Cincinnati Reds: 3 players who won’t be back in 2021

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 26: Robert Stephenson #55 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 26: Robert Stephenson #55 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images) /
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Curt Casali #12 of the Cincinnati Reds works behind the plate.
CINCINNATI, OH – JULY 27: Curt Casali #12 of the Cincinnati Reds works behind the plate. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

2. Curt Casali, Reds catcher

Now, as hard as it was to put Robert Stephenson on this list, it pains me greatly to put Curt Casali‘s name alongside it. However, Casali’s inclusion has nothing to do with his lack of performance. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. It’s time for the Cincinnati Reds to sell-high on Casali with the emerging Tyler Stephenson ready to become a fixture in the lineup.

Casali is a solid big-league catcher. The Reds fleeced the Tampa Bay Rays, which is something that cannot be said very often, when the front office landed Casali in 2018 for cash. Since joining the team, Casali has developed a phenomenal relationship with the pitching staff, and I firmly believe that he’s one of the reasons behind the success of the Reds pitching over the past two years.

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That said, his time in Cincinnati is about up. Tyler Stephenson is the future behind the plate, and both Casali and Tucker Barnhart know it. By the way, you could just as easily put Tucker Barnhart’s name in place of Curt Casali’s, but there are two big reasons that I’d lean toward the Reds keeping Barnhart over Casali.

First, Barnhart is the superior defensive catcher. Taking nothing away from Casali, but Tucker Barnhart is a Gold Glove-caliber backstop and he may well take home another piece of hardware for his performance this season. He’s that good.

Second, Casali is right-handed hitter and so is Stephenson. With David Bell’s penchant for playing the lefty versus righty matchups, it makes more sense for Cincinnati to hang onto the left-handed hitting Barnhart. Curt Casali is a solid catcher, and the Reds would do well to shop him this offseason.