ROY and the last two years weren’t great. McLain could crash and burn just as easily. Personally, I think they locked up Greene too soon. Pay for performance, not to keep the payroll down 5-6 years from now. Commit to winning or don’t, but don’t pretend locking up the young guys is necessarily the answer to future competitiveness. Spend some money Bob. Sign some free agents. Make some trades. But don’t pretend the team as is, is going to win a world championship. Not going to happen.

    • MBS

      This team is a borderline playoff team. We need to add multiple key pieces to be a serious contender for a World Series Championship.

      • David

        Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

        They finished “close” in 2023, but that does not guarantee anything in 2024. Players could regress, get hurt, etc.
        And Chicago and St. Louis WILL spend money to get better.

      • MBS

        The Reds were 2 games over .500 with a team that had no pitching, and a lineup of rookies. Expecting a regression instead of progression seems a bit backwards. They’ve lost no one of value, and have a much more experienced team. This team as it sits is likely an 85, or better win team. That’s a borderline playoff team.

      • BK

        The Reds are well-postured for the long term. The pitching is likely a year away, though. I think that needs to be addressed.

      • greenmtred

        I don’t disagree that adding some players might be helpful, but one of the features–and gambles–of a very young team is that improvement can come from the growth and improvement of the young players.

    • Votto4life

      LDS it is especially true how this team finished 2023. The team was 10 games under .500 the last two months. It wouldn’t surprise me if this team takes a big step backwards in 2024. I think this if exceedingly likely, if the front office fails to address the rotation and bullpen.

    • Greenfield Red

      Agree. They must add via FA, and I think they will. And I think in doing so, they can win it all.

    • Optimist

      The step ahead they have made is that while they are several players away from title contention, it is fewer players than in the past few years, and we can actually see the positions needed and players available.

      Still, it’s several players – not one or two, more like three to five.

    • Old-school

      Agree LDS. Im an india fan and was on the extend india bandwagon 2 years ago. Im a stephenson fan as well but his last 2 years yikes. Both players had major injuries so that plays into performance obviously but also why I would take a wait and see approach with the others, especially with pitchers. My gosh- look at Lodolo

      I wouldnt extend anyone

      Add a quality starter and pay high AAV short term. Add a big bat and 2 quality bullpen arms . 4 solid established players would help stabilize things thru the big 162.

      Id love snell hader and Bellinger but all 3 are 9 digit contracts so thats not happening.

      Otherwise hand the keys to mcLain freidl Steer CES Fraley marte and yes Elly . Grab a big bat not named votto.

      Lodolo ashcraft Williamson Abbott diaz and phillips need to produce consistently and prove durabilty in 2024 opening day thru october

      Durability is an important factor and theres only one way to establish that.

  14. citizen54

    I’d go McClain, Marte and Lodolo, assuming his injury isn’t chronic. Steer I’d consider at a good price. He looks to be a solid average player. Good bat but lack of range hurts his value.

  15. Jeremiah

    The Reds have so much exciting talent but I don’t think I extend anyone either. As other have mentioned, look at India. After his Rookie of the Year season he’s disappointed overall.

    I’d be cautious about Mcclain…as good as he was I feel his “ceiling” is not super high, and last year may be as good as Mcclain ever is. Which would be awesome if he stayed at that level! But we don’t know if he’s a 290 357OBP guy or a 270 330 OBP guy. Still good, but to give a big extension this early in his career?

    Obviously I’m like everyone who is excited with Elly De La Cruz. But you look at two other Dominican stars in Fernando Tatis Jr., and Wander Franco who were given huge contracts early, with then having personal issues/cheating etc. and I think that is something in the back of my mind. Nothing against Dominicans! I think they’re great, but I just think there are some parallels there to consider. Maybe EDC’s bigtime struggles help keep him humble and realize he’s not just going to be handed 100,000,000 because he’s super talented.

    I heard one baseball expert when EDC first arrived and the hype was still pretty high say out of all his 5 tools, his weakest one and the one that could hinder him was his “hit” tool. Which is really the main tool right!? But I remember thinking wow I hardly heard anyone criticize him but that one expert might be onto something. For all of his great talent if EDC can’t hit big league pitching, he will be an 8-9 hole hitter who you just hope give you something offensively a few times a week.

    I wonder if giving one guy a contract causes any clubhouse/jealousy issues too? I think Greene’s contract was overall premature. I don’t think he’s really proven a whole lot compared to similar peers Ashcraft and Lodolo. But I do get the sense he’s respected, a hard worker, and wants to be really good so I think with his situation I wouldn’t see that jealousy.

    But if you gave Mcclain a extension…or EDC…or Marte…and didn’t give any of the others one when none of them have proven that value on the field over a whole season, it’d be a little odd I think in the clubhouse.

