Going 31-29 in the COVID-19 shortened 2020 season is apparently enough for the Reds to try to sell off all their main pieces.
The Cincinnati Reds have garnered a whopping zero playoff series victories since Bob Castellini became the owner. They haven’t won a playoff series in this century. Under the Castellini’s watch, the Reds have four winning seasons. This is unacceptable.
As a Reds fan for the majority of my life, it angers me to write this. Growing up in metro Detroit, I have went completely out of my way to support the Reds since I was a kid. I remember fuzzy memories of Ken Griffey Jr.’s twilight years growing up. I remember the hysteria surrounding Jay Bruce’s debut.
More recently, I remember Joey Votto breaking onto the scene, and a few years later Yonder Alonso threatened to take his job. I remember the playoff failures and the refusal to spend at the trade deadlines to improve those early 2010’s Cincinnati teams, and you know what? All of this that I just mentioned could be described as the Reds best years under Castellini’s ownership.
To start the offseason, the Reds non-tendered Archie Bradley, who they got exactly 7.2 innings out of after trading for the former Diamondback at the trade deadline while in the process giving up a struggling, but still young Josh VanMeter and a solid prospect in Stuart Fairchild.
Bradley pitched well in a limited stint in the Queen City, but the Reds decided that a $5M-plus salary was too expensive for one of the better relievers in baseball. Then, the front office dealt closer Raisel Iglesias to the Los Angeles Angels for Leo Rivas, a light-hitting prospect who is 23-years old and hasn’t played above Advanced-A.
Sure, Iggy had his ups and downs in Cincinnati and his salary north of $9M for the upcoming season wasn’t cheap, but he was still a key cog in the bullpen with a 2.74 ERA and 12.1 K/9 in 2020.
Then, the trade rumors, oh the trade rumors. Sonny Gray, despite being under control for two more years plus a club option in 2023, has been shopped nearly everywhere this offseason. With Gray being under an extremely team-friendly deal for a pitcher of his caliber combined with the fact that the Reds will almost certainly lose bonafide-ace Trevor Bauer in free agency, a deal of Gray seems that the Reds could be launching another rebuild.
Then, last week it was reported that there had been trade talks between the Reds and Washington Nationals about an Eugenio Suárez trade. Suárez is locked into a longterm deal with the club, and a team-friendly one at that. As one of the franchise faces, it would be a huge blow for the Reds to trade Suárez.
Then, Luis Castillo was rumored to be available in trade talks with other teams. Trading Castillo, a borderline ace, would signal a rebuild. Castillo is still under team control for multiple years, and his stuff continues to be nasty.
Mike Moustakas, one year after signing a big-money four-year deal, is apparently on the block as well. These moves signal that Reds ownership is not happy with the results of 2020, where the offseason retooled the roster.
COVID-19 took a good portion of the MLB season away, and with it came huge financial losses. That makes it understandable for small-market teams to cut payroll, but it seems like the Reds want to not only cut, but completely slash payroll.
Sure, they were underwhelming in 2020 and everyone knows that. But at what point do the people of Cincinnati begin to wonder why the Reds haven’t won anything substantial in over two decades, and certainly anything near substantial under the Castellini ownership.
Much of that is on the unwillingness of ownership to spend money, and when they finally spent money in the 2019-20 offseason that inked the Reds two biggest free agent contracts ever in outfielder Nick Castellanos and second basement Mike Moustakas, it felt like a breath of fresh air.
After just one season though, it appears Reds ownership is okay with going back to the basement, and that in itself is just a repeat cycle of the Castellini era. Hope, and then gradual disappointment.