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Cincinnati Reds sign Wil Myers, hope for a trade chip


National League Championship Series Game 4: San Diego Padres v. Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Wil Myers is fine. Wil Myers has been fine. Wil Myers will probably be just fine, and maybe more.

Wil Myers is now a Cincinnati Red. The team made the call to sign him to a 1-year, $7.5 million deal that could escalate to $9.5 million, announcing it to us all early Thursday.

ESPN’s Jeff Passan had the details on the contract, including that there’s a mutual option for 2024 included.

When healthy, Myers can absolutely pound left-handed pitching, something that should pair nicely with the lefties in the Cincinnati outfield mix already. He owns a career .804 OPS against southpaws despite having spent his entire career in cavernous home parks in Tampa and San Diego, and just last year posted an OPS of .830 in away games while in a Friars uniform while having an overall disappointing (.713 OPS) year.

He spent 52 of his 77 games played last season as an outfielder, though he’s logged plenty of time as a 1B (363 career games), too. If the Reds manage to unload Mike Moustakas on someone else, there’s a good chance he could figure into the mix there to spell Joey Votto as well.

The reality of this move is that the Reds are betting on Myers to be better in 2023 than he has been recently, good enough to move in the summer as a decent trade chip the way that Brandon Drury did last year. Of course, Myers has been competent enough in recent years to command a bigger guaranteed salary than Drury, so he’s something akin to what the Reds hoped they were doing with Tommy Pham last season (even though the Drury move paid off much better). It’s betting on Myers, obviously, but it’s also a bet that he’ll net the Reds another, younger piece for their rebuild in another few months.

It’s something. It’s not nothing. Ambitious? I wouldn’t go that far, but it’s a decision that should set off a series of moves that take the Reds ever so slightly forward, which is a good thing.