    If India had followed up his first season with 2 solid healthy seasons afterword and you gave him an extension, even if you thought Mcclain and EDC and Marte are more talented, I think everyone would understand a situation like that. There’s a lot to consider with it all I think.

    Right now though, Steer is the only guy to play a full season of the Rookies and be productive throughout.

    I think it will be exciting to see how these young players progress next year. I also think it will be interesting to see who struggles. The odds of all these players being above average Major Leaguers is slim and would be rare. You hope the best for them all, but you have to think one or two of them will really struggle or just be average or part time players. It’ll be really interesting to see.

  16. Jeremiah

    Just another thought or two…I’d say it sure is more exciting than in the past when the Reds had like one big prospect that the organization and local Cincy media and fans were all super excited about that they were going to turn things around!

    I think of Homer Bailey and Billy Hamilton…I kind of almost feel for those guys looking back. It was like we all hoped that one player was going to turn around the whole franchise because it seemed there weren’t any other really talented players in the farm system with them coming up. Now they have like 6-7 Homer Baileys, Billy Hamiltons it seems, so definitely an exciting time.

    • David

      When Homer appeared, he was the first of a “wave” of good young players appearing for the Reds.
      Joey Votto, Jay Bruce, Johnny Cueto, etc. Which led to the teams of 2010 and 2012 which were pretty good (although they collapsed in the play-offs). Then everything declined because no new talent came out because of bad minor league development etc., bad luck (Devin Mesoraco), and so on. Well, except for Todd Frazier.

      Billy Hamilton was always more of a suspect than a top prospect. He was a one dimensional player; he could run very fast. He never developed as a hitter, and actually never tried. He never learned to hit down on the ball, or even lay down a bunt.

  17. Bob Purkey

    I wouldn’t touch Bellinger with a 10 foot pole. 3 straight years of AVG/OPS of .239/.333, .165/240 and .210/265 prior to last year. He’s going to want 4 or 5 years. . .no thanks.

    • BK

      While I like Bellinger, the Reds will get more bang for their buck by pursuing a starting pitcher and high-leverage reliever. I don’t see Bellinger delivering $22M in value over a Fraley or Benson and whomever the Reds use as platoon partners.

      • Jim Walker

        And Martinez probably could fit the bill as well as Fraley for a one year bridge to Hurtubise at one third of the price.

        Benson looks like the keeper for at least a couple of years.

      • BK

        @Jim, I want to see more power from Hurtubise before I pencil him into the Red’s future. I’m more optimistic about Dunn and Hinds.

  18. SultanofSwaff

    The Red Sox finished last and are looking to retool. They have a need at 2B. Just hot stovin’ today—-does an India for Chris Sale trade make sense? Sale had a decent bounceback year (22 starts, 4.05 ERA) and is due $27mil next year, the last of his deal. The Reds could easily afford that (though I’d ask Boston to eat some money). For Boston they free up cash to pursue bigger fish in free agency while addressing a position player need…….the Reds acquire at worst an innings eater but one with significant upside (and yes, downside), and most importantly, NO future payroll commitment.

    • BK

      I don’t know if Sale is the right pitcher (I just don’t know much about his injury history/prognosis for the future) but the concept is sound—trade a player for a solid, but expensive SP on an expiring contract.

    • Old Big Ed

      That is good, creative thinking, but like BK I don’t know the details. India would fit in Boston and would be a fan favorite, plus to me, his role in Cincinnati overlaps with Steer’s role.

      Sale obviously has had some injury problems, but he is a tough competitor and very good when healthy.

  19. West Larry

    Could a moderate cost free agent like Duvall someone the reds should sign after getting a very god starter and a couple of relievers?

    • BK

      I suggested Duvall a couple of days ago. He hits RHP better than LHP, but hits LHP well enough to be a platoon partner with either Fraley or Benso, Plus, he’s good enough to start for several weeks when inevitable injuries occur. Lastly, he’s from Louisville, so there’s a good chance he would welcome the offer,

    • Old Big Ed

      I like this idea, too. The Reds need a RH-hitting outfielder, and could probably have 300-350 ABs available for Duvall. Duvall is a Louisville guy, too, so he would at least listen to the offer.

      • doofus

        The infield and catcher is right handed heavy. I would argue for a big LH bat in the OF or 1b .

      • Old Big Ed

        They have Benson, Friedl and Fraley as LH hitters in the OF. They need another RH-hitting outfielder, or maybe a LH-hitting infielder. Votto would work in that limited role.

        A “big LH bat” at 1B would take ABs away from CES, which would be a strange goal for this team.

      • doofus

        Who is to say that CES is the answer at 1b? He could be traded to make the team.

        Let us think outside the box.

      • doofus

        Friendly, Benson and Farley have not proven that they are BIG left handed bats.

        We need a left handed hitting assassin of baseballs. See someone that is Bryce Harper like.

        Reds fans must stop accepting mediocrity.

