Just to make sure we’re all on the same page, let’s drop a quick refresher of what’s shaping the MLB landscape at the moment.
The current Collective Bargaining Agreement is set to expire on December 1st, and in case you don’t own a calendar, that’s Wednesday. When that happens, there’s expected to be a lockout by MLB team owners as they continue to negotiate with the MLBPA, with a freeze on pretty much everything until a new CBA is struck. As a result, many players and teams are trying to get deals done before the lockout to establish some modicum of certainty amidst the pending uncertainty, and a flurry of deals have come through over the weekend (with many more expected in the coming hours).
The Texas Rangers strike gold yesterday, signing each of Marcus Semien, Jon Gray, and Kole Calhoun, with rumors they’re still in on Corey Seager and/or Trevor Story, too. The Minnesota Twins inked Byron Buxton to a lengthy, fascinating extension, while the Toronto Blue Jays won the race for Kevin Gausman on a 9-figure deal. Max Scherzer is about to sign with someone, too, in a deal that may set the record for AAV.
Never fear, the Cincinnati Reds got in on the action. They announced the signing of...catcher Aramis Garcia to a minor league deal!
A 29 year old who’ll provide catching depth after the club simply gave away Tucker Barnhart. Got it.
In other Reds-related news, Nick Castellanos is reportedly seeking up to a 7-year deal on the open market after his opt-out of the remaining $34 million on his old Reds deal. MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand relayed that news this morning, and while I won’t go as far as saying that’ll price the Reds out of the market for Nick, I will assert that’s a moot point as they’ve been priced out of his market since they signed him two years ago and knew he’d opt-out in the first place. I hope Nick lands that kind of commitment from a pertinent franchise somewhere, especially since he’s still just 29 years of age and contracts to many others out there have years guaranteed until the players are set to sniff 40.
MLB Network’s Jon Morosi kept us abreast of the fact that the Reds are still shopping their top pitchers around the market. Each of Sonny Gray, Luis Castillo, and Tyler Mahle have a pair of years of team control remaining (in varying ways and means), and each has a good bit of value on the trade block right now as the Reds try to get as cheap as possible, so it’s no surprise we continue to see their names floated. While it would not shock my socks entirely off to see the frugal Reds trade each this winter, I do truly only expect them to deal one, and given the tepid initial offerings, I would place my bet on it being Sonny Gray on the move when the dust settles. He’s the oldest with the biggest 2021 salary, after all.
Michael Lorenzen signed with the Los Angeles Angels, by the way. Reminder that on top of giving away Wade Miley and Tucker Barnhart, losing Castellanos from an already thin outfield, and shopping the rest of their starting rotation, the Reds also need a brand new bullpen, too. Don’t ask about 3B. Just don’t.
Stay tuned for more scintillating information on the Major League Baseball franchise claiming to exist on the banks of the Ohio River.