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) /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
5 of 5
Next
Cincinnati Reds left fielder Jesse Winker (33) runs in after the first inning.
Cincinnati Reds left fielder Jesse Winker (33) runs in after the first inning. /

Jesse Winker, Reds outfielder

Projected contract extension: 5 years/$29M

We talked earlier about how hard it would be to project a contract for player like Michael Lorenzen; Jesse Winker falls into the same category. A skilled hitter has has great noses for the strike zone, Winker has the potential to be a key piece in the middle of the Reds batting order for years to come. But can be an effective outfielder?

The bigger question might be, will that even matter beyond this season? Odds are that we’ll see the universal DH return for good in 2022 and whether or not Winker has the skillset to play average defense in the outfield will be irrelevant. Winker’s bat, not his glove, would be the reason to sign the New York native to a contract extension.

However, his injury history would be the biggest reason not to sign Winker to a longterm contract. The 27-year-old stayed heathy for the majority of the 2020 season, but that was just a 60-game abbreviated campaign. Can Winker hold up throughout thee rigors of an entire 162-game season, especially if he’s being counted on to play the field as well.

Jesse Winker led the team in OPS (.932) last season, and there was a 25-game stretch in August when the left-handed hitting slugger looked like the best hitter in baseball. Over that span, Winker slashed .397/.484/.859 with 10 home runs and 16 RBIs.

Next. 3 Reds who've made a statement this spring

Winker has looked good this spring, collecting seven hits and eight walks in 27 at-bats. It’s just hard to trust Winker given his injury history and last September’s slump that saw former first-round pick go 5-for-48 (.104) to close out the season. Winker has a high ceiling, but the Reds cannot afford to overpay him should the club enter contract negotiations.