Cincinnati Reds: 5 players to lock up with a contract extension

ST LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 11: Luis Castillo #58 of the Cincinnati Reds celebrates after recording the final out of the game. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
ST LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 11: Luis Castillo #58 of the Cincinnati Reds celebrates after recording the final out of the game. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /
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Tyler Mahle #30 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals.
ST LOUIS, MO – SEPTEMBER 13: Tyler Mahle #30 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /

3. Tyler Mahle, Reds starting pitcher

This one may not be as pressing as the names previously mentioned, but the Cincinnati Reds might do well to include Tyler Mahle in their long-term plans. At worst, Mahle is a back-of-the-rotation starter that can go five-plus innings on a consistent basis. At his best, Mahle has the potential to elevate himself to a No. 2 or No. 3 starter.

If the Reds chose to extend Tyler Mahle, they’d be a taking a gamble, but it may pay off big time. Mahle is entering his first year of arbitration eligibility and is projected by MLB Trade Rumors to make between $1.5M-$2.5M in 2021. That number has the chance to go up drastically if Mahle mimics the type of performance we saw from him in 2020.

Related Story. Top 5 left-handed starters in Reds history

We saw Mahle improve in almost every area this past season. For player not projected to be on the Opening Day roster before the season began, Mahle exceeded all expectations in 2020. The right-hander filled in admirably for injured starters Wade Miley and Anthony DeSclafani, going 2-2 with a 3.59 ERA.

Diving into the stats a little deeper, according to FanGraphs, Tyler Mahle drastically improved his strikeout-rate from 23.2% (2019) to 29.9%. His HR/9, a big issue for Mahle last season, dropped from 1.74 (2019) to 1.13 (2020).

The Reds gave Miley a $15M contract in order to be the team’s No. 4 starter. Miley was 0-3 with a 5.65 ERA in an injury-plagued season that saw him play in just six games. DeSclafani’s final year of arbitration eligibility netted him a $5.9M contract last season. Mahle looks to be part of the Reds long-term plans, perhaps they should offer him a contract extension while they can still afford it.