Cincinnati Reds: Predicting 5 potential contract extensions

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - AUGUST 19: Starting pitcher Luis Castillo #58 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches during the first inning. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI - AUGUST 19: Starting pitcher Luis Castillo #58 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches during the first inning. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /
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Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Michael Lorenzen (21) throws a pitch.
Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Michael Lorenzen (21) throws a pitch. /

The Cincinnati Reds have just one player slated to enter free agency this coming winter, but that shouldn’t preclude the team from entertaining the idea of signing some of their young players beyond their arbitration years. Who should be first in line to sign a multi-year contract extension with the Reds this spring?

This is the time of year when you’ll hear rumblings about potential contract extensions. The New York Mets are said to be exploring new deals for shortstop Francisco Lindor and outfielder Michael Conforto. The Kanas City Royals just extended catcher Salvador Perez to a four-year deal. The Chicago Cubs in talks to extend Anthony Rizzo beyond the 2021 season.

Typically, teams and players prefer not to extend contract negotiations into the regular season. It’s oftentimes viewed as a distraction for the player. Three years ago this spring, the Cincinnati front office reached a long-term agreement with Eugenio Suarez. Who will be the next Reds player to reach a multi-year agreement with the team?

Michael Lorenzen, Reds right-handed pitcher

Projected contract extension: 3 years/$18M

We mentioned earlier that the Reds had just one player scheduled to be a free agent after the 2021 season. That is, of course, unless Nick Castellanos opts out of his current contract. That free agent to-be is Michael Lorenzen. There’s one big problem with extending the Zen Master; what role will he fill with the team moving forward?

Is Lorenzen a starter? A reliever? Perhaps an outfielder? Michael Lorenzen is a jack-of-all-trades, and one of a handful of players that can actually call themselves two-way players. Lorenzen is athletic enough to play the outfield, can hold his own in the batters box, and can hit the upper-90s on the radar gun. Lorenzen is a rare breed, and that can make negotiating contract very difficult.

What’s the market look like for a player like Michael Lorenzen? Liam Hendricks, arguably the best reliever on the market this past winter, signed a four-year/$55M contract with the Chicago White Sox.

Taijuan Walker, who’s just 28-years old, signed a two-year/$16M contract with the New York Mets and will be a middle-of-the-rotation starter alongside Marcus Stroman and Jacob deGrom. Garrett Richards signed a two-year/$16M deal as well. We also saw former Reds starter Anthony DeSclafani sign a one-year/$6M contract with the San Francisco Giants.

Not knowing what the future holds for Lorenzen’s role with the ball club makes predicting a possible contract extension nearly impossible. Lorenzen is slated to earn $4.43M this season, but could sign a contract extension worth a larger average annual value (AAV).