We’ve documented the rumors suggesting the Cincinnati Reds are willing to listen to offers on ace Sonny Gray. We didn’t even get to begin sniffing around the idea of trading reliever Raisel Iglesias was already out the door, and we’ve already waived goodbye to arms like Archie Bradley, Anthony DeSclafani, and Cy Young Award winner Trevor Bauer as the would-be 2020 payroll shrivels like post-birthday flowers.
It’s clear the Reds are in an overhaul mode, one that’s willing to flirt with the wall of rebuilding as it tests its tires in the turns. And if you were wondering if any player was off-limits during this period, well, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman might well have answered that question for you early Sunday.
According to him, the Reds are listening on star righty Luis Castillo, too.
Luis Castillo as well as Sonny Gray is being discussed in trades. Asks are appropriately high for young frontline starters. The #Reds went for it last winter (and were rewarded with a playoff spot) but the belt tightening this winter is clear.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 20, 2020
If you’re going to tear something down, ripping the biggest parts down first gets you there quicker, I suppose. If you’re going to ignite a fire, you’re going to need a yule log on it at some point.
In Castillo, you’re speaking of a player who’s just now entering his first trip through arbitration, one who comes with team control through the end of the 2023 season. That’s a player in his prime under what should be cheap salaries, with - thanks to the arbitration process - the only way he truly gets expensive during that time being because he continues to be freaking amazing on the mound.
Taking off my fan-hat for a minute, I’ll at least engage this cadre of collective rumors. During the previous painful Reds rebuild, the club was routinely criticized by many, present company included, for holding on to assets far beyond their peak trade value, and then dumping players for whatever they could get - which was not much. While that could again be true with, say, Raisel Iglesias, shopping Sonny Gray right now appears to be pricing him when he’s still got immense trade value, and I suppose that’s a good thing (if you’re unwilling to ride out the fight to win games in 2021, that is).
And, if that’s what’s truly what they’re trying to avoid, the rumors suggesting the Reds and Washington Nationals had discussed an Eugenio Suarez move this week also qualify as attempting to sell at near-peak value. Heyman had that, too.
Nats have talked to the Reds about 3B Eugenio Suarez. Nothing imminent or believed anywhere close. Kieboom would make sense in a package. Prospects the Nats don’t want to deal: Rutledge, Cavalli, Garcia.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 18, 2020
Putting a fan-hat back on lets me again scream ‘this sucks,’ which I will continue to scream while wearing it during said would-be overhaul. We got precisely 62 games of competitive action during a 2020 season in which nobody go physically go watch them play, that after 7 years of malaise and still during a run in which the franchise hasn’t won a single dadgum thing since 1995, a year in which they also still didn’t win it all. That’s as old as Nick Senzel, for fart’s sake, and he might end up moved this winter now, too.
(He won’t, though - he’s still making league minimum.)