      • wkuchad

        This is a good point. Why sign Duvall when we can easily get and afford Bryce Harper, or someone like him? Maybe Aaron Judge and Mike Trout too?

      • doofus

        @wkuchad Seriously you think we can get Bryce Harper?

      • Melvin

        “Reds fans must stop accepting mediocrity.”

        I’ll go along with that. 🙂

      • Mario

        Trading CES is like trading Paul Konerko. We don’t know if CES will hit 400 homers but it’s very risky. I would not trade any of our young infielders (CES, EDLC, Marte, Steer) for a pitcher. Too many pitchers injured. I read it’s up to about 40% of all MLB pitchers have bad TJ surgery.

  20. greenmtred

    I like Duvall. A couple of things, though: He’ll turn 36 this coming season, and his career BA is .232 and his OBP is under .300. I recall that this was more or less the way he hit for the Reds: some power, certainly, but not an otherwise productive hitter. He was a surprisingly good leftfielder, but I have no idea how his defensive skills have aged.

    • BK

      Those observations are mostly accurate, except he’s a good power hitter. He had 353 PA in 2023 and hit 21 HR. Statcast projects he would have hit 29 HR if playing in GABP–his power is elite. As for his fielding, he was still average (or slightly better) in the OF corners with solid arm strength; in CF, he’s below average but serviceable.

      Of the players currently on the Red’s roster, Fraley, Benson, and Senzel have extreme splits that indicate they should be platooned. With Fraley and Benson manning the strong side of the platoon, the Reds can improve by finding a bench player better suited to complement them. While Senzel crushes LHP, he is not a good OF and can’t hit RHP well enough to fill in for injured players. Also, once the Reds use him as a sub, they are vulnerable to RH relief pitchers. Duvall hits both RHP and LHP well enough that he never “needs” to be pinch-hit for. The 119 OPS+ he had last year also suggests he can start when a player is on the IL. Lastly, he provides the power that the Reds lacked last year. In short, I see him as a cost-effective one-year bench player who serves as a better platoon partner for Benson and Fraley. Dunn and Hinds should start next year at AAA–either or both should be ready to take over this role sometime in 2024 and provide secondary options if Duvall regresses.

      There may be similar options, but a player like Duvall appears to be a better fit for the Reds than Senzel or even Fairchild, who also has narrow platoon splits but lacks an exceptional tool that makes him a good starter when another player is injured.

  21. rednat

    great posts/comments above as usual from rln.
    I am cautiously optimistic or optimistically cautious ,however you want to word it, about the reds prospects for the next few years.
    we struggled mightily offensively during the “dog days of summer” after the all star break and that is certainly concerning.
    the great players tend to excel after the all star break. think of guys like Joey Votto and Dave Parker.
    did our young reds just hit the proverbial “rookie wall” ?or are they just average players? I guess we will find out next year.
    i am in agreement not to extend anybody until after we get more data points next season.

  22. Redsvol

    In general- don’t extend pitchers unless they have proven durable and good. Only one I see is ashcraft.

    Extend every position player you can that doesn’t exhibit severe platoon splits and plays decent defense at important positions. Steer being relegated to left field makes it a tougher call for me. In general, don’t extend left fielders and second basemen. unless you believe they are top 10% in mlb. You can usually find replacement level left fielders and 2nd basemen without committing long term to them.

    Extend matt McLain (shortstop) and EDLC (future stud) asap. Otherwise we will be paying Juan Soto arbitration prices for their 4th thru 6th years. I’m torn on steer. good player but probably a left fielder.

    And at

    • Optimist

      Very good point about 2b and LF – they’ve done this very well at 2b (Scooter, Dietrich as pickups; India via draft), less so in LF. Only qualifier is they need much more power in the OF, and that’s where a FA or trade for LF is viable. Still, don’t overpay for those two spots.

    • greenmtred

      Steer will very possibly be a 30/20 guy who can fill in at multiple positions. Small sample size, but he was pretty durable, too. I’d be surprised if he doesn’t improve defensively, so I would be in no hurry at all to trade him.

      • Greenfield Red

        This turns out to be one of my fav pieces by Doug followed by comment from RLN in a while.

        Lot’s of good ideas mentioned. Not much total disagreement as we had during the season.

        The possibility of India for Sale is interesting to me.

    • Patrick

      Edlc is not going to be a great player. History has shown this. I player with bad contract rate with swinging at balls outside of strikezone do not get that much better.

    • wkuchad

      I somewhat agree about not extending the pitchers yet, unless the team is getting a team-friendly deal. We have several young pitchers with potential. Let’s see what happens in 2023 before extending.

      I’m ready to extend McLain and Steer now. I’m sold. I would also extend EDLC and CES is somewhat team-friendly deals.

      • Melvin

        McLain is my favorite player but I’m not even ready to extend him yet until he’s plays an entire season without much time on the IL.