One week into the 2021-22 MLB offseason, the Cincinnati Reds have been the most active team in baseball, and not necessary for a good reason. The Reds have started cutting payroll,, . Those moves saved the team $1.5 million over what they would have spent had they just bought out Barnhart’s ($7.5 million) and Miley’s ($10 million) club options.
“Trading Tucker was a very difficult decision,” Reds GM Nick Krall told reporters, including Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer, following the Barnhart trade. “Having been drafted and developed by the Reds, our entire organization has a connection to him, and our fans love him. But going into 2022, we must align our payroll to our resources and continue focusing on scouting and developing young talent from within our system.”
Aggressive cost-cutting is nothing new for the Reds, who essentially gave Raisel Iglesias away last offseason to avoid his $9.125 million salary. Cincinnati went 83-79 in 2021 and was in the postseason race most of the season, plus the Reds had the fourth-highest scoring offense in the National League (4.85 runs per game). It’s disappointing them to see them tighten the purse strings after they contended much of the year and play in a division that is far from dominant.
The cost-cutting may not end with Barnhart and Miley. The Reds are willing to discuss any player making significant money, reports MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, and MLB.com’s Jon Morosi adds ace Luis Castillo is already drawing trade interest. No surprise there. Castillo is one of the game’s most talented pitchers and would help to every rotation.
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What other players could move as part of Cincinnati’s efforts to “align our payroll to our resources?” Let’s take a look.
Contract status: $8 million in 2022
Two years ago the Reds took a three-year, $21 million roll of the dice on Shogo Akiyama, who authored a .303/.392/.471 batting line with 20 home runs in his final season with the Seibu Lions in Japan. In his two years with the Reds, the 33-year-old Akiyama has hit .224/.320/.274 without a single home run in close to 400 plate appearances. He’s been overmatched, particularly against velocity. Akiyama is a good center fielder with some speed, but he offers zero offense, and an $8 …….