Someone is going to have to log innings for the Cincinnati Reds in 2022, and it appears Mike Minor is going to be tasked with that job.
The Reds continued their tumultuous overhaul on Wednesday with a move that came out of the blue - acquiring Minor from the Kansas City Royals in a deal that saw reliever Amir Garrett go the other way. The Reds broke the news on Twitter themselves.
Considering Minor is owed some $10 million this year with a $1 million buyout of an option for the 2023 season, it was no surprise to hear that cash is coming back to the Reds in this deal, too. MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon relayed that news.
Garrett was due some $2 million via arbitration after a dismal 2021 season, and that paired with the cash considerations coming back to the Reds means that they’re getting a veteran arm to log innings for less than what Sonny Gray’s going rate was for this year. Given that Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo have barely pitched at all over the last two seasons, relatively speaking, this gives yet another bridge to their cups of big league coffee without tasking them to push 200 IP in a year in which the Reds are likely going to stink profusely anyway. (It’s worth reminding us all here that Wade Miley got jettisoned, too, so the innings load out there is quite monumental.)
There was a time when Minor was a legitimate force in big league rotations - hence why he’s got the current contract he does. He was an All Star with Texas as recently as 2019, a year in which he eclipsed 200 IP and posted a 5.9 bWAR season, though in the 215.1 IP he’s fired at the big league level since then he’s posted just 1.1 bWAR - with the bulk of that coming with a cavernous home park in KC as his residence.
I’m guessing the rub here is that Derek Johnson and the Reds pitching braintrust think there’s something they can tweak with Minor to get him back to a respectably above-average starter, which would put him in-line to be flipped at the 2022 trade deadline for more than what they gave up to get him.
What they gave up to get him, of course, was Amir Garrett, who at times was a tantalizing lefty reliever in go-to roles. His collapse over the last two years, though, rendered him in a bubble spot for bullpen leverage, and since the Reds are both committed to a) never spending on the bullpen and b) rarely spending anywhere else, either, he was firmly on the chopping block as the Reds shed salary this winter. My best guess is that the Reds will once again abdicate addressing their bullpen and look within for answers to replace him, something that should at least be feasible given how far he’d fallen.
Welcome to the Reds, Mike. Might as well bring a bat and an outfield glove to camp, too.