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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Tyler Mahle #30 of the Cincinnati Reds delivers a pitch.
MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA – SEPTEMBER 25: Tyler Mahle #30 of the Cincinnati Reds delivers a pitch. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /

Tyler Mahle, Reds right-handed pitcher

Projected contract extension: 4 years/$21M

Tyler Mahle is a buy-low candidate to receive a contract extension this spring. It doesn’t behoove the Cincinnati Reds to pursue multi-year deal with Mahle unless thee club expects the 26-year-old to blossom into a No. 2 starter this season; something that I think it within his reach.

Mahle was slated to begin the 2020 season at Triple-A Louisville after Cincinnati signed Wade Miley to a two-year contract. This wasn’t the first time it was assumed Mahle would not start the season in the bigs.

After trading for Alex Wood prior to the 2019 season, Mahle looked like he’d begin the season in Louisville rather than Cincinnati. However, injuries to a slew of starters over the past two seasons have seen Mahle start 34 games the previous two seasons and post a 4.72 ERA. The right-hander looked sharp last season, going 2-2 with a 3.59 ERA, 1.154 WHIP, and 60 punch outs over 47.2 innings of work.

Mahle is under a one-year/$2.2M contract for the 2021 season and is under team control through the 2023 season. At this point, there’s no rush to sign the California native to a longterm extension. However, if the Reds brass feel as though Mahle is starting to come into his own, and would prefer to buy low on the former seventh-round draft pick, now is the time to do it.

A four-year/$21M deal would buy out all Mahle’s arbitration eligible seasons and give the right-hander an AAV of just $5.25M per season. Mahle is unlikely to be an ace, but has the potential to a key piece of the Reds’ rotation this season and beyond.